Are you ready for "Planet Michael"?
No, it's not a Hollywood theme restaurant, but a creation of SEE Virtual Worlds, a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game developer that plans to create a "Michael Jackson-themed planet" for release in 2011.
The planet will exist inside the framework of the Entropia Universe, an MMO world where users can either pay actual dollars for in-game currency, or through tasks and rewards, get paid as well. The Entropia Universe originally began with just one environment, Entropia, but has since evolved into several planets, including Rocktropia, Calypso, and the new Planet Michael.
"Although Planet Michael is a free-to-download world without monthly subscription fees, the real world in-game economy features gameplay monetization that allows players to take on dozens of different occupations and in certain instances, contribute to a charitable cause at the same time," SEE said in a statement.
It's not clear what goals players will have in Planet Michael, but reports suggest that entire landmasses will be predicated on the themes of Michael Jackson's albums. And the developer isn't emphasizing fighting, like in the hit MMO "World of Warcraft," but more peaceful means of settling disputes.
"The player is more apt to succeed in a situation using song, dance and adventure as opposed to violence," SEE's Josh Gordon told USA Today.
"When we first approached the Estate and talked about creating Planet Michael, one of our primary goals was to build an interactive environment where fans from all over the world come together to affirm Michael's life-long dedication to fostering global friendships," said Martin Biallas, chief executive of SEE Virtual Worlds, in a statement.
"In building a space worthy of those global connections, we envisioned a magical, enjoyable place that will capture that zest for fun and life that was at Michael's very core. Throughout his extensive career, the King of Pop was well-known for his visionary contributions to music, dance, fashion, entertainment and philanthropy, and it was critical that we somehow incorporate all of those elements into the game."
The game has the support of Jackson's estate. "Michael was always exploring creative new ways technology could enhance the experiences of his fans, and for that reason we are thrilled to be working with SEE Virtual Worlds to build a global interactive experience that befits an artist as innovative as Michael Jackson," added John McClain, co-executor of the estate, in a statement.
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