Nightlife, food, booze, fashion, sex and travel.

If those are things you hold near and dear and can’t get enough in real life; enVie Interactive Entertainment and their debut title “Virtual Island of Entertainment” is right up your alley.

Geared towards the under-served women’s demographic, the game will feature a plethora of casual gaming experiences as well as episodic content that rolls out like an HBO series.

Want to learn more? We sat down (digitally) with VIE co-founder Philo Northrup and talked about the game, in its beta stage now.

BLAST: You call the women’s social gaming movement "underserved" and feel VIE will fill that void, but women already have a host of options available to them, though mainly in the incredibly casual Nintendo DS market. What does VIE offer that all others cannot?

PN: VIE offers an immersive experience with lots of choice. VIE is a fantasy vacation on a mysterious isle. While exploring this lush, realistic environment, guests can play casual games for sure, but the games are in the context of the storyline and the characters that inhabit our island. VIE offers an integrated approach to entertainment where guests solve mysteries, shop, socialize, and discover supernatural secrets. This can be an intense and even frightening experience. Or it can be a relaxed elegant lifestyle – do what you will, at your own pace, and in no particular order. There is a gentle pull into different aspects of entertainment on the island but never a push.

BLAST: According to your press release, VIE offers stunning graphics, unique customization and the ultimate entertainment experience. What do you mean by each of these claims and how will you go about fulfilling those promises?

PN: We have spent many months designing beautiful avatars, an elegant environment, and game play that offers an interwoven approach to fun on the island. We will calibrate this experience during the Beta period. Nothing out there looks like this or acts like this. Nothing out there offers what we have. Why endure a combat game or hoards of teenage griefers if you’re looking for romance? Why endure decade-old technology if you’re looking for beauty? Why go to separate places if you want to live like a rockstar, solve mysteries, play games, express yourself, meet people, explore the supernatural and check out fashion? Now, all of that is in one place: VIE.

BLAST: You mentioned Episodic Content. How will VIE go about unleashing these new experiences?

PN: The storyline will be updated monthly with a new episode. Our model here is more akin to HBO than video game progression. Each episode has its own story cycle that both resolves some elements and uncovers new mysteries. A “season” of episodes will also have its own larger story cycle, and the entire story itself unfolds over multiple seasons. The players affect the story and how it unfolds, so really none of us know what’s going to ultimately happen.

BLAST: You use the word "mature" as a product description for VIE. That word has some hefty and serious connotations in today’s gaming sphere. What about VIE is "mature,"? Or am I reading too far into it?

PN: Mature means not only “over 18,” but also “not immature.” VIE is a sophisticated world where adults engage in Productive Play. Picture a location from a James Bond movie – an elegant and exciting place for grownups, not teenagers. When adults play – e.g. Mardi Gras, Burning Man, or just about any costume party – intimacy and sex are part of it. Men and women like to be sexy, they like to flirt, and they like to engage in romance. It’s like BLAST says: “nightlife, food, booze, fashion, sex and travel. You know — feel good stuff.”

Adults want the “feel good stuff” when they are on vacation and they want it online as well. VIE has elegant clubs & casinos that serve magical cocktails; we have a catwalk showing fashion 24-7 and a full time fashion designer on staff; and should you choose, you can find romance on this exotic island to which you have traveled.

In every virtual world & MMO players utilize random animation & props to engage in erotic play. Since there is obviously a demand for online intimacy, we’ve decided to provide erotic animations to our guests who would enjoy them, and we’ve created a separate island for them to play in this way. We are focused on providing a safe place where women feel comfortable to explore with this sort of play. Our erotic animations are created with the same level of style and grace we’ve applied to all our art and design.

This intimate play happens in private – on a separate island or in your home – so guests will never encounter nudity or erotica unless they clearly seek it out.

BLAST: What do you mean by the claim that VIE will bridge the gap between hardcore, softcore gamers and virtual world enthusiasts? Will it combine the experiences or offer them individually within the scope of the entire game?

