#3 Tabula Rasa
Watching this game struggle so heavily after launch was a painful experience. While I know that a lot of people may have seen it coming, I was quietly hoping that this one might be able to turn it around. It wasn't because I thought the gameplay was something totally spectacular, in the end it wasn't. It tried to be too many different kinds of game and didn't manage any of it at 100%. No, it wasn't the gameplay that had me rooting for this game, it was the story.
First, I have to say that I'm an absolute sucker for anything post-apocayptic. Give me earthquakes, nuclear wars, natural disasters or, as was the case with Tabula Rasa, alien invasions, and I'm a happy camper.
I remember the intro video for RGTR that showed their main character, you know... the girl from the box art, and what happened with the alien invasion and how their world got turned upside down and she ended up in the middle of a war. It actually told a pretty decent story.
If you really stop to think about it, the mish-mash of different elements that helped Tabula Rasa fail as a game could actually work as a movie. Humans, driven from their homeland, develop the ancient powers of Logos, the only power that will allow them to efficiently fight back against their alien oppressors.
I'd picture the movie quite a bit like Starship Troopers in its look, but with a deeper story behind it. This one, I think, could actually work.
Visuals to look forward to: A ruined Earth, sleekly-dressed humans wielding guns and Logos powers, exotic planets... Should be fun.
#2 Warhammer Online
Say what you will about the game, but the IP that it's based on is one of the most well known and enduring fantasy franchises of all time and rather than go with the franchise's current incarnation, the powers that be over at Games Workshop and Mythic decided that it would be best to set their MMO in a new era, known as the Age of Reckoning.
The Age of Reckoning itself is already well set up for a classic good guys vs. bad guys RvR war story and I can't think of a better candidate for a dark, gritty, action-packed fantasy film. Sure, you'd have to spend some time setting up the backstory, but the real money in this film would have to be in its large-scale, brutal, bloody combats.
So, with that in mind, if the Warcraft movie does well, and Hollywood actually does set its sights on the MMO industry for some new cinematic ideas, Warhammer is probably the first place their going to look. After all, it's a recognizable name that looks a lot like its more popular predecessor.
Visuals to look forward to: Honestly, I would hope that if a Warcraft movie were ever made, especially if it were to be set in the Age of Reckoning, that the main character be a Witch Hunter. They're just way too cool a visual to pass up. Hollywood has tried to use the basic visual archetype before (damn you Van Helsing), but never with Games Workshop's classic gritty nature. The real beauty of Warhammer is that, in one way or another, everyone is a bad guy. No shiny white-knight heroes here.
#1 EVE Online
Above all others, I'd love to see a movie, series of movies, or ideally maybe one of those new-fangled HBO mini-series made out of EVE's New Eden universe.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I really respect what the developers at CCP are trying to do with their franchise. Having had a number of opportunities to hear different CCP mucky-mucks speak, I get the idea that the developers are trying to create an interactive sci-fi simulator. I also see how they're trying to make that happen: by fleshing out bits and pieces of their universe at a time, letting their players have their interactions, further moulding it and fleshing it out and slowly expanding.
Honestly, I don't know if that all would have been enough to put this game at the top of this particular list for me. The honest truth is that, in doing research for this article, I came across the EVE-based Machinima Clear Skies. Using EVE Online footage and Halflife 2 fotage, the makers of this particular short film were able to string together a comprehensive and enjoyable story that took place in the dark and gritty EVE universe. Even to someone who doesn't play, like myself, the game concepts were easy to understand and the filmmakers spent little to no time at all explaining the universe. It wasn't necessary.
Not to take anything away from the Machinima filmmakers, quite the contrary, but I think that having seen their work, I can only imagine that some kind of professional cinematic treatment of EVE's universe could be science fiction gold. You've got heavy action, you've got gritty realism, you've got political machinations and you have it all in a human-centric sci-fi skin.
Visuals to look forward to: Massive ship battles, gritty humans doing gritty things to survive, did I mention massive ship battles?