Development and Beta
Unlike many Neopets initiatives, users were able to get small glimpses of the game as it was developed and user feedback was collected.
Want to offer some feedback on game design concept art? Take this Survey!
From New Features, August 28, 2020
The three tilesets survey respondents were asked to choose between, and their inspiration
NetDragon 1H2020 Investor Report
The same day that the first survey went out, at their first-half 2020 report to investors, NetDragon (the parent company of JumpStart) included "Neopets Match-3" as one of several initiatives in their "new game launch strategy" for the Neopets IP.
The strategy included both released initiatives (Neopets.com; Island Builders) and unreleased initiatives (Match-3; Neopets TV; Neopets Mobile)
NetDragon 2020 Year-End Investor Report
Several months later, at their 2020 year-end report to investors on March 25, 2021, NetDragon announced their plans to release a "Neopets Match-3" game with a tentative launch of Q4 2021.
NetDragon first announced a tentative release date in March 2021, alongside Island Builders
In July 2021, almost one year after the first survey, TNT shared a second survey. This survey included questions relating to gaming habits & interests, gaming systems, and feelings on match-3 style games.
Heads up Neopians, we want to hear from you! Click here to fill out a quick survey about your Neopets experience. Share your thoughts and suggestions today to help us make Neopia the very best it can be!
From New Features, July 23, 2021
NetDragon 1H2021 Investor Report
At their first-half 2021 report to investors on August 26, 2021, NetDragon shared a very brief preview of the game alongside developing games from their other IPs.
The preview featured early artwork of a costumed Shimmy
Facebook Page Launch
On December 8, 2021, a Facebook page titled "Movie Town Match" was created for the game. However, the page was not announced anywhere and did not gather any followers until after the start of the closed beta, where it was linked to in-app.
The original Facebook profile picture featured a highly-stylized Shimmy
The original Facebook cover photo featured holiday decorations, a well-furnished studio, a Neopets fountain, and Lania!
On January 5, 2022, the JumpStart Games Facebook page began running two different ads with a form embedded to sign up for the closed beta test of the game. Ad transparency information from Facebook showed that JumpStart targeted people who were 18+, in the United States, and demonstrated interest in puzzle games or other popular match-3 apps.
One ad featured the player faerie, while the other featured Jelena
On January 8, 2022, information on participating in the beta was sent out to all users who had filled out the form in one of the ads. All participants were invited to both iOS beta via TestFlight and Android beta via the Google Play store.
An excerpt of the TestFlight invite
The Google Play store included the following description of the game:
If there is a thing that carries happy childhood memories, it must include Neopets - a virtual pet game running across Europe and America for 21 years.
Based on stories of Neopets, Neopia Studio Match3 is a match-3 game that brings you to a fantastic world, where you can run your Neopia Studio, experience wonderful dreamland, and solve match-3 puzzles. Let’s grow together with adorable Neopets and fix their special inner worlds!
1. Unique Match-3 Levels: Thousands of levels and fascinating puzzles like collecting Pixie Bottles and completing Portraits, making the matching more interesting!
2. Dreamland: Get immersed in healing stories and explore special inner worlds to bring happiness back!
3. Adorable Neopets: Those familiar characters are back for a fresh start. Beat match-3 levels to collect them!
4. Pet Appearances: Tons of impressive options for you to customize your pet’s appearance!
5. 3D Levels: The distinctive 3D levels will give you a totally different Match-3 experience!
If you have any problems or suggestions, please contact us by sending an email to email@example.com
The game was available for playtesting immediately. The closed beta included 200 studio levels, 50 Dreamworld levels, the first 4 stages of Neopia Studio, and the Lonely Dance story of the Dreamworld.
The Neopia Studio app icon
The beta test version of the app included an opportunity to fill out a questionnaire. The questionnaire button would disappear after submitting, but would reappear if the app was closed and reopened, and so could be submitted any number of times. The questions were:
- Have you ever played the webgame Neopets?
- In the past 6 months, which genres of games did you often play on mobile/tablet?
- Which of the following mobile puzzle games have you played?
