With the MMO market dominated by firmly entrenched fantasy-themed MMO offerings, a fresh new setting is always welcome. Well it doesn't get much fresher than the India-based Ramayan 3392 A.D. comic book universe from Virgin Comics, who today announced along with SOE an agreement to create an MMORPG based on the franchise. Ramayan 3392 A.D. is a futuristic retelling of the Indian epic Ramayan, written by Shamik Dasgupta and based on a story by Deepak Chopra and Shekhar Kapur, featuring humans battling with demons in a post-apocalyptic world.
"Virgin Comics approached us with a portfolio of amazing comic properties based on Indian lore. We particularly love Ramayan 3392 A.D., as we feel Virgin Comics' telling of The Ramayana is particularly gripping, graphically brilliant and lends itself extremely well to an MMO," said Smedley. "This a fantastic time for us to expand our games to include this culturally rich storyline and we are honoured to do this with a diversified, creative and experienced company like Virgin Comics."
Oh I am excited indeed. As someone who has sampled almost everything the MMO world has to offer, the Ramayan 3392 A.D. universe is like nothing I've ever seen. The setting is rich with Indian culture, juxtaposing the spiritual themes of the original Indian epic with technological ones for an enticing mix of old and new that has resonated with comic book readers everywhere. treat this franchise right SOE and you are almost guaranteed a couple months of my thinly stretched MMO-monies.
SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT UNITES WITH VIRGIN COMICS TO CREATE ONLINE VIDEO GAME FRANCHISE Leading Game and Worldwide Comic Companies Join Forces to Develop and Publish Massively Multiplayer Online Video Game Based On the Popular Ramayan 3392 A.D. India-Mythology Inspired Comic Book Series
SAN DIEGO, California & NEW YORK, New York (AUGUST 9, 2007) — Through a deal that joins two of the world's most innovative entertainment brands, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), a global leader in the online gaming industry, is teaming up with Sir Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra's Virgin Comics to bring the popular, India-based Ramayan 3392 A.D. comic book universe to life as an MMO video game initially for the PC.
The deal was announced today by John Smedley, President of SOE and Sharad Devarajan, Co-Founder and CEO of Virgin Comics.
"Ramayan has inspired the lives of millions of people through the ages. The re-imagining of this great ancient epic through the creativity of a game platform re-affirms the fact that Ramayan is one of the greatest stories ever told," said Deepak Chopra. "The fact that the same creative team of young Indians that created the story will be involved in working with SOE's game development team, is a testament to the innovative and mythic minds of these gifted Indian creators who will take a new generation to new frontiers across the seas of consciousness into new realms of mystery, magic, adventure, and transformation."
Through this exclusive multi-year, worldwide licence agreement, SOE will develop and publish an MMO based on Ramayan's story of mythological lore. Virgin Comics will serve as a creative consultant on the project. Virgin's creative involvement with SOE's game development team will be spearheaded by its President and head, Suresh Seetharaman, who has also overseen the development of the comic series. Also involved is acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, a co-founder of Virgin Comics.
"Virgin Comics approached us with a portfolio of amazing comic properties based on Indian lore. We particularly love Ramayan 3392 A.D., as we feel Virgin Comics' telling of The RÂ®mÂ®yana is particularly gripping, graphically brilliant and lends itself extremely well to an MMO," said Smedley. "This a fantastic time for us to expand our games to include this culturally rich storyline and we are honoured to do this with a diversified, creative and experienced company like Virgin Comics."
Virgin Comics' Ramayan 3392 A.D., initially released as a comic in late 2006, re-imagines one of India's greatest epics into a futuristic realm. Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics' Chief Creative Officer commented, "While many of the characters and settings remain familiar to the original lore, we never intended to re-tell the story, but essentially use it as the key inspiration for something fresh. What remains intact to our story are some of the core universal themes like duty, honour, sacrifice, and fraternity while also mining uniquely Indian ideas like karma (how action and consequence are linked) and the malleability of time itself. To bring all of these ideas into a game with SOE is just awesome."
Devarajan concluded, "In a world increasingly dominated with games influenced by a western Tolkien mythos, Ramayan will offer gamers a chance to experience a whole new universe of characters and archetypes derived from one of the oldest cultures on Earth. Our mission at Virgin Comics has always been to allow this generation of Indian youth to have a creative platform through which to speak to the world. Through this collaboration with the likeminded visionaries at SOE, our young Indian creators will make gaming history worldwide."