Sith and Make Up

By Kieron Gillen on October 30th, 2007 at 5:42 pm.

For those wondering if it’s abstractly possible for a developer to be owned by the largest third-party publisher in the world yet still be involved in Indy game development, then we have an answer for your troubled brow: Yes! Abstractly. If they make an Indy game*, anyway. Which they won’t. It’ll be Star Wars again, and everyone knows it.

You'll have your eye out, and no mistake.

It seems that Electronic Arts purchasing Bioware (and Siamese-twin developers Pandemic) recently hasn’t put an end to their long standing relationship with Lucasarts. Bioware and Lucasarts have announced they’re working together on an undisclosed game. What sort of game will this be? Our inside sources (that is, sources inside our head) tell us that it will prominently feature graphics and sound and gameplay. It will also come out on the PC, as we’re perennially optimistic. And for a more serious educated guess: A Star Wars MMO from their Austin Studio, maybe? And for further baseless speculation, head thee to the comment thread.

*(Oh – Indy/Indie game joke courtesy of Consolevania.)

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39 Comments »

  1. Jim Rossignol says:

    That’s not even a joke.

  2. The_B says:

    It will be the ultimate crossover game.

    Indy: In SPAAAAACCCCCE

    Although we could have a problem when Han Solo and Indy meet each other. It /may/ create a hole in the Time Space Continuum. Thing.

  3. drunkymonkey says:

    Monkey Island RPG, of course.

  4. Andrew Mayer says:

    I think we’re at the point where this is going to be one of those unsurprising surprises.

    The Internet points to KOTOR MMO, and I have no reason to disbelieve my LolCat masters.

  5. Kieron Gillen says:

    Yeah. I only noticed there were genuinely people doing the rumour game over a SWMMO in the last two weeks after writing this, and… well, yeah. I mean, obviously. What *else* would they be doing?

    KG

  6. Aimless says:

    I don’t know, I thought the likelihood of the next announced MMO not having elves in it was 3.627%, which are pretty grim odds.

    If it turns out to be WoW with lightsabers then eyes will roll. Mine, in fact.

  7. Nick says:

    I wish people would stop making MMOs.

  8. Ghiest says:

    Pod racer mmo … you can adjust your ‘pods’ like nothing else online !

    Seriously though.

    If they don’t do a Kotor-esque MMO they would be seriously stupid.

  9. Andrew says:

    This blog needs more Consolevania.

    Particularly blow-by-blow accounts of the new videoGaiden series.

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    The problem with Consolevania is that, despite covering PC stuff, they call themselves Consolevania. It’s almost as if they were TRYING TO START A FIGHT.

    KG

  11. Andrew says:

    Surely they gain points for the alternate titles for videoGaiden, which included Shodan?

    And BannyFatter, but yeah.

  12. Acosta says:

    I think EGM had the rumor of a “KOTOR MMO” in the last number, so when this appeared… well, it´s an easy connection.

    I want to see it, the great thing of KOTOR is that you can take all the likable aspects of Star Wars and use it ad they please, without being attached to a canon or being forced to have Darth Vader around.

  13. Bozzley says:

    As ace as a KOTOR MMO would be, I’m willing to bet a Night Shift MMO would be even acer.

  14. Aimless says:

    For some reason I read that as Night Trap, which could possibly be even better.

  15. Bozzley says:

    Hehe, I’d still have my money on Night Shift though :D

  16. Kieron Gillen says:

    This makes me wonder whether there’s room for a speculative article about MMOs in another dimension.

    You know – writing this has reminded me that I actually DID something like that for a magazine and they never ran with it. Like, three years ago. I’ll have to dig that out or something.

    KG

  17. Aimless says:

    Incidentally, I seem to get a new “FREE MMO!!!” advertised on this site with each visit. Do those things actually make any money, or are they like those DVD shops that open for about a month and then have a closing down sale yet somehow turn a profit?

    I’m reaching critical levels of tangentially here, but there was also an advert for some kind of sugar daddy service looking for “attractive, affluent” people. Did no one tell Google this is a PC gaming site?

  18. SwiftRanger says:

    Hmm, never got into KotOR for more than 10 hours, it just felt as a step back when compared to the BG-games. In any case, it seems impossible to transfer that kind of gameplay into an MMORPG.

    I am hoping for an original IP.

