Hey Poptropicans! This post is going to be a long one, so hang in there – it’s out of this world. 😉
Let’s talk about Poptropica Worlds. For those of you who have missed the memo, Pop Worlds is the massive overhaul project formerly referred to by the community as New Poptropica – the complete re-designing of Poptropica as we know it. It was officially announced on the Creators’ Blog in April of last year, where it was advertised to launch “later [that] year.”
Well, it’s early 2017, and we know that didn’t happen. However, we did get the trailer video last month, where the name Poptropica Worlds was announced, along with a new release time frame: spring 2017! You can check out the trailer below:
Let’s not deny that it has been a long time coming, though; even longer than expected. The frustrating part, as many Poptropicans can attest to, is not getting many updates on its progress (sneak peeks and the like). But if you’re reading this, it means you’ve held on for all this time, keeping the spirit of Poptropica alive. And that’s pretty awesome.
Waiting isn’t easy, but it’s given us some things to think about. Let’s get into the big questions.
Is Poptropica “dying”?
2016 was a very different year for Poptropica, in terms of production. As you may recall from our 2016 Rewind, there were events and updates here and there, but barely any new islands – the only one was Monkey Wrench, the tutorial for new players, which doesn’t really constitute a full island.
And so, understandably, there have been concerns from Poptropicans all over the community that the game is “dying.” That the only thing keeping it alive is the fandom community. These are legitimate concerns. We’re used to getting a new island every couple of months, as we have been for years, and Poptropicans were not prepared for the dry spell we’ve been having.
But: not all is lost. It’s true that a lot of the activity is kept up by the community, the players like you and I. Many Pop bloggers have been active in Poptropica-inspired fan projects and pursuits, and the PHB is no exception: we’ve averaged about a post a day (sometimes more) in the past year (just look at our archives in the sidebar). Poptropica has been busy in their other endeavors as well, even putting on a couple of contests for the fans as well as releasing books and other little updates.
Sometimes, in the midst of “lame” updates, we forget that we actually are waiting for something, that the New Poptropica is and has been in development all this time. Even though we’ve gotten only a few glimpses of what’s to come, let’s not lose sight of the future ahead. Something bigger is coming.
Even as we wait, Poptropica is not dying. Poptropica is building a new kingdom behind-the-scenes, and it’s almost time for us to step into it. Are we ready?
Here’s another question to think about…
How is Poptropica doing in relation to other kids’ virtual worlds?
Poptropica is a pretty big enterprise, and it’s easy to dismiss the slowed signs of activity as a signal of its impending doom. But for almost a decade, Poptropica has done pretty well for themselves – they’ve achieved the ever-elusive “success.” Just think of the many other games, apps, and projects you’ve dabbled with for a period of time, only for them to fade from memory and use. So, for all that it is, it’s pretty impressive that Poptropica has stayed afloat for over 9 years.
Some of you may have heard about the imminent closure of another popular virtual world: Club Penguin. Well, closure isn’t fully accurate. But they are shutting down the desktop and app worlds in favor of a new, mobile-only game: Club Penguin Island.
You read that right: Island. Like Poptropica Islands! It’s funny that they’re embracing this term just as Poptropica is choosing a new one (Worlds).Poptropica blogger Tall Cactus noted the similarity on her blog as well. Could they even be trying to rub off on Poptropica’s success with one buzzword? This is only a speculation, but the possibility is there.
As Club Penguin enters this new stage of existence after 11 years online, so Poptropica approaches its 10th anniversary this coming September. The official Poptropica Twitter (and an ex-Creator, Director D aka @JamesDLema) has even acknowledged the big news from their competitor:
Friendly reminder that, unlike Club Penguin, Poptropica is keeping its original game even after the launch of the new one. So you don’t have to worry about losing everything you’ve built just yet – and that’s a good thing. We’re going to need to ease into the big transition.
