Helio to offer location-based game The Shroud



Helio to offer location-based game The Shroud
Initially announced two years ago by Your World Games, The Shroud, a mobile role-playing game (RPG) using location-based technology is finally released these days on U.S. wireless operator Helio with location features. Sold as a subscription, the game will cost $2.99 per month on the Helio network.

RPG with a GPS twist

The game features the protagonist, Taro, who starts off as a simple farmer but becomes a venerable savior as he fights to protect his homeland from the Shroud and its ancient, evil inhabitants. Players begin on an untended farm that they must work on to grow and harvest crops, maintaining livestock, etc. Doing so will allow Taro to accumulate funds and resources in order to repel the Shroud invasion and close the Breach portals that connect their world to his own. In addition, the game features several other elements such as fishing, mining, and real-time monster combat in order to provide a lengthy variety of activities for the player to immerse themselves into.

Peter Sprogis
Peter Sprogis
However, the game does not offer a full time location-based gameplay. GPS (and cell-id) are used as challenges within the game. The challenges allow the in-game character, Taro, to accumulate additional resources to fight The Shroud. Within these challenges the player is asked to perform particular task in moving in the real world. “It rewards people that play with GPS” said Robert Sprogis, vice president and creative director at Your World Games, who recently spoke with GPS Business News.

But the virtue of this game is that it can be played without GPS too. Last month The Shroud started on the AT&T network but without any location feature. “Helio was very enthusiastic about the location feature; it was a major selling point. But for some other operators it is less important. They are more hesitant because A-GPS cost them money and bandwidth”, said Sprogis.

The Shroud
The Shroud
Long delays
In 2006 when The Shroud was initially announced the game was supposed to get out of the door quickly. But then, Your World Games chose to add new features which delayed the launch. “What was supposed to be a six months development project ended up in more than a year development”, said Sprogis. Ultimately when The Shroud was finished its distribution partner, Sony BMG, decided to end its games distribution activity, which further pushed back the launch. Finally, Your World Games signed another distribution agreement with Gamevil USA which led to a deal with AT&T and Helio.

While Your World Game is currently focusing on getting The Shroud distributed by as many wireless operators as possible, there are some plans shaping up for the future. Location-based gaming is a core know-how of the small studio. Back in 2001, President Peter Sprogis was awarded one of the first patents in location-based gaming: “Treasure hunt game utilizing GPS equipped wireless communications devices”. More location-based games are likely to come up in the future.

Monday, July 28th 2008


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