It's been 4 years since Neopets has had a presence at Comic-Con (an annual gathering "comic" fans—but has since grown to include a huge variety of "fandoms"), and this year Neopets went all out! They were set up on the convention floor at booth #5566 (for Comic-Con badge holders only), and they also hosted a small after party event outside of the convention for any Neopets players who wanted to join.
The After Party
For the first time, Jumpstart hosted a small after party event for Neopians to hang out and mingle with TNT. The event included snacks and drinks (you had to be 21+ to join), along with a photo booth area, Neopets props, and swag bags.
To get into the party, you had to pre-purchase a ticket for $15 before the event, and those tickets sold out very quickly. Due to the demand, a last minute standby line was announced and those that showed up were able to eventually enter and meet with TNT.
Our very own Perry was able to attend the party and has a firsthand rundown of all the details!
Here are a few shots of the decor seen around the party!
Everyone that Perry talked to iterated that the goal for having an outreach event like this is to begin connecting more with the Neopets community. Every staff member Perry had the opportunity to chat with emphasized that it is a big priority for Jumpstart to interact more and develop the community—which is great news in our opinion, and something a lot of Neopians will enjoy!
Jumpstart also wasn't expecting the response they received to the event. They mentioned multiple times that they would like to do this again, and be sure to have a larger venue to accommodate more Neopians who may wish to join, including possibly having an outdoor venue for even more space. (From what we've seen for this party, though, everyone who showed up was able to get in, both ticketed and standby Neopians!)
The Neopets players at the event were a diverse crowd; men and women of various ages and appearance, and everyone was psyched to be there.
In addition, there were programmers, artists, marketers and developers mingling and chatting with attendees.
During the party, Dark Lord spent some time making a few big announcements to the crowd:
- Neopets Legends & Letters is the new mobile app that they were debuting at Comic Con. There's no firm release date yet, but they're aiming for Q4 (October - December) of this year.
- A new mobile friendly website is coming for Neopets, projected to be released after Legends & Letters.
- Another new app is currently in development (no official title yet) that was described as a "Neopian world building" game.
More details on each of those announcements below! In addition, of particular note is the fact that Key Quest was announced as formally planned to return, but as a mobile app. We expect this to be a new experience built from the ground up.
Neopets Legends & Letters
The star of the after party was Neopets Legends & Letters, the new mobile app that Jumpstart has been developing for Neopets. This is a completely new mobile app that has been developed from the ground up, specifically building from Neopets lore using Neopets characters. (Compared to Ghoul Catchers, which was a re-skinned version of an older game Jumpstart produced.)
The game has been described by TNT as "Scrabble meets Neopets battling." In other words, it'll be a word puzzle game. There will be power-ups to help you get through levels, and there will also be various stories to accompany the gameplay, but those are still in development.
App title screen, courtesy of @bonkish
The mobile game is stand-alone; it will link to your Neopets account but won't use your particular Neopets. (It wasn't feasible to make the wide variety of existing pet types work with the game art—of which there are thousands.)
The game currently does not have a set release date, but Jumpstart is aiming to get it done by Q4 2018 (aka some time between October and December). During his announcements, Dark Lord acknowledged that JumpStart has had some bumps with Neopets releases, and said that there would be "no releasing a product until it's ready."
There was also an animated promo video on loop at the event. Here's a recorded video of that promo video:
Video courtesy of khanhm666
There was also some concept art flashing by on another screen:
Mobile Friendly Website
Details are sparse on this one, but Jumpstart is planning on releasing a mobile-friendly version of Neopets.com. Again, this doesn't have a hard set release date yet, but they're planning on releasing it after Legends & Letters gets released.
The old (currently existing) website isn't going away, and they are hoping to update as many of the existing Flash games as possible, focusing on the most popular ones first. Dark Lord acknowledged that not all games could or would be easily converted to a mobile form, however.
Annual events like Daily Dare and Altador Cup will also continue. As many as possible will be included in the mobile version.
It sounds like this website will run in tandem with the existing Neopets.com website, so we'll need to wait and see what actually happens. (Converting a website to be mobile friendly is hard, especially one that's nearly two decades old.)
