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Ex-PlayStation Home devs want to build a new virtual world for PS4

Home is dead. But a spiritual successor may live on.

Early next year PlayStation Home closes down, and there is little chance the virtual world will come to PlayStation 4.

But that hasn't stopped some former PlayStation Home developers from trying to do what Sony won't: build a virtual world for PS4.

Neotopia is a virtual world for PS4 built with Unreal Engine 4 - and it sounds a lot like a next-gen PlayStation Home. You create and customise an avatar. There will be public spaces to explore, people to meet, events to attend and activities to get involved in.

And, as with PlayStation Home, you can buy virtual apartments, redecorate them and share them with your friends.

Neotopia is the work of studio Madmunki. Founders Mark Jagger and David Dow worked on PlayStation Home online experiment Spunland. Ed Gladwin, who is also building Neotopia, worked on PlayStation Home for eight years while at Sony.

The developer is currently crowdfunding Neotopia on Kickstarter, where it's asking for £250,000.

"Neotopia's vision is to bring together like-minded people who can interact, build, share and play," reads the pitch.

"A world where you can make new friends and keep in touch with old ones in any setting you choose. A world with everything from idyllic beaches to mountain peaks, from Medieval castles to shining metropolis' of the future. All of which is your playground. All of which is YOURS."

£250,000 sounds like a big ask, but the developers reckon it's doable.

"Neotopia is undoubtedly a grand undertaking; virtual worlds are huge and complex, with their own rules and laws," the studio said.

"The amount of money we are raising is much lower than many would expect as the core team will be taking minimal salaries (and in several cases zero). Our biggest challenge will be to get the project delivered in a stable state with a steady stream of content ready which we can then use to expand and grow Neotopia post-launch.

"Once we are up and running the trick will be to be cope with variable server loads as efficiently as possible, taking on staff as required to help keep Neotopia ticking over smoothly 24 hours a day. We will also need to recruit community managers experienced in all issues of virtual worlds to help us mediate and develop Neotopia along with its community."

If the Kickstarter is successful Neotopia will come out in April 2015.

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