You Call This A Delusion? Total Recall MMO

By John Walker on November 9th, 2011 at 9:26 am.

My reaction.

Okay, here’s the new angle. If you’ve not yet made your MMO (as indeed everyone must have made one by the end of 2012, according to international law) there’s an approach you may not have thought of. Base it on an old movie. Astonishingly, there is to be a free-to-play incarnation of Total Recall.

It’s to be a 3D browser-based game, which according to this here press release will be “capable of rendering console-like graphics”. Console-like graphics on the PC?! The new dawn has arrived! A new dawn that will presumably stop our eyes popping out of our heads.

It’s a “historic deal” between SEE Games (responsible for ‘Planet Michael: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Online Game’, I swear) and a Chinese developer called ZQGame (Shadowland Online, apparently). The press release title takes this historic hyperbole one stage further, to declare:

“SEE Games And ZQGame Enter Into First-Ever China-US Strategic Relationship To Bring Total Recall To The Global Video Game Market”

If they mean, it’s the first ever China-US relationship that brings us Total Recall games, then fair enough. But I’m not sure that’s the boast they were aiming for. The one that would probably surprise China and the US, what with the former currently owning the latter’s economy.

Sony are in on this too. Mark Caplan, the VP of Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc. (they brought out the big guns) explained that “Total Recall is an international phenomenon; we know this well-known property will make a great 3D browser based game.” (Man, transcribing these misplaced and absent hyphens is hurting me.)

Because, of course, Total Recall is receiving an ill-advised remake. Of course the 1990 version is teased, because it’s Arnie, and because it has that lady with the plastic third boobie. But at the same time, it’s a Paul Verhoeven movie, and there’s a reason why we’ve all watched 27 times. It’s actually pretty good. I’m not sure how much the universe needs a version with Colin Farrell grumping his way through the role. Especially from the director of Underworld.

So what will your MMO be? Which old movie are you going to revive to release as a free-to-play browser-based phenomenon? You’ve got to make one soon, anyway, so you may as well pledge now. I’ve already bagsied Shadowlands.

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103 Comments »

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  1. Choca says:

    Apparently the new Total Recall has nothing to do with the old one if I read the plot right, so what’s the point.

    EDIT : edit fail.

    EDIT : Thankfully the director of the new Total Recall always picks his wife as the female lead in his movies, so even when this turns out horrible, we’ll still get to look at Kate Beckinsale between the snores.

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      The old movie had almost nothing to do with the short story either, so…

    • Artiforg says:

      @c-Row. It did, actually, sort of, the film is pretty faithful to the short story right up until the end of the Rekall scene. At that point the original short story ends. It would’ve been a really short film had they stuck completely to the original.

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      They share the general idea, but things get pretty different once the implanting at Rekall starts. Though I agree that a two-hour movie based entirely on the short story might not be as entertaining.

      In comparison, Minority Report is pretty close to the short story.

    • Binary77 says:

      I normally hate Len Wiseman movies, but I’ll watch that as Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston has been cast as Cohaagen, the bad guy. WIN

    • YourMessageHere says:

      I don’t like looking at Kate Beckinsale any more. I look at her now and think ‘that looks a bit like Kate Beckinsale’, and then I remember the plastic surgery disaster that meant she lost all her individuality. Watching Underworld 2 was weird; the same actress in the same role appeared to be a different person.

    • Choca says:

      @YourMessageHere : heh, I never said to look at her face :D

    • Premium User Badge

      ohnoabear says:

      @c-Row
      If you consider having the exact opposite message regarding pre-justice (ie, the main theme of the story) and very few of the same plot points “pretty close,” then yes, Minority Report is very much like the short story.

      But then again, the original short story isn’t long enough to fill an hour-long TV show, so it’s clear some lengthening had to be done. I just wish they hadn’t entirely changed the point of the original story.