  19. Lh'owon says:

    MMOs are all kinds of awful. But I can’t help seeing a huge potential (untapped, obviously) in the genre. Thousands of people playing in the same game together? The possibilities are endless.

    So of course no one can top incessantly hitting sheep over the head to feed an abstract ‘level’ concept that some (lots and lots) of people bizarrely care about.

    My dream is that a developer will come out and say “screw this, leveling is lame, conventional hold-your-hand pvp is lame, subscription fees and all the associated addiction-making ‘features’ are lame, and we are NOT going to have bloody elves in our game.”

    Then they’ll take an established genre (say FPS) then make an FPS that’s also an MMO. Without leveling. Massive, freeform battlefields with thousands of players and a TF2-esque slant to the genre, anyone? Without leveling?

    Sure, it might not be great, but it would be different, which would set an incredibly refreshing standard for the genre. I’d sure as hell play it.

  20. Janek says:

    Isn’t that basically Planetside?

    Admittedly it did sort of have levels. And was just a horrible attritional grind with no particular goal or endgame. But still.

  21. Lh'owon says:

    I’ve never played it, but you make an important point that I’d make into my caveat:

    The game must have the opposite of “horrible attritional grind with no particular goal”.

    It must have tangible, dynamic, world (or at least battlefield) affecting objectives that directly benefit the ‘greater good’, the team or whatever, NOT just the individual player. And attritional grind (or grind of any sort) should be banished to the depths, which is the function of tangible, dynamic objectives – if you are striving for something that you can achieve in under six months (read: an hour tops) then there’s no room for grind at all really.

  22. Jon says:

    Games publishing companies are there to make money, they look at what has made money and copy it. WoW is successful [for the month or so that I played it I did enjoy it], WoW has made Blizzard a scarily large amount of money, hopefully not enough to finance a military coup any time soon but still, it has got to be a lot.

    Now our friends the games publishers, who act a lot like film publishers and book publishers, will only finance things which they know/highly suspect will do well. That’s why we keep seeing fantasy MMOs with elves in based off of the WoW theme. To be a good MMO you’ve either got to do the WoW thing better than WoW [doubtful] or do something totally different.

    Take the upcoming Warhammer MMO, now sure, it’ll be good but it’d have been [exaggeration alert!] a bazillion times better had it been set in the 40k time period. I mean come on, Inquisitor or Necromunda don’t have enough scope for a MMO? Pffft…..

    I seem to have gone way off track, I really really hope this isn’t a WoW with lightsabres affair. I really don’t.

  23. drunkymonkey says:

    It has just occurred to me how bloody busy Bioshock must be at the minute. They have no fewer than four games in the pipeline: Mass Effect, Dragon Age, the Sonic RPG, and now this… that’s a hell of a lot of work for one company.

  24. drunkymonkey says:

    Bioshock? I mean Bioware, bah!

  25. Nick says:

    I agree with the general rolling-of-eyes and gnashing of teeth at the lack of more variation amongst upcoming MMOs, but the reasons for that general, samey, turn-based WoW-type combat dominating the genre are unfortunately technical, and not simply a lack of imagination – and it’s largely down to the fact that available bandwidth does not grow at the same rate of available computing power, so bandwidth is the limiting factor to the (admittedly compelling) idea of thousands of players on a single battlefield.

    To get really interesting interactions (physics, real-time combat, collisions, AI etc) between huge numbers of users you have to send huge amounts of data about each user, to all potentially interested parties, so it’s a problem that scales exponentially (unlike, say, users viewing a web page where there’s just a single relationship between each viewer and the web server). So…

    a) Most MMOs are sharded at relatively low numbers – a few thousand per server, EVE excepted of course – but EVE jumps through considerable hoops to achieve this feat and still can’t support high concentrations in a single place.
    b) Most MMOs feature combat designed to cope with limited bandwidth availability.

    When you reach reasonable complexity between player to player interactions, you start having to limit numbers very drastically.

    I think the other problem is that it is very difficult to avoid the ‘this-is-great-but-I’d-never-subscribe-for-it’ trap that Tabula Rasa seems to be heading for, if you attempt to make something less time intensive. That’s a design issue, though, and I’m sure there’s a solution out there.

  26. Pidesco says:

    Recent and not so recent Bioware games have been so lackluster that this really doesn’t interest me in slightest. With that in mind, whether it is or isn’t an MMO is kind of beside the point.

