GW Home

GW Sony

GW Nintendo

GW Xbox

GW Sega


GW Forums

GW Shop

GW Corporate


Search for...

Search Where?


GW Corporate

About GW


Biz Services

Press Info

Job Openings

Contact Us

Staff Page

Mar 21, 2001

GW Xbox > Xbox Previews > Preview Page



Epix Interactive



Winter 2002


We think Xbox is destined to have a massive online RPG. Call it Fate.

A massive multiplayer console RPG that emulates an actual world down to the level of political infighting sure sounds like a cool idea. The problem--with consoles, at least--is that if you want to play a game with 2,000 people you have to squeeze them all into your house. Even worse, it's tough to get a few thousand friends together for a round of virtual swords and sorcery. At least one person always has to "study for exams," "go to work," or do some other activity that is completely unproductive in the sense that it doesn't offer experience points or rare items.

The solution, of course, is to take this kind of game online, but this is territory that consoles have been slow to tread. Our only hope, it seems, is to let Fate take over. Fate, not "fate," is an online RPG with a persistent, never-ending world populated by thousands of living, interacting players--and it's coming to Xbox.

Not all of the details have emerged, but enough has come to light to seriously endanger the "unsoiled" status of our boxers. To begin with, the scope of the game is tremendous. The game world, Nocea, is braced for an industry revolution. Four kingdoms vie for world supremacy, intent on using whatever political, military, and economic means are necessary to succeed. As a member of one of these kingdoms, players and their human cohorts make decisions and take action that will help determine the prosperity of their nation.

This is where the game gets interesting. Fate is not just a two-dimensional war simulator in which the best military strategy wins. Nor is success entirely contingent on basic political maneuvers. Instead, the developer, Epix Interactive Studios, is attempting to create an online world that rivals the real world in breadth and complexity. Every player has a role in determining Nocea' evolution, but the freedom you are given in selecting that role is incredible.

For starters, players choose from among five races: Human, Ev'len, Half'len, Majin, and Anlore. From there, you can pursue a number of career endeavors that all have a unique impact on the world. Sick of the bungling ineptitude of world leaders who lack the spelling prowess of a 3rd grader? Then try your hand in political office, in positions ranging from governor, to foreign ambassador, to chief of commerce.

Of course, if politicians leave a bad taste in your mouth (see "Monica Lewinsky"), you can enlist in the military and become a finely honed instrument of destruction. Pacifists with a sweet tooth for capitalism can establish a trade and play the game as a merchant. Those with a spiritual inclination can honor their faith by joining the religious ranks, where the gods reward their sacrifices in the form of valuable items and important favors. In short, there appears to be something for everybody.

Exactly how these different roles will shape the game's progression is still unclear, but the potential for diverse gameplay is staggering. Aside from dabbling in politics and economics, players will have ample opportunity to engage in some good, wholesome combat. The developers say the battle system will be a departure from what has been done in current online RPGs such as Diablo and Everquest. Combat in Fate will be reflex-based and will perhaps be most analogous to the system used in Parasite Eve.

Experience points and leveling up will be integral aspects of the game. Character classes, such as Paladin and Necromancer, will exist within the different races, and the land will be stocked with a host of deadly creatures. However, man-eating beasts will not be the only threat--players, if they so desire, can prey on one another. The inclusion of player vs. player battles may turn more than a few heads, but low-level scrubs needn't lose sleep over the prospect of getting bludgeoned by a level 40 misanthrope. The developers say they will take strides to prevent unfair fights, and will even provide ways of steering the player vs. player hordes away from those who don't want to fight other people. The result, they hope, is a game that caters to every taste and predilection.

Fate boasts a persistent game world, meaning that even when you stop playing events keep occurring and the game continues to evolve. While this and other facets of the game might elicit comparisons to Everquest for the PC, Epix says there are key differences. One, as mentioned above, is the fighting system; another is the basic aim of the game. Everquest was predominantly item-based, with players bent on acquiring the rarest, most spectacular weapon imaginable. Fate, on the other hand, will be guided by the effort to cultivate a powerful and prosperous nation. As noted above, political, military, economic, and even social standing will conspire to determine the fate of the nation. In that sense, public opinion polls might be as crucial to players as experience points and item inventories.

Epix hopes to have roughly 2,500 players per world. It also plans bring communication to the next level by allowing people to actually speak to each other online. The game is still in its formative stages (Epix hasn't even settled on a publisher yet), so it's hard to say how the ultimate product will turn out. The fact that some of the developers worked on a Final Fantasy fan project (Final Fantasy Chronicles) seems to bode well for the game. Fate is scheduled for a winter 2002 release, which puts it barely on the gaming horizon. Naturally, if the game lives up to its conceptual potential few of us should mind the wait.

Tony Scinta
Supreme Chancellor

Related Links

  • Xbox Features

  • News Archives

  • Backtrack

  • Back to Main

  • Back to Previews

  • Back to Top

  • © Copyright 2002 / Hi2 Ltd.         Privacy Policy         Legal Information         Corporate Site