Today, Zynga shared new details regarding its recently-announced title Adventure World, an upcoming Facebook game that hopes to combine Zynga's traditional social game mechanics with classic adventure game elements.
The new title, developed by Zynga's Boston studio (formerly Conduit Labs), sees players traveling through mountainsides, jungles, and ancient ruins full of puzzles, traps, and enemies in search of El Dorado.
According to Zynga lead game designer Seth Sivak, much of the inspiration for the game came from classic core gaming franchises such as The Legend of Zelda and Tomb Raider -- games that emphasize puzzle solving and exploration.
"We love the action adventure genre, we love games like The Legend of Zelda, for example, and we want to find a way to make that for everybody," he said in a recent interview with Gamasutra, noting that the game's block-pushing and switch-based puzzles pay homage to these classic action-adventure titles.
Why Story Matters
Zynga says that the team plans to leverage in-game story as a means of drawing players into the game and hook them with regular updates to the game's characters and scenarios, as it did with the recently-launched Pioneer Trail.
"We found that these games run for a very long time, and we feel it's important for our fans to get a really strong feel for the characters and the world," said Sivak.
"People live in these games, and they want to see these characters interact and see their relationships build, and they want to see new characters introduced. And we're preparing for the long haul here. We're attempting to lay a good foundation for storytelling so we can keep this game going for a long time."
Sivak added that Zynga plans to take an "episodic" approach to Adventure World, adding new objectives, maps, and puzzles as players progress through the existing content.
Changing Social Features, Downplaying Base Management
Adventure World differs from Zynga's other Facebook titles is its approach to social interaction.
Much like other Zynga titles, Adventure World will allow players to "hire" their friends in the game, allowing them to conserve in-game energy and use those friends' tools and items for their own advantage. Unlike with other Zynga games, however, players have to first encounter silhouettes of their friends' player avatars scattered throughout the game's maps before they can interact.
In an attempt to add some weight into the game's social interactions, Sivak noted that Adventure World will reward players who build relationships and interact with the same people on a regular basis, saying "when you hire certain people more, they become more and more valuable to you."
In another deviation from Zynga's social game tropes, Adventure World downplays the game's home base management, instead encouraging players to spend time in the game's larger world.
"We tried to minimize [base management] as much as possible, to get people out of a single map so they can explore and go through the world," Sivak said.
"However, we still want to ground players," he continued. "That was one of the issues we ran into early, where people would lose track of where they would be, so we need to worry about reminding players where they were last time, and one of the best ways to do that was to have them come back to a familiar spot, so they can set off on their adventure again."
Sivak also pointed out that the game runs on a new engine developed by the Zynga Boston, allowing for larger and more interactive game boards.
Zynga did not provide a clear launch date for Adventure World, but noted that the team hopes to launch the title "in the coming weeks."