Katamari Damacy Online (lost massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on puzzle-action game series; 2010-2012)
Katamari Damacy Online (괴혼 온라인 출시) was an online multiplayer game developed in collaboration between South Korean game studio Windysoft and publisher Namco Games. Releasing to the public in February of 2010, the game would remain active for two years before being shut down sometime between February and March of 2012. The MMO was exclusive to players who lived in South Korea, and introduced a number of new features, characters, and items never before seen in the franchise. Although gameplay footage and official artwork has surfaced online, the game, along with all of its assets, is considered lost.
Details of Katamari Damacy Online's development is shrouded in mystery, but based on what we know, it was quite troublesome. News of the game’s development first made its way online in 2006. A formal announcement by Namco wouldn’t be made until early 2007, where it was revealed that the company was partnering with Windysoft, a developer of online multiplayer games from South Korea, to release the game. It would be another two years before Namco revealed more information about the game. Two new Katamari Cousins were revealed, along with a new map based on the Capital of South Korea titled Seoul. Again, the game would continue on with development for a number of months, with private tests being held in late 2009. Final testing for the game was performed from January 6th to 8th of 2010. It would be another month before the game would finally be available for the public to play, officially opening its servers on February 18th, 2010.
A number of updates were made to the game during the time it was online. The game was first updated on March 3rd, 2010. Many of the updates would include new maps, cousins, and cosmetics for players to purchase. In July of 2010, a Practice Mode and Tutorial section was added for user convenience.
As with the original game, Katamari Damacy Online features the player rolling up items using a round ball known as a Katamari. However, certain gameplay features changed with the introduction of new game modes. Single Player maps featured three modes, titled "Quick Mode" "Great Mode" and "Special Mode". In Quick Mode, the player must attempt to make their Katamari reach its target size, while Great Mode simply has the player make the Katamari as large as possible. Both modes featured a time limit. In "Special Mode", players had to attach specific items to their Katamari in order to win.  In Multiplayer Mode, users could battle against each other one on one, or team up in groups of three to take down an opposing team. Up to six players could be hosted on Multiplayer maps. Multiplayer Mode shared the same three gameplay modes as the Single Player maps.
12 Single Player maps and 7 Multi-Player maps were available to the public during launch, with more added during later updates. Some single player and multiplayer maps were reused from older titles from the franchise, such as We Love Katamari.
As seen in gameplay videos, charging/dashing required a meter to be filled. This was most likely done for balancing purposes, as players could charge into others to knock off items from their Katamari.
New to the series was the introduction of items. Items could be used to aid the player during Single Player or Multiplayer Modes. Players could also express how they were feeling using the in-game chat, or by using different emoticon commands. There were 24 different emoticon commands available.
Players could purchase cousins using real or in-game currency, along with other items such as cosmetics used to customize your avatar and Katamari. Cousins and cosmetics also had different rarity levels. As stated previously, different cousins and cosmetic items were introduced through updates made to the game. Many cousins were playable exclusively to Katamari Damacy Online, and have not made an appearance since the game was discontinued. Mentions of in-game virtual pets and customizable ‘houses’ were made during early development, though it is unknown if they were added to the final game.
Between March and February of 2012, the game was shut down, and has remained unavailable to the public ever since. Because the game was only available to those in South Korea, players from other countries were never able to experience it firsthand. Thankfully, the game is very well documented online. Gameplay videos and official art has surfaced, giving us insight as to how the game would’ve played.
- Information on Katamari Damacy Online from the Katamari Damacy Wiki. Retrieved 29 Jun '20
- A Playlist featuring gameplay for Katamari Damacy Online. Retrieved 29 Jun '20
- News article providing information on the games release. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- A forum post detailing news about the games closure. Retrieved 25 Jun '20
- A news article from 2006 detailing rumors of the games announcement. Retrieved 25 Jun '20
- A news article from 4Gamer about the announcement of Katamari Damacy Online Retrieved 25 Jun '20
- A news article from 4Gamer about the games development. Retrieved 25 Jun '20
- Information on private tests being held before the games launch. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- More information on private tests held before the games launch. Retrieved 27 Jun '20
- Information about the final tests being performed on the game. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- Information on the March 2010 update to the game. Retrieved 27 Jun '20
- Information on the July 2010 update to the game. Retrieved 26 Jun '20
- A thorough analysis of the game written by a Private Tester. Retrieved 27 Jun '20
- A review of the game from 2009. Retrieved 27 Jun '20