After years of top-down and isometric views, EA is taking the Monopoly franchise to the streets, transforming it from board game to a "dynamic, living, 3D world". Will this be Monopoly's Grand Theft Auto III?
While the Grand Theft Auto series is known today for creating living, breathing, immersive 3D worlds, the series started off with a basic, top-down view. When Rockstar delivered Grand Theft Auto III in full 3D it quickly became a smash hit, ushering in a new era of free-roaming sandbox titles. Will EA's Monopoly Streets be just as revolutionary?
Monopoly Streets is an EA Play label being developed in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Hasbro's Monopoly brand. It takes players off the game board and puts them on the streets of Monopoly's city, with the world changing dynamically as players acquire and upgrade new properties.
The game, slated for release this Holiday season on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, will feature online multiplayer, allowing players to hook up with friends via the internet and walk the streets together. Downloadable content will be available in the form of themed boards, characters, tokens, and, in the Xbox 360's case, avatar gear. Yes, Xbox 360 players will be able to play with their avatars, populating their cities with their friends' online representations, while Wii owners can do the same with their Miis.
"We're taking Hasbro's No. 1 family game brand and masterfully striking the balance of offering the classic MONOPOLY play experience and adding a spectacular new visual treatment as we bring the classic board to life with players walking the streets of MONOPOLY," said Chip Lange, General Manager and Senior Vice President of EA's Hasbro Division. "MONOPOLY Streets will bring people together and connect families all over the world by offering online gameplay through their gaming consoles. We think this unique, combined offering will bring families together around the TV this holiday season for a classic family gaming tradition they'll remember for years to come."
The question is, will Monopoly fans embrace this new game, or shun it? When Grand Theft Auto went 3D, there were a few purists out there who dreaded the change, and GTA is a franchise that only had a four year history at the time.
With 75 years of tradition behind the Monopoly franchise, is it time for a change, or is it far too late? We'll find out this Christmas.