Skies is a cancelled massively multiplayer online game set in a 3D world of winged creatures ranging from angels to dragons and vampires. The game was coded by Paradigm Entertainment while the concept and publishing duties were by SegaSoft. Initially conceived for PC, later the game was announced to be headed to Dreamcast too. However neither version materialized ever, probably because SegaSoft was restructured in Sega.com Inc. in 2000. Below you can read part of a RPG VAULT interview with Paradigm’s Gary Bandy:
Jonric: Can you give me an outline of the game world and the main storyline?
Gary Bandy: Skies represents the next generation of interactive online entertainment. It transports the player to another realm using state of the art flight simulation technology in a real-time 3D universe. The world of Menigar is an open and extendible universe. It will be constantly updated with new quests and opponents to conquer. The player will have the unparalleled ability to fly freely through the Skies of Menigar. “Skies” allows the player to interact with Menigar’s thousands of inhabitants, most of whom just happen to be other users sitting at internet connected PCs around the world.
Menigar is a magical world with a landscape of floating cities and castles. Within this game we are creating an all new mythos of creatures and environments. All of the inhabitants of Menigar can fly, however there will still be some ground-based movement inside the confines of cities.
Jonric: What kind of characters, classes and races can I play in Skies? And how much can I customize my starting character?
Gary Bandy: Initially there will be a number of different types of characters for the player to choose from. Customization will be offered in terms of different colors and magic the player collects will alter the character’s abilities. One of the really cool features of the game is the ability to “age” the character – as the player becomes more skilled in the game and has achieved certain goals and objectives, the character will physically grow and mature and that aging will be visible to other players. For example, a “newbie” may make a wise decision to not mess with an “elder!”
Jonric: How does character development work? Is it level-based, skill-based, or something else?
Gary Bandy: Character development will be skill based and loosely dependent upon the experiences, accomplishments, and affiliations of the player.
Jonric: Is there a wide range of skills? Are all skills available to everyone?
Gary Bandy: There is a wide range of skill available but not all are available to everybody – some will be dependent upon the type and age of the character and others will be dependent upon the objects in the player’s possession. Skills can also be affected through adventuring, missions and quests, and factions or affiliations.
Jonric: How does magic work in skies? Will there be a lot? And will all spells be available to all characters? What can you tell me about LEDOs and their role in the game?
Gary Bandy: Magic is based on the collection of Limited edition Digital Objects or LEDOs. There are plans to incorporate more than 200 different types of LEDOs in the game – each with a different value and availability – some will be more rare than others. Also, LEDOs can have different effects when used in combinations so there is a huge variety of things that can happen.
Jonric: Can you tell me about monsters in Skies? Will there be any non-monster NPCs?
Gary Bandy: We created a set of characters for the game and will let the players decide which ones they want to play. There will be a variety of NPCs. Balance between races and good and evil was the goal for character creation within Skies.
Jonric: How will combat work? What will happen to your character when it dies?
Gary Bandy: Combat will take place through a real-time 3D exchange of magic spells – depending on which LEDOs the player has in their inventory. In certain situations, the triumphant character can collect one of the LEDOs from the vanquished player.
Jonric: Tell me about factions. It seems like the game will encourage everyone to join a faction. Is that so, and if so why?
Gary Bandy: Factions or guilds are helpful – more brains on a problem, more friends in combat. Factions will create a more social atmosphere into the game. There are plans to have a voting system, allowing members of factions to voice their opinion on current issues within the game.
Jonric: What about quests? How do you plan to implement them?
Gary Bandy: Some quests will be embedded within the game as the player explores and discovers things, while some will be “faction specific” – individual groups may be sent on specific quests. Other quests may be announced to all players by the game managers.
Jonric: Will there be player versus player combat? Non-consensual player combat? If so, how do you plan to address newbie-killing and the whole issue of PK?
Gary Bandy: Player killing is a definitely a part of the game although not the only aspect of it. There will be safe havens where no killing is allowed, while other areas are open. One of the challenges of designing the game is to ensure a balance between the action oriented shoot-em-up and puzzle solving quests in the game. Killing of newbies is certainly discouraged – especially for more experienced players. There is nothing to gain from an elder killing a newbie – they will not be allowed to collect a LEDO from the player, and in fact, their “fame” level will very likely decrease.
Scans from Edge issue 48, GamePro issue 109 and Console Plus issue 79.