The fantasy-themed, massively multiplayer online game genre will get a tad more crowded next summer. According to Shacknews, game studio Star Vault has announced a new MMO dubbed Mortal Online that will tap Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 and feature some novel gameplay concepts.
Shacknews reports that players will explore the apparently Lord of the Rings-style universe of Mortal Online from a first-person perspective, and that the game will center on player-versus-player combat. Instead of World of Warcraft-style leveling, players will earn new abilities through a "skill tree" that will dispense some skills automatically over time while requiring a certain amount of experience for others.
If you're interested in checking out Star Vault's work so far, Shacknews has posted a trailer and some concept art. Mortal Online has apparently been in development since 2002, although the project "really took off" in 2005. Star Vault expects to be done in the summer of 2009.