Next week is the eighth anniversary of Minecraft’s debut as a prealpha prototype, and its model for gameplay may be more influential now than ever before. So as new games continue rolling out that mimic some of its most popular and familiar elements, it’s time we recognize that this subgenre has moved beyond mere “Minecraft clones” just like first-person shooters have moved beyond “Doom clones.”
Earlier this week, developer Playful Corporation launched Creativerse out of a beta-testing phase and on the Steam PC gaming distribution platform. Playful admits that Creativerse is its own take on the open-world crafting and survival mechanics that Minecraft first made popular (and games like Trove and Dragon Quest: Builders have tried to capitalize on), but the studio also sees this game as part of an effort to recognize that this genre has untapped potential and ideas worth exploring that Mojang and others aren’t focused on. To better understand that, I interviewed Playful chief executive officer Paul Bettner during the GamesBeat Decides podcast. We’ve embedded that conversation in the video above.
Creativerse is free-to-play, but you can also buy a Pro version for $20 that unlocks more content. During our chat, Bettner made it clear that Playful isn’t only setting this game apart from Minecraft through a free-to-play business model, but the company is also focusing immediately on player-created content sharing through its Published Adventures feature. This tool enables players to create quests and easily share them with others through Creativerse’s in-game systems.
“We finally found what Creativerse wants to be when it grows up, and this is the feature that got us onto that path,” Bettner told GamesBeat.
The Published Adventures feature is somewhat reminiscent of Roblox, a game that Bettner also name dropped during our conversation. Roblox is a free-to-play online game where players build their own experiences and share them with others. Creativerse’s adventures are simpler than Roblox, which enables community developers to build shooters and racing games, but this is still a strong start — although Creativerse doesn’t enable people to earn revenues off of their Published Adventures like Roblox does.
And the community has recognized Creativerse’s quality. I spent some time it, and I was surprised at how easy it is to jump in and play. It has a more modern control scheme and interface than Minecraft, and I also think it’s more readily apparent how you can advance your character into a mining champ than in Mojang’s game. And that has translated into waves of positivity from players. On Steam, the game has a “very positive” rating after 14,000 user reviews. Many of those reviews still call Creativerse a Minecraft-clone, but very few mean that as a pejorative.
If you want to hear our full talk with Bettner, check out the audio version of the podcast below or wherever you listen to podcasts: