The FEWW: Interview With Founder Floyd Bishop

In a high tech science lab, scientists have been experimenting with the elements to learn about the building blocks of matter in order to exploit their secrets for profit. One night, during a freak thunderstorm, the lab is struck by lightning, and the elements become self aware. You play as one of four elements as you escape the lab and ultimately destroy the evil corporation. You must fuse together different elements as you fight your way to the head of the corporation to shut it down for good.

A new Kickstarter for a side-scrolling, arcade-style "beat-'em-up" game, The FEWW (Fire, Earth, Wind and Water), launched earlier this week. The game is a nod to the arcade scrollers of the past and is being worked on by an experienced team of former AAA developers. We had the chance to chat with founder and lead animator Floyd Bishop to get more details about his ambitious project. Floyd is most recently known in the MMO community for his work on Sony Online Entertainment titles such as EverQuest Next/Landmark and Free Realms, with his animation also landing in TV and movies such as Ice Age.

A Farewell to Free Realms

Free Realms will shut down forever at 6pm PT (9pm ET) on Monday, March 31, 2014.

I spent the past month trying to come up with how I wanted to write this article. Should I reflect on all the changes and updates to the game? Ponder the reasoning behind the game shutting its doors? Be angry, be happy, be sad? I still don't know, to be honest.

I've seen plenty of friends be affected by other game closures, but this is the first one to hit home. My entire household of five has played, or still plays, Free Realms. My youngest two children are playing as I write this, with my six year old (whose first video game was Free Realms, starting at the age of 2.5) alternating between happiness at the various things he's accomplishing, and grief at losing his beloved characters forever.

I can't blame him one bit. His sadness is mine.

Free Realms was the first MMO where I actually felt part of a community. Starting even in the beta, players banded together in friendships that still remain. Guilds like Gone Postal, Mystic Mayhem, FR Insider and Bunny Foo Foo made an indelible mark on many people. Even as the older crowd moved on as the game aged, many of us still kept in touch, checked in on the game, and so on.

Continue after the jump for the full article.

Final Game Sunset Customer Service Notification

For the final two weeks of Free Realms, SOE has lowered all Marketplace items to 1SC. As announced on the forums:

Dear Free Realms Players,

As previously announced, we wanted to remind you that game services for Free Realms will be discontinued the evening of March 31, 2014. We are proud of everything Free Realms has accomplished and have enjoyed bringing you the fun and adventure of the “Realms” over the last few years. It has been a memorable journey, and we thank you for all of your dedication and support.

On Tuesday, March 18th, most items in the Free Realms Marketplace will be reduced to 1 SC each for you to enjoy over the last couple of weeks. For more details and information please visit SOE Customer Service.

Thank you again,
Sony Online Entertainment LLC (& Amnerys)

A downtime was also announced, which will bring this Marketplace update:

We will bring the Free Realms servers offline on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 at 6:00am PT for an update. Anticipated downtime is around 1 hour.

Free Realms Sunset FAQ

Yesterday, Free Realms Community Manager Amnerys posted a FAQ on the official forum about the game's sunset, scheduled on March 31, 2014.

  • Sony Online Entertainment will retain all of the code and data from Free Realms and will not authorize any kind of emulator
  • Free Realms websites and forums will be removed when the game shuts down
  • Items and trading cards will continue to be accessible through March 31, 2014
  • Station Cash will remain in SOE Wallet and will be available in other SOE games
  • Further concerns can be posted in the FAQ thread or directly to Customer Service

SOE Announces More Game Closures

This afternoon Sony Online Entertainment has announced that they will be closing Free Realms, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and Wizardry Online later this year. Closure dates are:

SOE President John Smedley held a Reddit AMAA this evening, which can be viewed in its entirety here. I took the opportunity to inquire about Free Realms on my daughter's behalf, and here is his response. EQ2 Wire has a breakdown of many of Smedley's replies as well.

Downtime - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

From the official forums:

We will bring the Free Realms servers offline on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 at 6:00 a.m. PST (San Diego Time) for an update. Anticipated downtime is around 1 hour.

Snow Days Returns to Free Realms!

Snow Days returned to Free Realms yesterday with the Game Update 122 patch! Head on over to Snowhill and check out all the festivities. If you need a hint check out our Snow Days Guide, which you can help update! 

This year's festivities include all the previous years' content plus new achievements and over 700 new collectibles--tradable toys available from loot wheels! The Free Realms community has already started tracking the new toys on the official forums.

Check out the complete Game Update 122 patch notes after the jump.

Super Spooktacular Returns to Sacred Grove!

Denizens of Sacred Grove are entertained by Halloween Harry this month as Super Spooktacular returns once again. He seeks the help of candy-loving adventurers to help play some tricks, flush out some ghosts and assist others with many more fun tasks!

This year members can claim their October 2013 Member's Pack, which includes a special pet named Pinkeye and a pet pal named Toe-ny. According to Free Realms Mayhem players can also enjoy six new hair colors, such as Grape Frosting or Snowstorm, and a new overland boss called One of Three, who has several spawn locations and a couple of associated achievements.

Hop onto Free Realms today and enjoy the limited time Super Spooktacular event, which concludes on November 5, 2013!

Downtime Wednesday June 12, 2013

Virrago posted on the official forums:

We will bring the Free Realms servers offline on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 07:00 a.m. PDT (San Diego Time) for a quick hotfix. Anticipated downtime is around 45 minutes.

He didn't say what the hotfix was for!

Summer Madness Sale: June 7 - 9

Summer Madness is here!

This weekend ONLY get 50% off everything in the Marketplace!! The Free Realms Development Team has gone CRAZY!!!

Everything in the Marketplace is 50% starting 6/7/13 12AM PDT through 6/9/13 11:59 PM PDT!

Don’t miss this chance to stock up and save!