    To think I used to visit to their site once every single day.

  27. Nick says:

    Any Necromunda PC game would be great.. I’d love a TFTD style one personally, with territory battles and all that – all in glorious turn based goodness.

    Never, ever happen though.

  28. xeno says:

    I’d like a good co-operative MMO to come out, I don’t care about genre or setting at all at this point. I just want good character appearance customization, loot (lots and lots of this please, both crafted and dropped, but especially crafted), many varied (and needed) resources for gathering and harvesting, a market system, and scalar gameplay that rewards you in some tangible fashion for achievements, a good story/plot that you can be a part of (or not) and a fantastic and progressive end-game. And most of all, I want NO. PEE. VEE. PEE. At all. In every MMO I have played, the game has gotten worse and worse as warmongers bitched and whined about this or that and the nerf bat came down. If you want to pvp, go pvp in a pvp game. Better yet, play TF2 or something.

  29. Solario says:

    The question we really should be asking ourselves is: Why? And I mean that from a gamer’s aspect, not a corporation-we-loves-teh-money aspect.

    Now a Monkey Island MMORPG, hell yes. Insult Sword Fighting Grind!

  30. malkav11 says:

    I still think a lot of people are getting very excited about very tangential conclusions not really supported by the available evidence. This is a new project whereas the Bioware MMO has been going for a while. It’s listed as “Vancouver”, and the Bioware MMO studio is Bioware Austin. Etc.

    However, if you are actually correct, I will be very sad.

  31. Thiefsie says:

    A (hopefully) half decent Star Wars mmorpg still wouldn’t be enough for me to dust off the wallet and partake in grinding for hours and hours on end

  32. Bobsy says:

    Frankly, if the next game in the KOTOR series is an MMO it’ll only weaken the series as a whole. Sorry, but no MMO to date (yes, other than EVE) has been able to tell stories properly, and while Bioware are pretty great all round, I’m not sure I have the confidence they can bring anything altogether new to the genre.

  33. Trooper6 says:

    xeno and all of you who want no PvP…who want all that group goal excitement…

    the MMO is out there, and you can even play it on multiple platforms. A Tale in the Desert. I played it for a while…but I had to stop…having my own compound was awesome…but if I had to havest any more Papyrus, I would have died.

  34. Kismet says:

    I grew up with Star Wars movies (the original trilogy) but really, let it go. Move on. Make an original setting. Please.

    Funny fake AD they have at consolevania, that reminds me I should really turn into reality my fake 360 AD idea, matured after dozens and dozens of “get a 360 then”-kids trolling PC-versions forum threads…

  35. Robert says:

    I lol’d at the nazi tag.

  36. ran93r says:

    I would be interested to see a better SW MMO as Galaxies left me wanting to poke out my eyes with a spoon.

  37. CitizenErazed says:

    The problem with any Star Wars MMO is this: How do you make a game that makes people want to not play as Jedi? I played Galaxies for a little while, and after about a year there was /nobody/ who wasn’t grinding the Jedi path. It was supposed to be balanced by having bounty hunters and things of that nature come after you, but…c’mon, Jedi. Lightsaber. Beats bounty hunter every time. Things got even worse when they just let you create a Jedi right out the box – sure, they weakened the character, but it was still about 500 times more hardcore than anything else in the game. I’m sure everyone who’s played KOTOR and KOTOR II stopped caring about characters like Carth, Mission* and HK-47 as soon as they got Juhani and Jolee, and spent all of KOTOR II trying to train every single character as a Jedi.

    So how do you limit the amount of Jedi in the game to stop it becoming a slower-paced JKII multiplayer game, with more people? Sure, you could have an arbitrary population limit, but that would feel forced. You’d need to make those other characters – your bounty hunters, traders and soldiers – worth playing over a Jedi. I think the solution to that lies in not making the Jedi weaker but making the other characters stronger to a point where a Jedi needs the support – say, a Jedi can’t craft his own robes, and obviously Jedi would be no good at trading. Obi-Wan can’t even buy a simple hyperdrive part.

    *Okay, nobody cared about Mission anyway. Zaalbar, then.

  38. Lilo says:

    it’s largely down to the fact that available bandwidth does not grow at the same rate of available computing power

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