Free Realms was a massively successful MMOFPS that made its debut in April of 2007, but it failed due to the mismanagement of its developers and publishers. It became one of the most popular MMORPGs before being shut down on December 2nd, 2014.
Free Realms was a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that would have turned 13 years old this week if it were still alive. The game had a lot of features including player housing, guilds, and an auction house.
If you were familiar with the MMO genre in 2009, you may recall SOE’s release of Free Realms, a charming kid-centric MMORPG available on PC and console. It was SOE’s first free-to-play game, released long before the concept had taken hold throughout the industry, and it quickly grew to 17 million users in only two years.
Well, the game’s former creative director – and current Principal Creative Architect at Microsoft – hasn’t forgotten about the April 28th anniversary of the game’s release.
“[H]ere’s a never released internal video from our first year of development,” Laralyn McWilliams wrote on Twitter as a treat for veterans. “It’s before we decided on modern clothing styles, it has the original logo… and it shows the never-revealed Underworld.”
Free Realms went live thirteen years ago today! To celebrate, here’s a never released internal video from our first year of development. It’s before we decided on modern clothing styles, it has the original logo… and it shows the never-revealed Underworld. pic.twitter.com/uMty3Wa30w
— Laralyn McWilliams (@Laralyn) April 28, 2022
Readers will, of course, recall what happened to the game: It was one of several MMOs canceled down by SOE in 2014, with then-president John Smedley claiming that children’s games were tough to develop because “kids don’t spend well” and “kids do nasty things to one other a lot,” and that SOE needed its resources elsewhere.
“Looking back, it’s a shame that Free Realms didn’t get the funding to go the distance,” MOP’s Justin wrote in our Game Archaeologist recapping the game’s saga last year. “Titles like Wizard101, Roblox, and Minecraft show that there is a huge market for kids games — and yes, a way to support them financially.”
There’s some good news for those who are nostalgic right now: FR Sunrise is a rogue server for the game. Free Realms, have a wonderful birthday!
Free Realms would’ve turned 13 years old this week if it were still alive. Free Realms was a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that had players exploring a fantasy world with other players. It was created by Sony Online Entertainment in 2008 and shut down on May 15, 2012. Reference: twitch.
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