Hello again and welcome to part two of my three part series on IP's. When I was doing my research for this series I couldn't help but look at what other writers thought would make good IP's for a MMO. While many of their thoughts confirmed what I was already thinking. There were a few suggestions that ,though sounded good at first, the more I thought about it the more I thought how in the heck would they develop that thing. The IP's that I will be discussing below fall into my "nightmare to develop" catagory. Now don;t get me wrong friends nothing would make me happier than to see a developer pick up the gauntlet and try and make any of these IP's into an ass kicking game, but something about these IP's make me cringe as I think it would be a true challenge to express the spirit of these IP's as well as create a fun game while doing it. Do note that all of the IP's that made this list were also mentioned by other writers in articles and blogs as IP's that they'd like to see made. So now that the stage is set here's my list of nightmare IP's.
Heroes tops my list of nightmare IP's for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is that it is popular now but it isn't known how much staying power the series really has. A studio could start making this game and before it's out the show is cancelled and a fond memory rather than a relevant IP. My second reason is simply one word: balance. The balance idea wil be a recurring theme throughout my list, but that's enough of that. Balancing a Heroes MMO I think would be a nightmare why you ask? Simple pretty much every one has one power. Now I know there's Peter and Siler, but let's be honest do you really think devs would allow ten thousand Siler/Peter clones to run around the game servers? Proabably not. So the only other choise is the one power heroes. One of the high points of the series is the unique powers that the characters possess, but to make the game work you'd have to blend figthing quests with quests of a different flavor in order to make it fun for all player powers. The other major issue would be balancing these powers if you'd hope to have any semblence of of PvP. On a good note this would be a great IP for grouping, but on the flipside it would be a hard game to make for today's more solo centered mmo's. In the end the cons outweigh the pros and I just can's see a studio try making this a mmo. Now the bright side of this is I think a studio could really truns this IP into a great series of single player games that could be a great mix of action and intellectual stimulation.
In my research I did not come a across a more requested IP than Frank Herbert's Dune. I myself in an earlier blog post about two years ago I think sited this as an MMO I would like ti see made as well. The more I think about the IP though the more I find it falling into the "nightmare to develop" catagory. Why you ask? Let me explain. The Dune universe is full of fantastic and exciting characters that we the fans would want to play. I don't want to be a plain soldier for one of the given Houses. I want to be an Imperial Sardauker, or perhaps a Swordmaster of Ginaz. For a different flavor maybe I'd like to be a Mentat Master Asassain or a Bene Gesserit Witch. Which brings me to our first issue. Dune is a world of factions fighting and plotting against one another for control of the spice. So the first issue to conquer is do you create a set of character classes that follow a more traditional role, and risk alienating your fan base, or do you allow the more epic character classes into the game from the beginning. And if you do allow these epic characters then we come back to our old friend balance. How would a fight between a Mentat and a Swordmaster of Ginaz be balanced or would it? Then we could debate on the role the Fremen would play in all of this and whether or not players should be allowed to learn the weirding way fighting style which for the unfamiliar would be like allowing jedi in SWG. Wouldn't everybody want a charatcer that could do that? Then of course we could argue about endgame would that be fighting over the planet Dune itself or look alittle different. In the end this IP is very intellegent and subtle in its approach and I personally believe it would be very tough to translate into a MMO.
The last IP on my list was quoted by a writer as "the mmo to end all mmo's" and he has a point. The RIFTS universe has it all literally, You can play practically anything in this PnP RPG. From a full conversion cyborg to a magic user to a dragon hatchling in the world of RIFTS anything goes. The back drop of this game is equally appealing as it is set on earth about 300 year un the future. The Earth has been ripped apart by dimensional rifts opening up which causes magic to reemerge, Atlantis to reappear, and a whole host of other fun stuff. It all boils down to a classic magic vs. machine conflict between the Coalition States and the magic using dimensional beng friendly Tolkeen. Sounds great right? I agree. Now here's where the nightmare IP thing comes inot play. Just in the main book alone there are about 30 different character classes that you could play, and I went ahead and cut out about 15 others. To include half of that number would be a balancing nightmare with people in power armor going up against mages, or dragon hatchlings fighting cyborgs there's just so much, and I didn't even include the vehicles. As a developer you'd have one heck of a time shaving down the number of character classes and to top that off there are few that are faction specific as well. Then we come to the geography of the game. You have all of North America to deal with, Mexico, Japan, Atlantis, Africa, and Europe all which have thier own unique storyline to contend with, and more character classes, I'm not saying you have to include all of this geography at launch and I'd be foolish to think that we could have an accurat map of a continent in an mmo, but you also can't run from Missouri to Minnesota in an evening as well even with a hoverbike that travels mach 2. I just see a developer loosing thier minds trying to trim this IP down into a mmo that would do this IP justice.
In the end are all of these MMO's possible? Yes. With enough of a budget, time, and the right talent any game is truly possible, and I for one would for sure like to see Dune and RIFTS made into mmo's. I just found these three to be of the most challenging to accomplish and deliver a fun game that does the IP justice. And I think when we hear of a new IP being created in the market that's the primary thing we want to see isn't it? A game that brings the world we know to life in a playable space all the while making us feel as if we were in it. As always feedback is welcome below.
Until Next Time.