WC: How many folks are working on development?
Right now we have around 54 people in-house. We're not outsourcing any of the development, so all 3D assets, art, writing, programming and sound effects are done in our studio. Our music score, however, is being written by an external composer.
WC: Where are you in the development cycle of Twin Skies?
We're using the BigWorld engine which certainly gives us a head start on most traditional MMO projects. Currently we've had the engine two months, and we're already running around fully-textured landscapes launching fireballs at sheep (we have some strange developers!)
We're hoping to have the first couple of zones finished by the end of the year. We'll aim to have player housing, nine character classes developed up to an intermediate stage, combat, pathing and item trading done by the end of the year.
WC: How soon before you're ready for alpha testing?
Hopefully we'll be inviting friends and family to test our game in September, and then start more of a traditional alpha test later on this year. Most of the work we've been putting into our game has been leading up to our alpha launch at Penny Arcade Expo this year. After that's over we can concentrate on opening the alpha test up to a couple of hundred people.
WC: Will you have a closed and/or open beta?
We're still not too sure of whether there will be a line drawn between alpha and beta, and whether that actually means anything to us. MMO developers seem to use it more as a marketing tool these days. The game will certainly have an phase where its open to everybody before we launch our subscription model.
WC: Do you plan any cross-platform development?
Absolutely, that's really one of the most unique things about Twin Skies. We're not trying to port the entire game over to a different platform however, we're just trying to make the MMO more accessible wherever you may be. For instance, you'll be able to manage your house, trading, auctions and so on through the website. You'll be able to affect the game world in various random ways by playing the flash games (spawning monsters, unlocking chests, changing the weather etc.). Achievements in-game can be optionally posted to a social network of your choice, and you'll eventually be able to train a companion to accompany you into battle on a mobile device.