FarmVille Expansions: Zynga brainstorms the future of the farm

FarmVille Haunted HollowWith the gates to Haunted Hollow open, FarmVille has seen more expansions than venerable, traditional online games like World of Warcraft (WoW) and is catching up to classics like Everquest. And all in a fraction of the time.

Social games have much shorter development times than the not-so-average WoW, but it goes to show that digital farmers consume content just as voraciously as the hardcore dungeon crawler. That said, how does Zynga plan to keep the machine churning?

After his session on this very topic at GDC Online 2012 in Austin, Tex., Zynga designer Mike Perry provided some insight for where FarmVille may be headed next.

"Social is changing so quickly and rapidly for us that I have a feeling we'll take a lot of runs at trying to see, well, 'What does 'reset social' mean?' For me, at the end of the day, it needs to mean that I care more about the people that I'm playing with. You're starting to slam through, accept gifts from a bunch of people, and not even pay attention to names anymore," Perry admits. "I think for a game to feel social, you really need to know who those people are."

But what does an increased focus on social mean exactly? To date, few games on Facebook have earnestly honed in on meaningful social connections. Not to mention that, when they do, it's usually to their detriment as far as commercial success is concerned. Regardless, Mike has some interesting (and telling) ideas.
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"It could be that we create a system that allows for smaller groups of people to play together within the game-maybe like a guild or something," Perry teases. "It could be that we allow for shared farming through a shared gameplay space where players could farm on the same game board. We've brainstormed a lot, and I will definitely take a number of more runs at it."

With FarmVille 2 on the scene, Perry is intensely interested in major FarmVille updates that introduce not just new content, but new (and perhaps evolutionary) features. With such possibilities for the original, who knows what the future holds for Zynga's new hotness.

Are you excited for the future of FarmVille expansions, or have you grown tired of this approach? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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