There are some names that, alone, are more than enough to turn a game into an undisputed success. Halo, for example, is synonymous with huge sales and a community that would jump at the first chance to play an MMORPG based on the popular saga. What about Sword Art Online, which only pops up about hundreds of times on the comments section of any random anime MMO video? Basing an MMO on some of the hottest IPs of today would probably grant the developer a truckload of money, and hopefully please the millions of devoted fans who are dying to play in the universe of their favorite characters, interact with them… hell, possibly even impersonating THEM!
So what are you, developers, waiting for? Here are our suggestions of which franchises should be turned into MMOs right away. Go get the licenses right now, unless you don’t like cash!
Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!
10 – DIABLO
The demand for a Diablo MMORPG has seen better days. Even Blizzard has said that the prospect of making a full-blown Diablo MMO isn’t that appealing anymore, with the focus shifting to smaller and more profitable games, as Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Overwatch are proof of. Perhaps the discouraging failure of Project Titan was enough to put the studio out of big MMOs for quite some time.
However, the concept could still be something really addictive if handled properly. Having many players in an isometric world sharing adventures, experiences, virtual lives and battles, could be memorable. While Diablo is now unlikely to be the one to take the template to an MMO scale, there are a few games going down that road and proving that this could in fact work out pretty well.
Path of Exile is one of the best examples, a free-to-play game that is often cited by players as what Diablo 3 should have been. It’s also very fair in its business model and decidedly grim just like the Blizzard series. But many players are now excited for Lineage Eternal: Twilight Resistance and especially for Lost Ark, an isometric MMORPG that came out of nowhere and surprised everyone with its production values and attention to detail. If this game is nearly as good as the trailers are making it look – and for once we have no reason to doubt – then this will be the one to end all the Diablo MMO demand, once and for all.
9 – NARUTO /DRAGON BALL
Both Naruto and Dragon Ball have all the potential for outstanding MMOs that could print money to whoever developed them. In fact, they’re already printing money, but not in the way that it should actually be – there are several unofficial browser MMORPGs based on these franchises and despite the mechanics being used in dozens of similar games, they still manage to attract a huge following and, eventually, make a lot of money. Although their authenticity is questionable, it’s a fact that the games are out there and are taking advantage of something that is very profitable.
Then there’s this 3D Dragon Ball MMORPG called Dragonball Online that was canceled in 2013 but is apparently being brought back by a group of fans as Dragonball Online Revelations, finally in English and a few other languages. It’s not the triple-A MMO that the franchise deserves, and while it’s treading a very thin line between legal and illegal, as the authors themselves admit, it’s the closest thing yet to a true Dragon Ball MMORPG. Naruto isn’t so lucky though, but the single-player games keep coming fast and hard.
However, there’s a big initial question for any studio that would want to make a Dragon Ball or Naruto MMORPG: would you go the Marvel Heroes way and let players choose their favorite characters, or would you turn them into NPCs with whom you interact? In the first case, you’ll have a bunch of Gokus running around, all looking the same and doing the same moves; on the second scenario, you’ll have a bunch of Goku’s anyway, only painstakingly made by players who want to recreate their favorite characters using the character creation system. It’s very difficult to please every single fan, including balancing issues, so this is probably one of the hardest tasks for any studio.
No matter how it turns out, with the two franchises having a great 2015 with new movies and series coming, a true, huge Dragon Ball or Naruto MMO is still very in demand and is bound to happen, sooner or later.
8 – RED DEAD REDEMPTION
It’s not just that Red Dead Redemption is an awesome game; it’s also that the Wild West is such uncharted territory in MMOs and videogames in general that the change would certainly be welcome. Rockstar’s classic series would be a perfect fit and the free roam mode is sometimes seen as a perfect prototype for what a cowboy MMO would look like – a huge open world just waiting to be explored, many activities, PvE and PvP content, and, of course, plenty of bad guys to shoot in the face.
A Wild West MMORPG wouldn’t be complete with a variety of classes to choose from, plenty of crafting options, and although it would be somewhat restrictive in what comes to mounts – I mean, besides horses, it’s not like there were many other means of transportation –, banding together to raid trains and villain hideouts could be something truly exciting and unique. Hopefully the combat system would be action-packed and not the usual tab-targeting.
With Rockstar already dipping their feet on persistent open world multiplayer with Grand Theft Auto Online, this mega studio could easily make some kind of MMO from the Red Dead series. Either that or include an expanded multiplayer mode in the next Red Dead game, something that actually sounds plausible and would be highly appreciated.
7 – HALO
One of the most iconic videogame franchises ever, Halo has already made the jump into a real-time strategy game called Halo Wars. Clearly Microsoft wanted to explore more of this world and take Master Chief to other places – oddly enough, they’re taking it to Russia, with the region-exclusive shooter Halo Online for PC. This baffling decision is not only leaving most of the world out of the fun, but has already made some fans mod the game, removing the geo-restrictions and unlocking the cash shop items.
