I.G, Pierrot, From Soft Creating Online Virtual Tokyo
posted on by Egan Loo
The anime designers at Production I.G and Studio Pierrot are contributing to the characters in "meet-me," a 3D virtual world catering specifically to the Japanese. This "metaverse" modeled after Tokyo is the creation of Co-Core, a joint venture between the Transcosmos marketing firm, the Sankei Shimbun news organization, and the From Software game developers (Armored Core).
The Japanese media have already called the project, "Second Life, Made in Japan," soon after the June 5 announcement of this winter's alpha version. The developers say meet-me's main difference from Linden Lab's pioneering Second Life virtual world is its user-friendliness to Japanese people of all ages. The metaverse will recreate the streets of Tokyo's 23 wards and prohibit the adult content prevalent in Second Life.
The virtual Shibuya 109 center in Tokyo's Shibuya ward © Co-Core
Production I.G animated the fictional virtual world within Ghost in the Shell, and Studio Pierrot worked on classics such as Creamy Mami and Kimagure Orange Road and current hits such as Naruto and Bleach. Production I.G has previously offered a virtual theater inside GungHo Online Entertainment's Emil Chronicle Online (ECO) role-playing game.
Although the initials specifications call for a machine running Windows Vista, the developers plan to expand the compatible systems to even mobile phones. They also plan to expand the metaverse beyond Tokyo to other regions of Japan and eventually other countries. Co-Core is aiming for one million users by the end of 2008.