Three Rings’ Gets into the User-Created Online World Game?

Three Rings' Puzzle PiratesRaph Koster and Linden Lab, man the mizzens! Scuttlebutt is Three Rings, the casual online game studio behind the cult hit Puzzle Pirates is about to storm into the user-created MMO space. Word first surfaced on 3pointD, which caught wind of Three Rings co-founder mentioning their upcoming “platform for building multiplayer online games in Flash and Java that operate as part of a larger virtual world”.

This is big news, because the inventive scallywags of the SF-based Three Rings have mastered the tricky goal of creating low-budget online worlds which appeal to casual gamers, as evidenced by Puzzle Pirates, boasting two million registered accounts as of mid-2006. This is still the most treacherous shoal for Linden Lab’s Second Life, with its high learning curve, and a challenge awaiting Raph Koster, whose new studio is already hard at work developing a Web 2.0-meets-MMO game.

But what exactly is Three Rings planning, and when will it arrive on the horizon? I checked with Daniel James, Three Rings’ other founder.

The British developer (often spotted at game conferences wearing a jaunty pirate hat), is saving his cannon fire for GDC in March.

“That’s about all the elucidation I want to do right now,” James demurs. “We are deliberately avoiding extensive press until we have something to show. I hate pre-release hype (let alone pre-development hype, with apologies to some new companies in the space), and we’re still deep in execution.” Still, he adds, “It is a different take on things from Linden and others (that I’ve heard about so far). Come to our talk at GDC and you can see it for yourself—” That would be this panel, giving word of something code-named metaSOY.

“— and,” he adds, “we’re having a party that night on March 8th.” (Bring your own rum?)