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Free Realms was a Massively Multiplayer Online Adventure video game developed by Sony Online Entertainment set in a fantasy-themed world for the PC, Mac and PlayStation 3. The game was released on April 28, 2009 for the PC. The PS3 version was released in 2011. On January 28, 2014, Sony Online Entertainment announced that the game would be closed on March 31, 2014.
John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment(SOE), revealed that one million users had signed up to Free Realms 18 days after its launch; a month after release Free Realms reached two million users, and on June 12, 2009, reached 3 million users.
Players are able to choose from Jobs (classes) such as Adventurer, Ninja, Postman, Medic, Archer, and formerly Pet Trainer which became unavailable after December 14, 2009, and switch on the fly without creating a new character. The game limits barriers to entry and encourages social gameplay where, regardless of level or class, players will be able to interact, join forces and play together. There are many worlds to go to and a large number of quests to complete for coins and stars to help level up the character's job. Leveling up is handled in several ways, ranging from traditional combat to quests and minigames depending on which job the player wishes to advance.
Unlike typical MMOs, combat is completely optional and the focus instead, is spread across a variety of gameplay mechanics – exploration, combat, building, housing, pet-raising, mini-games and social networking – to ensure its appeal to a variety of audiences.
Free Realms is also playable as a trading card game (TCG), extending gameplay from the purely online setting to the real world face to face with friends. Both online and real world packs of the Trading Card Game feature 10 game cards, and 1 virtual reward card that can be redeemed in-game for various items. Real world game card packs also include 50 Station Cash™, usable to purchase items in-game.
Due to the social networking nature of the game, players are able to chat with one another, although players can optionally restrict user-generated content through the parental controls.
Of some note, Free Realms is the first MMO to incorporate integrated video capture and the ability to upload in-game video captures directly to YouTube. Locally saved captures can also be viewed or edited with any software that supports AVI.
The game is available to download and play free of charge. The PC version is accessed via the Free Realms web site or Miniclip. During character creation a 3D client downloads in the background and then streams as the user plays. This method is used when encountering any new in-game content or updates, eliminating large or long downloads.
The PlayStation 3 version is accessible via the PlayStation Network.
Free Realms offers an optional subscription for a single player, allowing for 3 characters to be created per account plus other benefits. But in the future, a "family" subscription will be offered allowing multiple logins at the same time. Also, micro-transactions are available for players interested in purchasing in-game items for their characters.
In the New York Times, Free Realms was well received. The reviewer, Seth Shiesel, noted "For Sony Online, Free Realms is a triumph of the company’s own reinvention." USA Today reviewer Marc Saltzman gave Free Realms a 4/5 score, noting "Sony Online Entertainment's Free Realms is an extraordinary online adventure that is sure to please tweens and teens looking for a fun and free fantasy world." Eurogamer gave the game a largely positive review, MMO editor Oli Welsh describing the game as "an effortlessly light and addictive indulgence".
“It’s Your World.” Song Created Exclusively for Free Realms by Robbie Nevil and Matthew Gerrard
The family-friendly online video game Free Realms is getting an extra shot of attitude from Southern California trio The Dares, who perform the game’s explosive theme song, “It’s Your World.”.
The track was conceived and composed exclusively for the Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) game by Robbie Nevil and Matthew Gerrard. Nevil burst on to the music scene with his song , "C'est La Vie,” while Gerrard composed mega-hits such as Kelly Clarkson’s number one song, “Breakaway”. Since 2006, Robbie and Matthew have teamed up to co-write and produce many of the biggest “tween” anthems including, “The Best of Both Worlds”, the Hannah Montana theme song. Together they are responsible for many of the key songs from the High School Musical (HSM) series including the showstopper, “I Don’t Dance” from HSM II.
Editors note: There's significant difference from the original recording and the final mix used in game, mainly in very heavy vocal pitch correction, similar in style recently popularized by artists like T-Pain and Cher. Accomplished post recording during production using equipment like ANTARES VOCAL PRODUCER.
- ↑ http://www.freerealms.com/article/detail.action?articleId=2305
- ↑ http://www.freerealms.com/article/detail.action?articleId=2079