Geeks cheer, then jeer: Buffy MMO confirmed, Firefly MMO delayed

First the bad news: Twentieth Century Fox has announced that the previously announced Firefly MMO — based on Joss Whedon’s popular, yet short-lived series — has been delayed. 

On to the good news: Fox and The Multiverse Network are working on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer massively multiplayer online game. Let me repeat that — there’s going to be a Buffy the Vampire Slayer MMO. Can you heard my nerd-squeals from here? Currently in development, the “groundbreaking” MMOG will allow gamers to play in a 3D environment or a Flash-based 2D game, with both types of players able to interact with one another. 

No, I have no clue how that’s going to work, but I’m not a game designer … I just want to play. Now. Thanks. The Buffy MMOG will go into beta testing later this year. 

“Not to give away too much,” says Multiverse’s Corey Bridges, “but when the Buffy team finished the television series, they created the perfect launching point for an MMOG where everyone will feel like they’re an important character in the ongoing story.”

OK, spoiler alert: this is a likely hint that the universe will be populated by multiple Slayers, so start sharpening your stakes now. 

A really long press release with very little information about the Buffy MMO after the jump.

[Update: Here’s a link to some super-important, totally related Buffy cubecraft. Thanks, Adam!]

Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising and Multiverse Announce ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Virtual World

Revolutionary Massively Multiplayer Online Game First Ever to be Available as Both Fully Immersive 3D Environment and Flash-Based 2D Game

CENTURY CITY, Calif., Sept 03, 2008 — Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising and The Multiverse Network, Inc., a leading provider of virtual world development technology for Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs), educational and social worlds, and business collaboration environments, today announced the development of an original “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” MMOG. The virtual world will be based on the mythology and iconography made popular by the Emmy(R) Award-winning series.
The announcement was made by Academy Award(R) winning producer and member of the Multiverse Advisory Board, Jon Landau, during his keynote speech today at the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo.

The ground-breaking MMOG will offer a new experience for gamers, allowing them to play it either as a fully immersive 3D environment or as a Flash-based 2D game, where both types of players can interact. The game will be launched within “Multiverse Places,” a new social virtual world from Multiverse. Currently under development, “Buffy” will go into “beta” testing later this year.

Landau, a Multiverse Advisory Board member, who is in production on Avatar — the widely anticipated Fox film from fellow Multiverse Advisor James Cameron — commented, “Multiverse has the vision and expertise to create the type of rich environment needed for the best possible game based on the ‘Buffy’ series. The resources are in place to develop a great MMOG.”

Created by sci-fi and comic book legend, Joss Whedon, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” racked up critical and popular acclaim during its seven seasons on television. The series also inspired a line of top-selling comic books and successful merchandising lines with an avid fan base at retail. Fox Licensing & Merchandising (Fox L&M) continues to develop the brand for a number of targeted programs that reach its core market.

“Every once in a while a show comes along that lives long after its run on television, and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ is that kind of show,” commented Elie Dekel, Executive Vice President Licensing and Merchandising for Fox L&M. “We think that creating this virtual ‘Buffy’ world is the perfect extension of the brand and will attract both fans of the show and newcomers interested in a great experience online.”

“As a brilliant storyteller and world-maker, Joss Whedon crafts stories that expand perfectly into the new medium of virtual worlds,” said Corey Bridges, co-founder and Executive Producer, Multiverse. “Not to give away too much, but when the ‘Buffy’ team finished the television series, they created the perfect launching point for an MMOG where everyone will feel like they’re an important character in the ongoing story.”

In related news, Fox’s plans for the development of the previously announced Firefly MMOG have been delayed, but Fox looks forward to continuing its collaboration with Multiverse on this endeavor.

Since Multiverse’s launch over four years ago, more than 25,000 development teams — ranging from garage developers to Fortune 100 companies to Hollywood legends — have registered to use the company’s platform technology. In addition, several hundred pre-qualified customers have already begun building MMOGs and non-game virtual worlds with the Multiverse Platform.

Nick Chester