  2. fionny says:

    I think a full on Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan) MMO should be done, the world is in depth enough for it! You could also do one based on Feist’s books as you have many lands and 2 entire planets, would be amazing

    • Choca says:

      Problem with making a Wheel of Time MMO is picking the time period.

      If you set it at the same time as the events from the main books then you’re going to need some innovative design (and we’re never getting that in a MMO adapted from anything even remotely popular) to keep the game from feeling static. Either that or you end up with something like the Lord of the Rings Online, where Frodo has been carrying the One Ring around for about four years now.

    • Shadram says:

      LotRO actually handles it quite well: each zone isn’t just a fixed location, it’s also a fixed time, and as you move up in levels, and through the zones, you move forward through time. So Trollshaws is always autumn (about the time Frodo and co. passed through), Rivendell is always 24th December, etc.

    • Njordsk says:

      I’d like one in robin hobb’s universe, I guess internation law doesn’t apply to me :(

    • Raniz says:

      @Choca
      Since the end of the series will mark the end of age three, set it in age four (assuming the wheel still turns at the end of book 14).

      An MMO based on Discworld could also be sort of awesome.

    • fionny says:

      The Farseer Universe I hope! Im reading Soldier Son as the moment and its kinda poor.

    • luckystriker says:

      Easy IMO. Set the WoT MMO in the AoL.

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      jezcentral says:

      A Discworld MMO would be terrible. There’s not enough genius in the world outside of Pratchett’s head to make that work.

      Bas-Lag MMO.That’s what we need.

    • Magnetude says:

      Seconding the Farseer RPG idea. Everything’s there – could even be an interesting dynamic where you have to avoid using the Wit (the animal telepathy the main character possesses, which is taboo) and being noticed by other people. Could even make it a Mount and Blade-esque action RTSRPG thing where you use the Skill to command troops and fight the zombie-like people the pirates made.

      The Soldier Son trilogy is set in a great world, which makes it a shame that the story Robin Hobb chose to use it to tell was so boring.

    • Arglebargle says:

      @Njordsk
      What good taste you have. At least per the Liveship Trader sets.

      Wheel of Time? Perhaps the setting might work. However, wondering what the deal was, I once grabbed a WoT book and randomly read 10 pages. Cured me of any desire to read the series.

    • Apples says:

      @Magnetude: I think it would be hard to capture the spirit of the Farseer books though, given that one of the main things about them was that everything seemed heroic and epic on the surface (finding dragons! Assassinations! Using magic!), but when you got down to it, it was all relentlessly depressing and unfun. A game where the player really was a cool smart heroic assassin would go against everything the books are about, but a game where you spend most of the time trekking about in the snow, getting beaten up, and whinging about your girlfriend(/someone you wish was your boyfriend) wouldn’t go down well with players.

      (I love those books though)

    • Magnetude says:

      @Apples You may be right now I give it a proper think. Most of the interesting stuff was to do with the political intrigue and Fitz’s relationships with the people around him. The world itself was rather dry and bleak once they got out into it proper… Oh well. This has reminded me to go check what Robin Hobb’s been up to, can anyone recommend the Rain Wilds books? I did enjoy the Liveship Traders ones and I haven’t read any fantasy in aaaaages.

    • Apples says:

      I read two of the Rain Wilds books and they were embarrassingly bad. Doubly embarrassing for me because I assumed they were good and bought a signed hardbook copy of the first. I had to go back and read some of the Farseer books again just to check that they were actually good and I hadn’t gone insane.

      They read like they’re written for a young audience, but the themes are much too adult for that to be true. The characters are one-note and mostly romance-novelly (the bored housewife who goes an adventure, the salty but kind sea captain, the nice gay man, the evil gay man), and nothing much happens for two books except that everyone walks very slowly through some jungle. Much worse even than Soldier Son, which had some really interesting points even if they were too belaboured over the course of three books.

      ymmv though, of course.