PN: There are a lot of people out there, especially women, who enjoy games of all types, but find the whole “here’s your weapon, now kill or be killed” thing fatiguing. We call these “avid gamers” and they are passionate about Productive Play, about having fun, reveling in escapism, and about making friends. You don’t have to be a ninja to have fun in our game – if you can shop online you can play on VIE. You don’t have to choose a classification, or even decide what you want to do today. On VIE, you can play casual games, solve crimes, encounter immortals, shop, socialize, and do all of them at once or none of them. It is as you wish, every day.

BLAST: Talk about Productive Play and what this means to those unfamiliar.

PN: Productive Play describes how we discover who we are inside through playing. All mammals engage in play because it’s educational, social, creative and engaging. In the U.S. play is often considered unimportant unless it is tied to a paycheck, but play for its own sake can be critical. Productive Play is not just a diversion, it’s important. It forms the basis of training, ritual and community for many and because of this play engenders meaning. People find meaning in play through art movements such as Dada, Fluxus, the Situationists, and ArtCars; through creative rituals like Mardi Gras and Burning Man; through role-playing in games and theater; and through creative play online. Productive Play, especially in virtual worlds, provides a safe way for us to push our boundaries and look beyond our limitations to wherever our fancy leads. Productive Play unleashes our imagination and allows us to create an alternate reality. You are more than the sum of your day job.

BLAST: What’s the business model for VIE going to look like? Will it be a subscription-based experience? Or something different?

PN: It’s a Freemium model, which means it’s free to play, but there’s a charge for premium content. Guests will be able to subscribe as well, and we offer substantial discounts for those who do, but you can explore everything we offer   la carte as well.

BLAST: How far along is the game? Will we see a beta experience for it? And when and where (worldwide or domestically) are you expecting to ship it?

PN: Beta opens this summer. The initial market is North America but we won’t have anything in a box – it’s all online at www.viethegame.com.

BLAST: The floor is yours. Is there anything new you can share with us today? And if not, why should we be excited about VIE?

PN: Thank you! We are creating something new. It is a world that offers a fun, hassle free place for women to play and explore. It’s a sophisticated place where men will enjoy the cool clubs, elegant casinos, rich & famous lifestyle, and beautiful women. There are still elements of excitement and danger, just without the violence. We researched what men and women are looking for and put it together into an exclusive resort island – VIE. And you’re invited!

About The Author

Eddie Makuch is a Blast staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch.

9 Responses

  1. m4nm4n

    Interesting. I wonder how they think they stack up against mega giants of no win-mmos like SecondLife.

    Reply
  2. Sitsy

    Darn! I am a mature female and I have to tell you, I’m very disappointed. I held great hopes for VIE, but it sounds to me like another male created world “for women” and obviously you have no clue what we want. Shopping and sexual encounters….YAWN!

    Wish list:

    – Good vehicales, that you can race and buggy bash with.
    – Paintball fights with friends…nothing like sending a friend scooting on their back side 🙂
    – Voice chat and text chat so we have choice.
    – No bubble world. Big problem with second life is it feels like a fish bowl.

    Seems like the only choices for Virtual worlds are knuckle dragging cave man games or sex bunny worlds. VIE sounds like another excuse to “sex it up” FYI that’s not what women want. :p Least not this woman…I want a place to meet up with friends and have a laugh and do things together that would would have a chance to do in rl. I can go shopping in rl but I can’t enter a buggy bash with my friends in real life.

    I’m not giving up on VIE just yet…but I must say I’m disappoint in what they think women want.

    Reply
  3. G. Davis

    Is Philo Northrup the person who using the name Philo did the Shaundra sword and sorcery adult comics? If so it would give an indication of what direction VIE project will take!

    Reply
  4. pamela j

    i think they should hve asked the women on their staff(if they have any or think they should have opinions).
    Because while i am shopping for a a killer outfit i would like it to be able to support all the weaponry i would like to use while killing things and blowing them up. and if i should choose to have a sexual encounter it should be after i have defeated and captured a dude. Maybe ill let him come up for air to cook for me in the kitchen you think i want afterwards lol. sexist much?

    Reply
  5. Sitsy

    I take it, VIE has not opened yet…I hope they are rethinking some of the content…and making it a better world than the one proposed. Or they are just filling it with more male driven idea’s of what they want women to want :p

    Reply
  6. Irene

    Count me in! Where do I sign up?
    And by the way, what are all you bitches bitching about?

    Reply

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