As Zynga announced at an event a few weeks ago, the newest title in the “Ville” franchise, which includes FarmVille, FrontierVille, and CityVille, is CastleVille. The newest title from the social gaming giant allows players to build mini-empires from castles, craft art and armour and trade, and defend your kingdom in a medieval world. The game was created by the Zynga Dallas team, which was part of the social gaming giant’s acquisition of Bonfire Studios.
Zynga Dallas director Bill Jackson explains that the studio took key elements of each ‘Ville’ title and brought the best into CastleVille. He explains that CastleVille combines with elements of self-expression from FarmVille, the ability to build the fantasy city of your dreams with CityVille, and the rich narrative and storytelling features from FrontierVille. The game is also experimenting with new ways of being social, and self-expression.
When first beginning the game, you’ll need to choose your character and build your look. Jackson says this is the most expansive character building features to date, with dozens of looks to choose from. Once immersed in CastleVille’s medieval world, peasants, princesses, pirates (and players) will choose their own path in the game by meeting new and different characters, completing quests and exploring mysterious areas.
The basis of the game is around building the castle of your dreams and transforming the unexplored land into your very own kingdom. Along the way, you’ll encounter a number of characters, who are all involved in the storyline of the game. You’ll first see Duke, who will help you build your castle and is from a neighboring kingdom. There’s Yvette (the beautiful songstress), Giselle (the lovely maiden) George (the friendly village Viking), Sonja (a sexy pirate), Rafael (a playboy woodsman) and Tom (the rough dragon slayer).
As Jackson says, this game has the most intensive storyline, which is why there are so many characters. Zynga also wants you to feel like you are immersed fully in the world, bringing in elements of fantasy and adventure. “You have to do work yourself and be part of the adventure to success at the game,” he explains. You choose your own path to discover mysterious locations, find rare items and reveal hidden characters within the game.
Another feature that makes the kingdom more real is that this is the most graphic-rich, expressive game to date. You’ll see actions like fish-hopping in the pond, trees shaking, and other sound effects tied to actions from within the game,
In terms of social interactions, you can visit your friends’ kingdoms and gift them art, armor and potions to help complete quests and challenge the forces of the Gloom. There is also a reputation system that gives you more points by how social you are in the game. Basically, the more social you are, the more reputation points you earn, and the faster you progress in the game. Obviously, this gives you more of an incentive to interact with friends and buy virtual goods. Jackson says this streamlined social experience makes it easier and more fun to play the game with friends.
CastleVille will be available to play for free in the next few weeks in 17 languages (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Turkish, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Japanese and Thai).
we know that developing new hits is a big part of Zynga’s business model and that profits were down in Q2 of this year because of the lack of any new game launches in the first half of 2011. We haven’t seen Q3 numbers yet, so it’s hard to tell whether these new launches are actually making a meaningful difference in Zynga’s top line.
According to Inside Network’s AppData leaderboard, Empires & Allies seems to be doing the best out of all the new titles with 19.8 million monthly active users. This is followed by Mafia Wars 2, with 13.7 million users. Of course, CityVille and FarmVille are the top games for Zynga, with 54.2 million and 28.2 million monthly active users, respectively. Perhaps the next Ville to top the list will be CastleVille.