    • Magnetude says:

      Golly, I’ll pass then. I wish she wouldn’t insist on making everything she does a trilogy, the Soldier Son story might have been bearable if you didn’t have to put up with 2 books worth of a fat man making a prat of himself before it started to explain why.

      Think I’ll start on Ulysses and try to imagine an MMO based on that.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Saul says:

    Total Recall wass quite good because it’s based on a Philip K Dick story, I’d say. Why not make an MMO set in a world that mashes all of old Phil’s stories into one glorious clusterfuck of freaky sci-fi? Or maybe not, given that you’ll still end up with “kill 5 cyborg” missions.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      awww, I was gonna say that…

      We can remember it for you wholesale is the short-story, btw.

    • Moth Bones says:

      I’d love to see one based on his stunningly miserablist non-SF stuff – ‘In Milton Lumky Territory’, ‘Confessions Of A Crap Artist’ etc. Your character would lose XP if it had any fun whatsoever.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      Yeah I read that. The story isn’t really anything like the film, it’s just the implanted memory concept they borrowed. A PKD MMO would be great but tricky. He rarely fleshed out his environments, just crammed wonderful idea after wonderful idea into his books. A Man in the High Castle MMO could work, plus that’s getting tv-ified too soon.

      I’ll take that one

    • Hoaxfish says:

      You could spend the early levels scanning electric sheep in the dark

    • Jhoosier says:

      Badger: Is Man in the High Castle really getting a series? As usual, I’m pessimistic about the final quality, but intrigued. I don’t know about an MMO, but I could see an adventure/FPS based off this. Actually, someone could have easily made a HL2 mod based on this.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      @jhoosier

      Yeah, it’s a BBC 4 part movie-thing basically, and Ridley Scott’s producing so it might not be all bad.

  4. angry_tom says:

    Casablanca of course! In the persistent world, no ones’ anything will amount to a hill of beans. The letters of transit require a hefty micro-transaction. Aye.

  5. Hoaxfish says:

    I’ll remember playing that MMO… or do I

  6. Shadram says:

    Gremlins.

  7. Burning Man says:

    Considering that RPS comes up with a new MMO to talk about every 3 days, is there a list somewhere of the good ones? Y’know, like an IMMOGDB?

    • Shadram says:

      Massively.com covers just about everything MMO. Not sure if they list the best, but you can certainly search for a game to get an opinion from people who spend most of their lives online, pretending to be their avatars. Actually, I’m not sure they’re the best people to turn to for advice…

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      @Shadram you mean there are actually people roleplying in MMOs? If you don’t go looking for them, I say good luck finding them.

  8. Premium User Badge

    felisc says:

    A “Diva” (JJBeineix) MMO. Riding my tiny bike in 80’s’paris, visiting post punk art shows and running away from accordeon listening mobsters might top WoW.

    • Shuck says:

      You know, this is the first MMO proposal I’ve read in quite a while that I’d actually want to play…

  9. Nallen says:

    Shotgun Dark Angel.

  10. Inglourious Badger says:

    WHAT DA HELL DID I DO WROOOONG!?

  11. Elltot says:

    A Serenity MMO!

    • fionny says:

      Haha good shout! Firefly ftw!

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      Smells like EVE.

    • Elltot says:

      EVE is too much about the ships. A Firefly / Serenity MMO would be more along the lines of TOR but funnier and dare I say it grittier.

  12. Real Horrorshow says:

    Total Recall will always be my favorite Arnold movie. It’s so fucking good.

  13. geerad says:

    I’ve just obtained the rights to make the Surf Nazis Must Die MMO. You guys shouldn’t even bother making yours because I’ve already won.

    • Fistulator says:

      YES!

      Will there be an X’s Momma faction to play? Or will we all be surfers of various descriptions?

    • Premium User Badge

      Scandalon says:

      I read that as SMURF Nazis must die. Which would be ace as well.

