Developer NetDevil (Jumpgate Evolution
) has announced a new web games division, to kick off with the development of a new flash-based Lego Racers
PC title based off of the toy products, scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2008.
NetDevil says it expects to roll out of several other casual web-based game titles for debut in 2008. LEGO Racers
, which lets players own up to five cars from ten teams and compete online against other players or in offline mode, will be geared at kids.
will feature online race competitions, and players will be able to modify and upgrade the different cars. They can also play in offline mode and view their ranking and scores on the leader board later. is a fun web-based flash game for children and is currently planned for release in the first quarter of 2008.
NetDevil president Scott Brown says that the company's been mulling a dedicated focus on casual content for some time, and Gamasutra spoke to Brown about the new division and the relationship with Lego.
What's attractive about the web games space for you right now?
The web game space represents a new way for us to explore lots of ideas that don't always make sense when you’re looking at the huge budget numbers of your typical MMO development. However, web-based MMO titles have typically just as much potential when you consider hugely successful products like Runescape
or Club Penguin
We have this great library of MMO back-end codebase that we hope to exploit while using the advantages of a lighter web-based front-end, which allows us to make really fun games quickly and on a budget.
Why do you like working with Lego so much?
Lego has proven to be a terrific partner for NetDevil and we have a developed a very open relationship over the time we have worked together. Often, they have employees from various departments working in our offices and we will visit their HQ and work with their teams in Denmark as well, just to feed off of each other’s energy.
We seem to have a great synergy that has resulted from each company being passionate about what we do and this is leading to many new projects together now and hopefully for a very long time in the future.
I'm told there's already a Lego Racers title that wasn't so well received. What's different about yours?
We’re actually reworking the new Lego Racers
game from a popular title in the franchise called Drome Racers Challenge
, which was a huge hit. We want to take everything that was great about that game and put that into this new Lego Racers
game with added security and gameplay features. Through rigorous focus testing, we hope to make this a game that appeals to more than just the existing fan base of the old Drome Racers
This game's aimed at a younger set -- will the new web gaming division have a kids' focus, then?
Not necessarily, but it is certainly aimed at a more casual gamer. We have several games planned that are not aimed at kids that we hope to announce soon. A good example of the direction that we hope to follow would be comparable to how Pixar makes movies for kids, but they are obviously still very entertaining for all ages.
We see casual game content as a key growth driver moving forward, and feel we are in a great position to bring some the world's most recognized brands and entertainment properties to new audiences.