On August 20th of this year, Disney’s Toontown Online members were alerted via email that the 3D Massively Multiplayer Online Game was set to close in exactly one month. In response, fans everywhere took to the internet to share their woes.
Toontown Rewritten is the response initiative, firing up a private server version of the game that fans are so desperate for. The team consists of 16 people, which call themselves “super-duper fans”, including web developers, graphic designers, composers, and “translators”, all of whom were well-acquainted on a Toontown-related website back in 2010. Each member operates from his own home, volunteering all contributions in both labor and funds, which come from the team’s own pockets.
Joey, dubbed “Sir Max”, is the community manager and team lead on the project. According to him, the entire project was born of a single Reddit post. Sir Max told me, “I honestly cannot tell you who made the post, nor what it said, that post is what started this whole thing, however.”
Though no one person is “in charge”, Sir Max schedules the updates and keeps everyone informed of what’s happening, while Sam, dubbed “Shockley”, is the team’s lead developer.
#toontownps, which was linked in that first Reddit post, was the original IRC (Internet Relay Chat) where “Too Many Secrets” joined Sir Max and his friend Jeremy, dubbed “Fat McStink”, who all originally started brainstorming the project. Two weeks later, the team was assembled and the project was underway.
The project, then called “Toonpulse”, quickly fell apart, however. Sir Max said, “Our main focus was to get Toontown back as soon as possible. We didn’t care about anything except for that. This quickly became a problem, however, as our code was very messy and not built to last.”
The public was watching closely with raised expectations and impatience. “The public eye on our project was getting way larger than we wanted,” Sir Max said. “There was only one thing that we could do to get the project back on track: to kill it. We got together in a second channel and began organizing a way to fake our own death.”
#toontownps was abandoned by the team, Toonpulse was destroyed, and Toontown Rewritten rose from its ashes. “The difference between Toonpulse and Toontown Rewritten was that we were no longer trying to restore Disney’s game as quickly as possible. Instead, we were trying to not only restore it, but essentially refurbish it. We wanted this game to be built to last, and that is exactly what we are doing.”
The team will be collecting no profit, as they believe the game’s credit is still 100% Disney’s. “Whether it is legal or not, I don’t want to make any money off of Toontown Rewritten,” Sir Max said. “Disney originally owned this game, and they deserve all credit for it. We are doing nothing but volunteering to let Toontown stay open a little while longer.”
These “super-duper fans” remain loyal to Disney, as they stand by the company’s decision to close the game. According to Sir Max, the game has been rife with hacking for years, and was going through some tough times. The latest major new area update to the game was made in 2008. Jesse Schell, the father of ToonTown, is pushing for a future for ToonTown and Sir Max, for one, hopes he succeeds.
“I don’t hold any grudges against Disney,” he said.
Sir Max doesn’t believe Disney is acting like an evil Cog in shutting down the game, but are in the way they did it. “Toontown was supposed to end with trumpets and confetti. Instead, all I see is ablack and white page that bears a very similar resemblance to a cog’s typewriter.”
The team plans to let their version of the game run as long as possible. “We’re all in this for the long run… we are designing Toontown Rewritten to last.”
Though the game will be nearly identical to Disney’s original game, Toontown Rewritten will contain all new content, as well. The first new update will drop before the end of Alpha.
As long as the game is in Alpha testing, the team is allowing small amounts of the community in at a time with their Alpha Keys project. Daily contests are held to hand out these keys. “Every step of the way, we want the community to be by our side,” Sir Max said. “Even if they are by our side, though, we can’t let them all come in game at once when there is nothing to do but play one simple minigame.”
Sir Max said that the team will, of course, be playing the game. “We already have our “Toon Trooper” characters to run around and interact with the players, along with anonymous toons that we use to sit back and enjoy the game just like any other player.
There is no set date for the official release of the game to the public, but the game looks to be well worth the wait.
I, for one, can’t wait for Toontown Rewritten to be released, and I encourage all Disney lovers to check it out.
Site [Toontown Rewritten]