IP of Choice

I read a lot of fiction, and the books I prefer tend to be the ones where whole worlds are created. It’s part of why I prefer to stick to a series as opposed to a one-shot novel. This draw is why I love Jordan’s Wheel of Time, and Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, and how I’m able to tolerate Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series (despite how terrible everything after book three is). Coincidently, as a fan of MMOs and video games in general, I spend a lot of time thinking about games, and what I would like out of my ultimate setting. So, a natural occurrence that arises from my affinity of the two mediums is a ponderance on what type of world from an existing setting I would like to play around in the most.

We see this type of creation frequently happen, an existing intellectual property gets cooped into video game format. My current MMO of choice and the raison d’être of my blog is a game with such roots. Warhammer: Age of Reckoning is obviously based on Games Workshop’s tabletop and fantasy setting. An existing IP isn’t a guaranteed success for any game, and the games frequently turn out to be terrible or readily as good. Look to the vast expanse of Star Wars games across all the various platforms for a clear evidence of this premise in action. Still, there’s a strong connection and appeal between the creation of a world in literature and to the creation of a world in virtual space. It may have to do with the groundwork being laid out for you, and the ability to hit the ground running in terms of framework and concept. If the literary work is popular, you have a bonus with a built-in initial fan-base that is likely to at lease partake in the initial sales.

So, as I do every night, I finished my evening off with reading whatever at home novel I’m currently working on (for posterity’s sake: at home I read one novel, and at work another during my lunch hour). This month, I picked up Dune, having lost my old copy somewhere in the nine moves I’ve had during the last 10 years. Reading the book, I remember the movies, the old bad (but still a cult classic and favorite I have), and the new good (SyFy does them right), and I remember a Dune-based MUD I used to play, and I think back to the scattering of console games made around the series, and I wonder why it they are almost universally RTS games, and it has never made it to MMO space.

To me, this seems like the natural world to take into MMO gaming. It has a depth and history that vast and deep, a series of novels that spans thousands of years across the books. It brings with it a world-wide fan base that will help support initial sales. For both PvE and PvP the game has incredible potential. Obviously, I skew towards the potential PvP aspect of various houses waging war on each other. The biggest concern for making such a game would be the potential for a too-expansive scope, which is problematic in most Science Fiction, multi-world spanning properties. The design team would need to be conscious of this and actively work to keep the game from spinning out of control into the realm of un-manageability. A simple universe of a few planets with a handful of “zones” each. or even better, each planet be a seemless series of zones (but that’s a different conversation). Control of each planet could be given to a ruler of a house (guild) based on some type of resource collection or PvE activity. Planetary control could increase provide benefits like weapons, transportation, monetary incetivization (I swear that’s a word), or any other slew of bonuses. Players of the same race would compete internally for control from week to week (or month to month), and the there would be competition across planets, perhaps even potential occupation and seizure by invading forces. Really, the possibilities for a game based on the IP would be huge, it would need to be focused and narrowed to find the place where it would fit, but thinking about it gets my juices revving.

So, if you had a choice, what IP would you like to romp around in? Have you given thought to how you would implement it or how viable it would be? I’d love to hear the favorite playgrounds of everyone else out there.

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About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

10 Responses to IP of Choice

  1. Silverel says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the LEXX universe (http://www.hulu.com/lexx) turned into an MMO, if only for all the kooky shit that happens. The series would easily exploit endless space exploration with story based encounters. Although I’m not really sure how the MMO part would fit in.

    Or the Call of Cthulu series, some early 1900’s steampunk horror would be fun if done right. Would definitely work well for instanced story telling (as more and more “MMO’s” are leaning towards anyway) while keeping players tied together in common urban landscapes to mingle. Different cities for different levels of gameplay and influence. Mmm… tentacles. =D

  2. theerivs says:

    The Spice must Flow.

    I loved the old movie, it was real good on the drug of your choice back in the day.

    As for IP’s I love, Yeah Call of Cthulu would be awesome. I’m thinking a Marvel Universe MMO (sorta like DC, but I am a huger fan of the Marvel Universe)

    I would really like a 5 rings (A japanese theme based RPG) MMO, or basically a Medieval based Japanese MMO, with samurai, ninjas, wizards, demons, and other cool stuff.

    • shadowwar says:

      When I was in high-school, I worked at a Blockbuster. The store manager was Chinese and told me that the reasons why you see vampires in the movies constantly jumping around was because in their ancient lore, vampires could not walk, and so hopped everywhere.

      Asians are crazy yo!

      I agree with you both, Cthulu could be interesting, I’d just be a bit worried that everyone would permanently die in the first couple hours just like the Pencil & Paper campaigns always did. Still, 1900’s steampunk horror would be a great new theme!

  3. Rikker says:

    Heh, I really enjoyed Sword of Truth, though to be fair I never got around to Wheel of Time. Then again, I tend fairly Objectivist, so that may play a part.

    Indeed, the spice must flow. Would be a very good MMO, provided, as you said, it was narrowed sufficiently.

    Also, I have to agree with you that the second version is much, much better than the first.

    As for other worlds… I’d have to get back to you on that one.

    • shadowwar says:

      Dont’ get me wrong, the ideology of Sword of Truth I could get behind. the deterent for me was the constant barrage of said ideaology intermingled in with overtly-repetitive rehashings of established world ideas and events, coupled with writing that grated on my nerves in general.

  4. Attic says:

    My first pick would have to be Warhammer 40k, it’s a lovely setting. Big enough and with lots of undefined time periods and sections of the galaxy that you can pretty much justify anything. Though I’m split on if pulling inspiration primarily from the wargame or from Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/Death Watch would make for a better game. I’ve always felt that Mythic should have aimed for more of a WFRP angle; but I digress.

    After 40k two IPs immediately spring to mind with varying levels of enthusiasm: Shadowrun and the World of Darkness. Shadowrun brings to mind stealing the corp/economic game from EVE coupled with a Gears of War/GTA style ground game. Sounds like a blast imo.

    On the other hand we have WoD, which is similarly rich in mineral awesomeite but also has it’s fair share of problems. Like, do you use the old or new games as a base? Do you only use the three main settings: Vampire, Mage, & Werewolf? Or spread out into the likes of Changeling, Geist/Wraith, Hunter, & Promethean? I’m afraid the logical choices that most developers would make here would fill me with a righteous nerdrage.

    Come to think of it, I’m believe that something like Exalted, Aberrant, or Scion would be much better White Wolf properties to use. But since I’m rambling now I won’t go into any sort of depth there.

    • Rikker says:

      Concur. Exalted would make a great MMO. Might lose a bit of the “cool” factor due to more structure, but it would be a great world to be in.

  5. Rer says:

    I really want, but would also be very fearful, of a Mass Effect MMO.

    It would either be *f-in’ fantastic* or completely ruin the series. I’d certainly be a rough undertaking, but pulling it off would be amazing.

  6. Domorak says:

    I’d love to see a BattleTech/MechWarrior MMO. Nothing beats walking around i a ginormous fully customizable war machine! Well until then ill just have to stick with mw4, and hope mw5 is done soon.

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