Unsurprisingly set on a terraformed Mars, Blue Mars seems highly focused on the community and customization aspects of MMOs, with avatar creation mentioned prominently in all the game's press releases. It will be demonstrated at this week's E for All Expo in Los Angeles.
Heading up Avatar Reality are Kazuyuki Hashimoto, CG supervisor on Square's Final Fantasy VII (PS, PC) and more recently technology VP for new platforms at Electronic Arts, and Li-han Chen, formerly of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within production company Square Pictures and more recently project manager on Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest II.
Interestingly, Avatar Reality's advisory board is made up of three figures crucial to the early success of Nintendo: Henk Rogers (listed on the company's site as "mastermind"), who notoriously secured the original rights to Tetris after befriending designer Alexey Pajitnov and went on to found The Tetris Company; Minoru Arakawa, the first president of Nintendo of America, who helped establish the initially floundering branch; and Tetris creator Pajitnov himself, who went on to co-found The Tetris Company with Rogers.
Blue Moon is planned to enter a beta phase in late 2008.