Speaking of kids’ sites, Poptropica’s social media person (though on a personal Twitter handle), Jessica (Skinny Moon) gave a shout-out to ex-Creator Director D’s latest endeavor, Lego Life:
Might catch your interest if you’re into Lego and social media! It’s brand new, and that’s the thing: Creators keep creating. Who knows how long it’ll be before it takes on a new form?
What next?: Our Hopes, Concerns, and a Call to the Creators
So now what? How do we keep our patience from running thin?
First, we remember that Poptropica Worlds is still in development, has been for at least the past year, and will soon be here. We remember that Poptropica is creating something totally cool for our interests.
Then we recognize that Poptropica has come a long way, has already delivered on many amazing islands and other events, and still has a bright future ahead with the development of a massive upgrade.
And then, of course, we hope for the best. Spring is right around the corner – you know, once we get through this winter. If all goes according to plan (and it would be embarrassing to backtrack on a release date a second time), we should be playing Poptropica Worlds sometime soon.
Now let’s address perhaps the biggest concern we’ve had during this whole waiting business: Poptropica’s silence. Their commitment to keeping development and progress reports under wraps for the most part did not bode well for many Poptropica fans.
Dear Poptropica Creators, it’s understandable that you don’t want to give too much away and spoil the fun, but if you’re going to keep us waiting for this long, you need to give your fans something more to hold onto than the same old lines about not revealing anything. Where are the sneak peeks? The progress updates? Is a little tease every once in a while too much to ask?
When it turned out that you could not make the release in the timeframe you had promised, why did you not acknowledge it? Many of us were left disappointed (though some of us unsurprised) when 2016 rolled away and New Poptropica did not arrive. Why didn’t you say something? Why did you keep our hopes up and wait for them to be dashed without a word?
Remember this holiday post on the Creators’ Blog, and the speculation it brought over the ambiguous but hugely suggestive wording – that we might finally get a New Pop update?
And how, we waited for the remaining week of the 2016 year, hoping for something with each passing day? What did we get? Two updates to the #MyPoptropicaCostume contest, and on the last day of the year finally delivering on… the behind-the-scenes look for an Island of the Month, promised since the beginning of the month. Don’t get me wrong, these were good things, but the fact remains that Poptropica chose to stay silent on the biggest matter of them all: New Poptropica.
Can you feel the disappointment?
So this is the call for Poptropica’s Creators: If you value your fans, listen to them. Address their yearning and give them something new to hope for, a little taste for what’s in the works. Don’t be silent.
Start now. We’ve still got a while before we’ll actually get to play the new Worlds. In this long interlude, it would’ve be nice to see more than a monster worm (cool as that is), two frames of an animated rat in the not-Daily Pop, and leaks we’ve had to go and find on our own.
Thanks for making it through this lengthy post, and I hope it’s given you some food for thought.
Creators, you’re awesome for working hard to bring Poptropica Worlds to life – just remember who’s playing the game. Poptropicans, you’re awesome for sticking it through a year of no new islands – so keep going, and of course, stay popping. 😉
All good things,
– slantedfish –
Update: Poptropica left a comment on this post saying the following:
Hi Poptropicans! Slanted Fish, thanks for writing this post! As I said in the FAQ post comments, there hasn’t been much to share because we’ve been building Poptropica Worlds from scratch. All the back-end work has to come before actual Island development, and then the beginning parts of Island development don’t have anything visual — so that’s why there hasn’t been anything to show for a long time. You’ll get peeks when we have peeks to show, and that should be in the near future!
As for that end of 2016 blog post where we said there would be some “very interesting stuff on the blog” the next week — I was referring to the post about having 12 instead of 2 winners in the art contest, and the post about Poptropica Worlds. The PW post got delayed for a few reasons, unfortunately. We didn’t mean to be silent at the end of the year, but sometimes in game development, unforeseen things happen!
Poptropica Worlds is going to be awesome and we’re so excited to debut it this Spring. I wish I could tell you more, but what I’ve seen is really, really cool. 😀
Thanks for the response, Skinny Moon! 🌙