5 games that deserve a decent MMO
Last week we explored Star Wars: The Old Republic, the latest MMO set in a galaxy far, far away, examining whether it could ever live up to the hype that BioWare have created around it, some people saying it is little more than Knights of the Old Republic online. This week I’ve been playing a few games that have got me thinking about what other well-loved and well-respected titles could handle an MMO spin-off.
Now, there are a few specific points about the MMO that have brought the following games to the forefront of my mind while writing this article. Firstly, most MMOs are open world and allow for a great degree of exploration and discovery, a trait shared by every game I’ve listed below. But more than that, these are games that have captured the imagination of millions, creating not only a living breathing universe, but a living breathing universe which you wouldn’t hesitate to be a part of.
I haven’t included Mass Effect, despite it being an ideal candidate. This is mainly down to the fact that it would just be a little too similar to The Old Republic at this point. Feel free to berate me for this decision in the comments.
Shenmue was a classic, as was its sequel. It introduced a whole range of gameplay which nobody had ever really seen before in one place and it wrapped it all up into a nice little Sega-branded ball. Don’t forget the sometimes hilarious voice acting: “Please don’t bother me now, I’m tired. Perhaps I’ll talk with you tomorrow?”
Also, a special mention must be made of the school girls on the side of the road as you enter Dobuita. Even a decade on I cringe in fear every time I speak to them, despite the fact they may actually be the nicest NPCs in Dobuita, alongside the gang members outside the bar at the back (“Do you know who you’re talking to,” will probably rank in the list of greatest over-reactions ever.)
The whole world, despite its general unfriendliness, screams MMO to me. There’s plenty to do, loads of people to interact with and even a monster choice of potential micro-transactions to make.
There has actually been an attempt at a Shenmue MMO before and, in keeping with the series’ long standing tradition, it was almost silently cancelled after building excitement for years. Shenmue Online was to be a continuation of the second game, allowing players to join one of three gangs, performing missions and interacting with characters from the main series.
On top of the main story, you’d have been able to buy collectables, work, interact with one another and play arcade games. There was even going to be QTE moments, just like in the base game.
Almost inevitably, this all turned out to be far too good to be true and it was cancelled; but not before Sega had released a couple of handfuls of screenshots and a 15 minute video, available on Youtube for those interested.
Shenmue Cities is a social game being made for Yahoo! Mobage and seems to be all go if you know Japanese and want to somehow get in on the action. I imagine, considering the long wait for Shenmue III, a social game could be a little underwhelming, but that’s just me.
Another series where the developer has pre-empted this article by years, Final Fantasy has in fact had two MMOs, XI and XIV – both receiving wildly different brands of critical reception. But bear with me here, because I’ve had an idea that I would pay for, many, many times over.
Square could develop an MMO in which you could explore the most famous locations from the single player series; roam Midgar, play cards in Dollet, take part in the Festival of the Hunt, all from a single MMO. You’d not only get to view life in these cities in a completely new and original way, but you’d get to socialize whilst reliving a shared memory.
Perhaps it’s just the Final Fantasy obsessive inside of me, perhaps this is a completely stupid idea masked by a veil of the evil that is nostalgia.
But if Square ever consider making a new MMO, I hope they stumble across this article and decide I’m talking a degree of sense (somebody must be drunk enough to agree), because even alone I would support the hell out of this MMO.
Kameo was well received and is seen by some as Rare’s last truly excellent title. It featured a beautiful world, interesting mechanics and a varied enough single player mode that it never really feels like it’s getting old.
The sequel to Kameo was killed off at around the same time Rare began developing for the Kinect, so we’re not likely to ever see anything else regarding the IP. However, if we’re never going to see a continuation of the story, it would be awesome to see a continuation of the world. Turning into different monsters aside, the setting of Kameo held enough surprises that an online version would never be boring.
The opening of the original Infamous reads something like the beginning of an MMO. A courier is tricked into carrying a package that, when opened, destroys a significant portion of the city, having knock-on effects for everybody. The courier, Cole, wakes up to find that he has not only survived the explosion, but he has super powers.
People are dying on the streets, gangs are taking over the city and there is little the police can do to stop it. Who will the downtrodden public turn to?
A huge open world to explore, a morality system, the opportunity for sky-high battles between demi-gods…Infamous would make an interesting MMO, even if several other games have already beaten it to the superhero thing.
Grand Theft Auto
I’ve never really understood why this one hasn’t happened. Grand Theft Auto boasts a huge following which increases rapidly with each new release. You can almost feel the force of the game-buying population’s money as it gravitates towards Rockstar with each and every day that passes without a Grand Theft Auto V announcement.
But an MMO set in the slightly unhinged universe they have created would be something else entirely. It’d be a little less serious than APB ever seemed t be, offering big jumps, boob jokes and massive chases over the Cops ‘N Robbers thing.
I think it’s fair to presume that the closest we’ll ever get to this is the online mode in which you can explore the city with friends, a shame considering just how glitchy that can be in IV. Even so, it’s an interesting prospect to say the least.