Glitch is a quirky, indie, free-to-play browser-based MMO that is currently in closed beta and quietly capturing the world's imaginations. It's already an amazing product, but somehow, over the weekend, the game managed to get even better, with some help from the newest employee at Tiny Speck.
...as the Glitch blog eloquently puts it:
Everybody has heroes. Some are fortunate enough to have a chance to meet their heroes face-to-face. And some have the exceptional fortune to work directly with one of their heroes on a shared goal. And ... that’s us!
That hero is Keita Takahashi, the Japanese creator of games like Noby Noby Boy and, of course, Katamari Damacy. The man has more imagination in his little finger than many people have in their entire body - making him a perfect fit for the Glitch team, according to Tiny Speck founder Stewart Butterfield:
We played some Glitch together, batted ideas back and forth and found that we shared the same values — deep beliefs in curiosity, humor, absurdity, and above all a belief in the positive power of play.
Takahashi has been keeping a low profile since his last project - the release of an iOS version of Noby Noby Boy last February. He's gone on the record in the past as being "dissatisfied" with the state of video game development, suggesting that perhaps he should turn his talents to something like designing playgrounds instead.
In some ways, that's possibly what he's actually doing at Glitch, as the side-scroller defies convention and presents a totally new playing space. Butterfield says chatting to Takahashi was "like talking to an old friend", so even though the ensuing discussions took several months, the eventual result sees the Japanese icon and his family moving from Tokyo to Vancouver to join the team.
Glitch is still in closed beta, running almost-weekly playtests for those lucky enough to have an invitation. Whether or not it will ever be "finished" is another story, but fingers crossed we'll see this new MMO officially released some time in 2011.
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Jimmy the Geek