I always enjoy getting into conversations and reading articles about what IP's people think would make a great MMO. I find the subject matter even more interesting now that we are seeing a surge in the Super-Hero and Sci-Fi categories of MMO's that our currently in production or soon coming to store shelves. It seems or at least I hope that developers have realized that it is far better to create thier own niche rather than attempt to copy or infringe on the success of another. My hope is that we will continue to see different and exciting new genres emerge in to the MMO market over the next few years and it is with that in mind that my first of this three part series will be focused on some genres that we have yet to see in the MMO market , but I think would make excellent games for us to play. So without further adieu here's the list.
Magic and Machine
With all of the new Sci-FI titles soon to emerge into the market we will soon see that genre saturated much like the Fantasy genre in MMO's. The thought I keep having though is that a company could definitely create thier own niche in the market by mixing the two together, and in my opinion there is no better IP out there that accomplishes this than:
With its post modern setting of mega-corprations and technology mixed with the return of magic Shadowrun is the perfect blend of magic meets machine. I like to think of Shadowrun as Tolkein meets the Terminator in terms of character creation. Let's say you want to make an elven mage no problem. Now lets say you want to take that pointy eared tree hugger and jack them full of cybernetics and turn them into a katana/machine gun weilding delaer of death can do. Not to mention humans, orc, trolls, and dwarves are also playable races in the game. Players can take on challenges from hacking into the computer matrix with a character class known as a decker or drop a dragon with a rocket launcher or conjured power ball. All of which just sounds like pure fun to me.
Modern Day Fantasy
Although we have a ton of MMO's set in the medieval times wouldn't it be nice to have a more of a modern day fantasy setting. Fun Com seems to be delving into this a little with their new title "The Secret World" but I have to think there is room for more than one especially with FunCom's performance in their latest MMO entry. Though it would be fun to run around in a familiar modern fantasy world, and the one I have a real hankerin to run around in is:
Harry Potter I think would make a great mmo. The magical world that is Harry Potter's is absolutely fascinating to me at least, and I think it would be a blast to run around in. Now I'm not saying put the whole thing in Hogwart's maybe the front fourth of the game and then let us explore the world as an adult after we have graduated school. Give us the opportunity to dabble in the dark arts and we could get some great PvP between rival orders. The greatest part is you wouldn't even need the main charcters in it if you didn't want them just the instructors at the school and some mainstays in the grown-up world. You could even get the side game of quidditch which would be a blast in it's own right. Besides if the franchise has enough name recognition for a theme park then it has to have enough clout to enter the mmo market.
I think there would be definite room for a covert ops type military based mmo. Not the open conflict like Planetside, but more of a secret war with assaults to control maybe quest hubs or something of that nature. You'd need a good advesarial IP without really involving any named countries or the such and how could you go wrong using:
GI Joe vs Cobra the idea just sounds like a blast. Make your soldier specialize them in whatever and give them their kick ass callsign I think we would see some very original Joes and Cobras. Then take that guy and try to stop Cobra's nefarious plot or try to further it you choose. This IP just screams PvP to me as both sides could fight for objesctives which could open up quests or upgrade gear or what have you. The right studio could really make this a heck of a game to play. Oh and I forgot to mention what about vehicles that would be a fun addition to any PvP battleground.
I have read a fair share of articles that mention the need for a western themed mmo, and I can't blame them. For me this is the most obvious of niches that could really be successful in todays MMO market. Now I'm not talking some "how the west was won" type of mmo, but more of the weird western like the "Wild Wild West" with all of the cool steampunk machinations. Now my first thought was "The Wild Wild West", but I thought that was a little gimmicky with the movie and all. So instead I chose:
Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with Deadlands let me paint you a picture real quick.
Imagine that it is 1876 in the US wild west. The Civil War ended with the South successfully seceeding from the union. An Indian shaman has performed an acient ritual and unleashed evil forces on the earth that live off of human fear. Half of California is now in the ocean and the rest is comprised of canyons of water. Miners unearth a new fuel known as ghost rock which fuels the development of steampunk technology. You are in a party consisting of a Lawman, a card playing sorcerer that gambles with spirits, an Indian warrior, a wandering evangelist who can perform healing miracles, and a mad scientist. You are tasked with clearing out a town that is over run with zombie gunfighters....
And that is just a quick overview of the Deadlands. What I really like about this IP is that you get the wild west and undead type of genres mixed together which could attract fans of both genres. The character classes are original and well thought out, and the steampunk technology is inventive like the gatlin shotgun for example. If a studio did this right I think this genre and IP would be very successful in the MMO market.
Well there you have it for part one. Congratulation you made it. I am curious what you think so far and if there is a genre you think I missed feel free to comment below. In part two I'll be discussing some IP's that may sound good but could be a nightmare to develop properly.
Until Next Time