Spirits is a cancelled MMORPG / collectible card game that was in development around 2005 by Jadestone Group for the ill-fated N-Gage portable console / mobile phone. By taking advantage of the device’s mobile network features you could have been able to play against people from all around the world, fighting them and collecting new cards / monsters to use in your team / deck. As we can read in the original website:
“A long time ago, peace ruled the Earth as mankind lived in harmony with nature and all the other inhabitants of the planet – those you could see and those you couldn’t. Spirit beings born out of the four elements were all around us, and some humans could even communicate with them.
The memory of those ancient times is buried somewhere in the collective consciousness of mankind, but there are still spirit beings here to this day. SPIRITS™ tells the story of people that have been involved with the spirits in different ways over the millenia. The epic saga, which began in the ancient past of humanity, now plays out in the streets of today’s metropolitan cities.
SPIRITS™ is a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game with one main objective. You must fight the CUT – a doomsday sect trying to stop overpopulation by creating natural disasters to kill innocent people. You’ll have to hunt and collect spirits, test your skills in duels, perform rituals, and take on challenging missions that require tactical thinking and speedy reflexes.”
It seems Nokia and Jadestone had a demo of their game available at E3 2005, as reported by Gamestop at the time:
“Spirits aims to tap into the immensely addictive qualities of collectible card games, like Magic: the Gathering, to combine them with the massively multiplayer online capabilities of the N-Gage. It’s pretty clear that simply sticking a collectible card game, wholesale, into a video game doesn’t make for a great experience — and waves of mediocre Magic games have proven it — so Spirits is built upon a fairly complex backstory to provide the gameplay with some context.
The entire game will play out on N-Gage Arena, much like Pocket Kingdom does today. There are four basic gameplay elements in Spirits: collecting spirit cards, completing missions, dueling other players, and optimizing your “team” of spirits to keep it in fighting shape. To get new spirit cards, you’ll have to participate in a little minigame, called a “hunt,” where you actually catch spirits as they float around.
First, you assemble a team of six spirits that will comprise your troops. Your team and your opponent’s team are then placed on either end of a small isometric game board. Combat seemed to be really simple, at least at this point in development, so you select an attacking spirit, and then you choose an enemy spirit to target. The two collide, and damage is assigned. The gameplay’s turn-based, but both players make their decisions simultaneously, which adds a little more guesswork to the mix.”
Thanks to Jason for the contribution!