Independent Swedish developer Star Vault has announced the development of Mortal Online, a new MMOG powered by the Unreal Engine 3.

Described as a “next-generation PC MMORPG both in terms of graphics and gameplay,” Mortal Online will take place in a sandbox game world in which players forge their own path via trading, combat, the formation of alliances and other “player to player interaction.” The game will feature multiple races and classes, including some exclusively available to veteran players, but will eschew separate PvP zones in favor of a system that seamlessly mixes PvP and PvE gameplay.

Combat in Mortal Online will take place in real-time, with individual player skill being the primary factor in combat. While character skills and equipment will be an important factor in battle, Star Vault says Mortal Online “is not a point-and-click game where only the stats of your character decides the outcome of a battle.” Skills in the game will be broken down into groups, with “Action Skills” improving through in-game use while “Learning Skills” will grow in the background and require more time to develop. A third category, “World Skills,” will apply to every character run by a player, meaning knowledge gained by one character will automatically be passed to all other characters owned by the player.

“It is a very exciting day for everyone involved in this project and we have had some stressful but rewarding days prior to this release,” Star Vault founder and CEO Henrik Nyström wrote in a post on the new Mortal Online website. “Each month we will release as much information as we are able to. This information will concern features, screenshots, races and classes and much more. Every so often we will also try to absorb what is said in the forums and what results the surveys display. Some great ideas might even make their way into the game itself!”

Mortal Online is currently targeted for a summer 2009 release, and Star Vault says a beta period will be announcement at a future date. For more information, go to the new Mortal Online website.

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