Funcom launches casual MMO arm

SweetRobot making Pets vs. Monsters.

Norwegian developer Funcom has announced the establishment of SweetRobot, a subsidiary that will make "social and casual" MMO games - as revealed in our exclusive interview today.

SweetRobot's first project will be Pets vs. Monsters, aimed at an eight to 12-year-old audience. Players ride pets into battle as well as enjoying typical RPG progression. The game will have a small streaming client, and although the business model has yet to be decided, it will be initially free.

A small team of 15 at Funcom has been working for the past two years on Pets vs. Monsters and its underlying engine, which will be used as the basis for a number of similar projects. The game has no release date, but will go into closed beta testing soon.

"Our passion and dedication for high-end online games remains the same, and Age of Conan and The Secret World are still our primary focus", said Funcom's chief executive, Trond Arne Aas. "But we are also eager to explore new opportunities within the industry, and it felt natural for us to step into the social gaming segment especially considering our outstanding experience with making online worlds and communities."

He added, "The fact that these productions require significantly lower budgets and smaller teams to develop is very attractive to us, as it allows us to try out several concepts instead of placing all our resources into one single bet."

More in the interview with Pets vs. Monsters producer Jon Wright.

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