Age of Conan developer Funcom wants to explore the world of social and casual MMO titles, but to break out of the high-end MMO segment the company is going to need one SweetRobot. Well now they've got one.
SweetRobot is Funcom's newly established subsidiary, focused on the casual and social MMO business, which is a far cry from the sort of games Funcom is used to developing. Age of Conan is a pretty hardcore MMO, and Anarchy Online is so hardcore it requires advanced maths to put your equipment on. I'm not kidding.
That having been said, simply slapping the Funcom name on some casual titles would have, quite frankly, confused the hell out of Funcom fans. Instead, the company has launched SweetRobot, which while desperately needing a little Japanese robot mascot still ranks right up there with my favourite studio names of all time.
"SweetRobot will be focusing on publishing games outside the traditional high-end MMO-segment which Funcom has been focusing on the last years," says Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. "This will allow us to explore new market opportunities that differ from what we have been doing before while still retaining Funcom's familiar profile. This definitely marks a new and exciting direction for us."
And Funcom isn't the sort of company to found a new subsidiary and then make us wait years before they produce anything. A team of 15 people have been working on a kid-friendly MMO called Pets vs. Monsters for the past two years, developing a flexible game engine that can be used across multiple projects. Pets vs. Monsters will hit public beta later this month. We'll have more on that later. For now, check out a screen of the game below to get a basic idea of the demographic SweetRobot is aiming for.