Mojang’s new game answers the age-old question, what if Minecraft and Glove had a baby?
Minecraft: Dungeons is a brand new game inspired by classic dungeon crawlers like Witchcraft and Ultimate Underworld, and it upends the traditional formula of the series. Instead of providing a vast open canvas where players can let their imaginations run wild, Dungeons is an adventure game filled with low-key quests, characters, objects and enemies. It still looks like classic Minecraft fare, complete with cube-headed figures and 3D swords with serrated, pixelated blades.
While players are free to explore this new universe in blocks, Dungeons is definitely not an open world game. It is, however, an exciting project for a small team at Mojang, according to creative director Jens Bergensten.
“When I think of MinecraftI basically think of it as the multiverse, as multiple universes,” Bergensten said in a phone call a few days before revealing Dungeons at Minecon 2018.”Dungeons is essentially a Minecraft world with specific areas to go to and specific quests and specific mobs. That said, of course there are procedural elements to the game, but it’s not an open world game that Minecraft is.”
Dungeons can be played solo or with up to three other people online; there is no local co-op mode. It should be released on PC in 2019.
Dungeons is not the only one Minecraft fallout in town. Mojang and Microsoft, the studio’s parent company since 2014, have long explored new worlds in the Minecraft multiverse, especially with Minecraft: story mode.
Story Mode transforms Minecraft in a story-driven adventure game, featuring top voice actors Patton Oswalt, Catherine Taber, Ashley Johnson and Brian Posehn. The first season premiered in December 2015, while the final episode of the second season landed in December 2017. It’s not an in-house project – instead, Telltale Games, the studio behind The Walking Dead and wolf among ustook up the challenge.
Story Mode performed well critically and commercially, but Telltale itself flopped. The studio laid off more than 200 employees, or 90% of its staff, earlier in September. A team of just 25 people remains to iron out the final details and hopefully complete the final season of Jhe walks dead. This skeleton crew is also wrapping up Minecraft: story mode.
Helen Chiang, Minecraft Lead
“They continue to have a team working to bring Story Mode to Netflix”, Microsoft Minecraft said chef Helen Chiang. “It is the same Story Mode that you have seen, known and loved on all other platforms, but adapted to the Netflix interface. That’s what they focus on and it’s sort of a continuation of Story Mode.”
Mojang and Microsoft are more interested in expanding the Minecraft universe from within, rather than contracting outside studios, Chiang said. This is precisely how we came to Bergensten’s passion project, Minecraft: Dungeons.
As a franchise, Minecraft is poised to continue growing from here. Although it was originally launched nine years ago as an ongoing Java project, the kernel Minecraft The game recently hit 91 million monthly active users, and lifetime sales are 154 million (and counting). It’s playable on all major platforms, including mobile and console, and Microsoft has implemented cross-play between PC, mobile, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Sony has always refused to open up the PlayStation 4 to cross-platform play, although this week it gave in to an incredibly popular game – Fortnite.
Hopefully at Sony Fortnite experience, Minecraft could be an ideal candidate for expanding PlayStation-specific crossplay. However, Chiang said there are no updates on this front at this time.
“Our goal has always been to unite gamers, regardless of the device or platform they play on, and to truly bring the Minecraft community together,” Chiang said. “We would also like to bring PlayStation gamers into this ecosystem.”
But it’s all about the core Minecraft live. There is no word for if Minecraft: Dungeons will make its way to platforms other than PC, but Microsoft probably won’t let the revenue potential die on the vine. Whether Dungeons finds a hungry PC audience next year, other consoles are sure to follow – perhaps even with crossplay built in.
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