  14. skyturnedred says:

    Zombie MMO, based on any old zombie movie.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      A PvP-heavy zombie mmo, where you start off as human, but if you die, you become a zombie, and if you die a 2nd time it’s permadeath

    • trigonometryhappy says:

      Somebody make this please. Only MMO I’d ever think about playing.

      …and now the wait for contagion the game begins in ernest.

  15. Inglourious Badger says:

    Downton Abbey MMO ftw

    • Magnetude says:

      I can see the headlines now.

      “Biological Wares Courts Controversy With New Leisure Play Wherein A Noble-Born Gentleman May Marry A Drudge”

  16. Premium User Badge

    Museli says:

    Why hasn’t there been a game based on Tremors yet? Playing as Reba McEntire’s character would be awesome. She kicks all the ass.

  17. julianbenson says:

    It’s all about the Princess Bride MMO

  18. adonf says:

    There are not enough MMOs based on Diff’rent Strokes. Why, world, why?

  19. Premium User Badge

    TheApologist says:

    ‘Because, of course, Total Recall is receiving an ill-advised remake’

    I’ve seen 10 minutes or so preview footage of the new film. It was a fun time, and seems substantially different from the old one in terms of mood, setting, nature of the action sequences. There were also hints at a slightly different take on the plot.

    I’m looking forward to it.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Isn’t Bryan Cranston the baddie? That man can do no wrong.

    • Premium User Badge

      TheApologist says:

      He is indeed, and indeed he can do no wrong.

      I actually think Colin Farrell is on a pretty good run lately too from what I’ve seen.

      There was some pretty lovely set design in particular, I thought. It seemed somehow in the genre of Inception, so it looked up to date, but might be getting a bit derivative I suppose.

  20. DigitalSignalX says:

    Get ready for A SURPRISE! *explosion*

  21. Premium User Badge

    ChainsawHands says:

    All three boobies were fake, it was a sort of… three-boobed… harness thing.

    Also: GET YOU ASS TO MAHZ!

    • The Tupper says:

      Is Total recall the one where he yells:

      “DAHT GUY IZ AE FHACKEENG AZZHOLE!”?

  22. mickygor says:

    I was gonna suggest some bullshit MMO idea for the lulz… but I’ve found myself desperately wanting a The Night’s Dawn MMO.

  23. Arglebargle says:

    I’d dream of a Zelazny based MMO set in the Lord of Light universe. Others would possibly prefer the Chronicles of Amber/Courts of Chaos setting.

  24. GCU Speak Softly says:

    Iain M Banks’ Culture MMO anyone?

    • Premium User Badge

      TheApologist says:

      I read an interview with Iain M. Banks saying that the Culture’s ‘century-to-century business is totally, boringly peaceful’. The novels can jump around in time to tell stories in the exciting bits, but an MMO might struggle?

      That said, a single-player adventure-y guns n’ conversation game set in the Culture would be AMAZING. Fem-Shep or Male-Shep arguments rendered instantly passe.

    • GCU Speak Softly says:

      Setting it in any of the “Interesting Times” would solve that problem, methinks.

    • Premium User Badge

      TheApologist says:

      Sure, I guess I just thought an MMO needs a setting where the conflict and action is continuous over wide spaces and a long time, and the Culture is, by and large, peaceful. But hey, in almost whatever genre, I’d love to see his imaginative work put to use :)

    • Jhoosier says:

      The Culture is peaceful with itself and between most other equivalent races. It meddles a lot, which would make for a good story, and a ‘prequel’ of sorts would be quite awesome. I’d like to see fridge(not suitcase)-size drones and snarky Minds that are just getting started.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Surely the answer lies in the following two words:

      Zetetic Elench.

      A constantly questing, changing fleet as a setting would a) drive conflict at times, b) keep things interesting, c) let devs try new ideas, d) be a built-in excuse for user-driven design and e) be pretty unique; so far as I’m aware most MMOs are fairly static affairs, and the only thing I can think of that did anything like I’m thinking of was the Matrix MMO which had world-changing in-game events from time to time.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      It could so easily be one.