Neopets World Builder Game
Again, not too many details on this announced game either. However, Perry described the game as Sim City-like in that you'll be building various worlds themed on existing Neopian worlds. (We've also seen it described by other attendees as similar in concept to Disney's Magic Kingdoms mobile app.)
There was no stated release date for this app, but it's currently in active development with its own team of developers and producers. (In other words, different TNT staff members than those working on the Neopets.com website and those working on Legends & Letters!)
There are currently about 5 or 6 of the more popular Neopian worlds set in production to be in the game.
All together, they now have four separate development teams working on Neopets content. One to fix and maintain the existing website; one to work on the new mobile-friendly version of the website; one working on Legends & Letters; and a fourth (based in Vancouver, Canada) working on the Neopets world builder game.
Party attendees also received their very own real-life Mystery Capsule, which included:
- A Neopets-branded lunch bag
- A pack of gummy bears (Perry says: Sadly, not Gummy Hissis)
- A plastic Neopets-branded cup
- A Faerie Kacheek notepad or Neopets pen
- A Blue Vandagyre plushie (the first of its kind!)
- And, a VIP welcome letter
And here's a close up of the VIP letter:
The Future of Neopets
Based on conversations Perry had with Hip-Hop Queen and Dark Lord, Jumpstart really wants to push Neopets to new heights. The acquisition of Jumpstart by NetDragon last year has been good for Neopets, as they have been very supportive of developing the Neopets brand. (From Jellyneo's perspective, this also seems to line up with around the time we noticed an increased push in new content and more Neocash items.)
Hip-Hop Queen said that her vision is for the Jumpstart marketing team to build off of interactions with the Neopets fanbase; good marketing should be dynamically informed by the players' feedback and interaction. And as we mentioned above, based on the reaction to this Comic-Con event, they would really like to have more events in the future in bigger venues.
They also want to fix up loose ends and work on their quality control. Hip-Hop Queen envisions developing an online community where the focus moves away from fixing tickets, and she hopes that we players are seeing their efforts to get the negative issues like tickets cleared up more quickly so the focus can be more on positive interactions.
To wrap it up, Hip-Hop Queen summed up her goal as "trying to make mass changes with the community to push things for the better." This theme of developing the community was echoed by every Jumpstart employee that Perry spoke with, and was clearly their collective goal for the event.
Odds and Ends
A few Neopians brought along their very own fanart to share, and Perry received this pretty cool looking sticker from vlembrane:
This year, Jumpstart was set up at Booth #5566 in the convention hall. Unlike the party, this area was only accessible to those who had a Comic-Con badge, which are very difficult to obtain. (They sell out in record times each year.)
Like the party, the booth was set up to advertise the new Legends & Letters app and allow Neopets fans to mingle and chat with the Neopets staff. The booth also shared space with School of Dragons, one of Jumpstart's other games. (Based on the How to Train Your Dragon movie franchise.)
This year, blink_darkphoenix was able to get onto the convention floor and snap a few photos for us!
Here's what blink_darkphoenix had to say about this year's booth:
The overall booth was similar to 2014's event, showcasing the same papercraft and providing a photobooth, but with a bit more emphasis on Neopets as well as School of Dragons. Video promos of Legends & Letters, a general video of Neopets itself, and some School of Dragons were shown. Jade, Hip-Hop Queen, and Jumpstart's creative director (currently an unnamed TNT'er) were all in the booth.
The photobooth was basically the prominent feature for the booth along with the virtual codes. There were five selections (three School of Dragons and two Neopets) with the two being Mystery Island and Haunted Woods/Neovia themed.
They gave out virtual prize codes for both School of Dragons and Neopets. They put out three to four at a time at the front while putting the rest in the back due to an incident from previous days. They also scanned the badges so only one per attendee. They also gave out Vandagyre and SoD Plushies to us as a small token for taking the time. However, the plushies weren't given out to everyone. If asked or just had a passion to chat with them, they were willing to give them out.
And here are some photos of the booth set up:
Thanks again to blink_darkphoenix for the booth photos!
This article was written by: JN Staff