- What made you want to try Neopia Studio?
- Please rate your satisfaction with Neopia Studio.
- Please choose the reasons of being satisfied/dissatisfied with Neopia Studio.
- How do you like the art style of Neopia Studio?
- How do you like the gameplay of scene decoration in Neopia Studio?
- How do you like the designs of the Neopets in Neopia Studio?
- Which of the following art styles do you prefer?
- Do you have any other expectations or suggestions?
- What is your gender?
- How old are you?
- What is your occupation?
- In the past 6 months, how much did you spend on mobile games every month?
Android Early Access
On January 22, 2022, an "early access" version was released in the Google Play store. This version was still labelled as a beta, and players were told progress would be cleared prior to the app's actual release. There were no changes or differences between the closed beta version and open access version.
*This build is for the first data-deleted beta testing of Neopia Studio, we will delete all datas after the testing is over, thanks for your participation and understanding.*
At some point in mid-February 2022, the app ceased working for all users on all platforms. When opening the app, it would crash partway through the loading screen, displaying a message that the device was not connected to the internet. The iOS TestFlight Beta officially expired on March 31, 2022, at which time the app could not even be opened.
On the morning of April 13, 2022, the early access version of Neopia Studio was removed from the Google Play store. That same day, an overhauled version of the game, rebranded as Faerie's Hope was released to players in the original closed beta group on Android only.
The Faerie's Hope app icon
Starting April 16, 2022, a message was presented to player's on the future of the beta (shown below; all typos are from the original text) when opening the app. Players were unable to proceed to the game after seeing this message.
Hi, Dear Neofriends, Firstly thanks for your like and feedbacks to the Faerie's Hope build. But now is the Closed Beta Test, we will shut down the server and delete all datas at 0:00 April 18th (UTC-7). Please don't purchase at game now. Then we will start the Open Beta Test at 19:00 April 20th (UTC-7) on Googleplay and ios Testflight, some additional rewards will sent to all players participated in the Closed Beta Test. Thanks for all your support and we will provide a better game expeirence
Close Server Time: 0:00 April 18th (UTC-7).
Servers: All servers
If you encounter any problems in the game, you can also contact us through the following methods. firstname.lastname@example.org
On April 19th, 2022, the app returned to TestFlight for all users of the original closed beta test. While the app could be downloaded, players still could not proceed past the message above.
On the morning of April 21st, 2022, the game became accessible again on both iOS and Android. Further, beta test participation was reopened to the public: users could opt in using a link provided in an email message or from the official Neopets Twitter. This sign-up period was only available for an unspecified "limited time." Further, Android access was restricted to Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, UK, and US.
Over the next ~6 months, the Beta version of the app received several updates:
- July 18, 2022: "Negg Tree" limited event, among other minor changes
- September 11, 2022: "Summer Party" limited event, among other minor changes
- November 10, 2022: "Fyora's Cup" limited event, among other minor changes
The exact name has been a bit nebulous; it is possible it has not yet been finalized. During the original version of the game, it had different names in different places:
- The Facebook page calls it "Movie Studio Match"
- The TestFlight entry calls it "Neopets Match"
- The iOS beta app calls it "Neopia Studio Match3"
- The Android beta app calls it "Neopia Studio (Early Access)"
After the rebranding to Faerie's Hope, different names still persisted:
- The original Facebook page remained "Movie Studio Match"
- The TestFlight entry remained "Neopets Match"
- The iOS and Android beta apps both changed to "Neopets Fearies's Hope" (the inverted a/e is presumably a typo)
- A new Facebook page titled "Neopets: Faerie's Hope" was created in June 2022.
Upon official release, both the iOS and Android versions of the game were titled "Neopets Faerie's Hope".
On December 1, 2022, TNT announced in the monthly newsletter an official launch date of December 15, 2022.
To promote this release, on December 5 TNT launched a social engagement competition on Gleam, where engaging with the Neopets brand in various ways earned you entries into a Neocash giveaway. At the conclusion of the contest on December 19, three winners will be randomly selected to win one of 20,000, 10,000, or 5,000 Neocash.