      Also, I would pay money for it.

  25. formivore says:

    The Wire MMO.

  26. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    24 Hour Party People.

  27. pilouuuu says:

    What’s up with all Hollywood remakes? Just stop it already and make movies based on new ideas! And what’s up with all those MMOs? Make good single-player games instead!

  28. TariqOne says:

    Cyberpunk, drawing on a fair amount of Gibson and the old pen-and-paper rag (and not so much Blade Runner faux-deco): The Sprawl, Tokyo, hackers, tech-running Rastas, flechette guns, seedy nightclubs and housing projects, Nikon-brand eyes.

    • Taffer says:

      Rastas =/= Voodoo, but otherwise yes.

    • TariqOne says:

      I was more thinking of Neuromancer’s tug Marcus Garvey and its Rasta, dub-loving captain Maelcum.

  29. TariqOne says:

    comment fail

  30. scoopsy says:

    You gust have to be writing the “MMO shutting down” stories in advance for a few of these MMOs, like celebrity obits.

    • Shuck says:

      That would require that someone cares about the MMO enough to note its passing, which, frankly, isn’t true for most of these MMO ventures.

  31. westyfield says:

    Brazil.

  32. westyfield says:

    I’d make a Brazil MMO.

    • Premium User Badge

      Captain Marvel says:

      I would totally play a heating and airconditioning specialist.

  33. Bret says:

    Kickpuncher 2: Codename Punchkicker.

    You play as one of the poor saps that gets kickpunched or punchkicked.

  34. Synesthesia says:

    i’ll be the three tit prostitute and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      yes you are..very cheap, you bloody sell out!

  35. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Night at Roxbury MMO

    Bang your head in a car to “What is Love” for XP () or try to impress a girl in a bar just with one line

  36. dontnormally says:

    edit: reply / reload / browser cache double-post fail

  37. dontnormally says:

    The Fifth Element.
    or, The Incal (the aesthetic reference for The Fifth Element)

    Colorful, futuristic, gritty / somewhat-silly, psychedelic-ish, super-tall buildings with multiple height environments, flying cars.

    You know, the good stuff.

  38. lonesock says:

    This game better have a “number of boobs” slider and “midget hooker” check box.

  39. Moonracer says:

    I want a Buckaroo Banzai MMO. You’d create a quirky Blue Blaze Irregular character and team up to go on wacky missions that don’t really make too much sense.

    Retrieve items to protect/R&D new tech to help complete missions!
    Shoot bad guys/demons/alien invaders!
    Play team based, beat matching mini games as a band for money and fame!

  40. kud13 says:

    do we have a Godzilla MMO yet?

    because someoen should make a game where you and thousands of others players can do nothing but flee in panic as giant monsters crush the city above you, dodging falling debris and radioactive breath.

    if you survive x attacks you get drafted into the JSDF, and get to particiapte in the vaiglorious attacks to stop the big monster, and then fleeing some more…

  41. DickSocrates says:

    MMO based on Frasier. Cheers Expansion already planned.

  42. Jengaman says:

    a Big Lebowski mmo is needed

  43. Someblokius says:

    Red Dawn: The MMO. The players are gallant Soviet soldiers seeking to bring the misguided workers of the USA into fraternal socialist brotherhood with the peaceful workers of the USSR. To do this they must defeat a gang of near invincible decadent capitalist teenagers, who seek to continue the foul tyranny of the borgoise through violent means.

  44. theleif says:

    Trailer Park Boys: The MMO. I could actually see that working pretty well as a web based MMO, with smaller shared shards.

    I would love to see a non browser based MMO based on The Long Ships (Röde Orm). Or just an mmo based on the Norse mythology. You could raid Constantinople, build trade stations on the river Volga, Make a surprise visit to some Irish monks, explore Vinland, build long ships, raid your neighbour village, capture thralls, and all that before you even add in the mythological stuff. Possibly great stuff.