Second Star Interactive will use its parent company's HeroEngine to build a new MMO for release in 2011.
Here's the quick corporate background: Idea Fabrik is a German company that bought the HeroEngine and HeroCloud development tools from Simutronics Corp in 2010. HeroEngine is licensed for a bunch of upcoming 3D online games, the most high profile of which is BioWare's upcoming The Old Republic. In order to stay close to the game development world, Idea Fabrik formed the new MMO studio based in northern Virginia in the U.S. Headed by Darrin Hyrup, a founder of Mythic Entertainment and 26-year veteran of online games, Second Star Interactive will use the HeroEngine to create a new MMO set to release by the end of 2011.
"Developing our own games is a critical part of our efforts to expand and enhance our technology because it keeps us close to the HeroEngine user experience," said Neil Harris of Idea Fabrik. "Darrin and the Second Star team bring a wealth of experience and practical contributions to the table that will help us grow both as a technology provider and as a company."
Also on board are several Mythic vets such as Lori Hyrup, lead designer of Dark Age of Camelot, and, I suppose, wife of Darrin. Cooper Buckingham, lead designer, was most recently of Sony Online Entertainment but also contributed to Warhammer Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Gods and Heroes, and The Sims. The team is rounded out with Tim Cotten as technical lead bringing his Ultima Online chops, and Art Director Eric Piccione who was not only responsible for the look of UO and DAoC but also teaches videogame art direction at George Washington University.
There's no word on what type of MMO that Second Star Interactive is working on, but given the experience of the staff it will probably be a fantasy RPG. I'm not sure that bankrolling a new MMORPG in this market is necessarily a sound business decision but there could be some leeway in the free to play market. Still, even with all the experience here, is there enough room for Second Star Interactive?