But it’s not this Halo Online that we wanted to see; what we wanted was the Halo Online MMORPG that Ensemble Studios was developing with a $90 million budget to compete with World of Warcraft, and which saw its development canceled in 2007 and the subsequent closure of the studio that created the Age of Empires series. Sure, the screenshots made it look like a poor man’s World of Warcraft, but with time and the colossal budget from Microsoft it could actually develop into something worthwhile – after all, we know how most MMORPG launches are underwhelming and the games eventually improve over the next couple of years.
We still find Halo one of the few names with huge potential for a Star Wars kind of MMORPG, but we understand how the comfort of the tried and tested template – single player shooter campaign and multiplayer mode – is more appealing and still brings in the big bucks. To invest a massive budget on an MMORPG is quite a big risk, and judging by the past experience, it is one that seems unlikely to happen.
6 – FALLOUT
The Fallout series has a contrived history and there’s even an MMO somewhere along the way – there’s even a big chance that it could be in development at Bethesda as we speak, so here’s hoping. However, with the Elder Scrolls Online underperforming, we’re not quite sure just how this has affected any chance of the world ever seeing a Fallout MMO.
But first things first. The Fallout MMO was a very hot topic a few years ago, and there was even one in development with the codename Project V13. Interplay sold the Fallout license to Bethesda except for the MMO part, but the deal required the studio to effectively develop the MMO in a few years or just give up the rights. With no Fallout MMO in sight and Bethesda demanding the rights in court, there was a heated dispute until the makers of Fallout 3 eventually won the case. All we ever got to see from Project V13 was a few pieces of artwork and screenshots by developer Masthead Studios, makers of the mediocre MMORPG Earthrise and the shooter Guns and Robots.
So it’s hard to think that Bethesda went through all the trouble only to sit on such a powerful license. Fallout has everything to make a great MMO, from the original and very mature world, to the combat, which would work wonders with the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S. We would love to wonder around post-apocalyptic scenarios, exploring devastated lands with the help of our Pip-Boy, drinking some good old Nuka-Cola and blasting the heads of some mutants. But until this happens, we’ll have to settle for something like Fallen Earth, which is the closest we can get to it right now.
5 – MASS EFFECT
BioWare’s amazing space opera is one of rare detail and vast scope and the fourth game should put a new spin on it, with a new story. Hopefully they won’t make any more blunders like the ending of the original trilogy, which sparkled one of the biggest gamer’s outrages ever seen – but that’s what you get when you conclude such a saga with endings that only change in color. That was fixed later, though, after many distressed complaints.
Anyway, Mass Effect has such a rich lore that it could easily rival Star Wars. In fact, there’s even a movie in development and if it uses the deep storylines and memorable characters of the franchise, books included, it could be something good. Maybe an MMO would work best as a prequel to the original trilogy, to give BioWare free reign, avoid the danger of chronological mistakes and lead onto the events that we’ve experienced in the single-player games.
So, this means that it has all the makings of a triple-A MMO. BioWare already has the experience from Star Wars: The Old Republic – even the setting is alike – and some degree of success, or at least since the studio decided to change the business model to free-to-play. The technology is already set in place, so it would mean way less work than building an MMO from scratch. On the other hand, having two similar-themed MMORPGs could be a bad business move – even if the game universes are unrelated, this is a scenario that shouldn’t be ruled out.
Weighing the pros against the cons, a Mass Effect Online could definitely happen and be welcomed by thousands, if not millions of players.
The biggest downside to a Mass Effect prequel MMO though would certainly be not having Miranda around…
4 – HARRY POTTER
It’s a bit odd how there barely is a decent magic MMORPG out there. This is a theme that could capture the imagination and wallets of millions of players, as the Harry Potter franchise has easily proved. There’s Wizard101 and little else that we can remember, and the demand for a Harry Potter MMORPG is real, makes sense, and in fact has already stirred quite a lot of confusion, thanks to a fan project that just won’t die.
Unknown studio Bio-Hazard Entertainment has tried in two different occasions to develop a Harry Potter MMO, first as Harry Potter Online and about a year later as The Wizarding World Online. In both occasions Warner Bros., owner of the rights, has slapped the studio with a cease and desist letter. Funny thing is that the indie studio tried to avoid legal issues by calling this a fan-project, like this was enough for Warner Bros. to go and say “Oh, OK then, we didn’t see that loophole, go ahead with the game”. Funnier still is that there was even a Kickstarter asking for $100,000, which was only to build a prototype to “draw interest from potential publishers and investors.” We couldn’t help but find this all a bit fishy.
Anyway, a REAL Harry Potter MMO could be awesome. Obviously, you wouldn’t play as any of the major characters, but you would be one of the Hogwarts students, meet the main cast in some cool quests involving wizardry and ultimately going in awesome adventures in other places. There’s so much potential for a great MMO here and it’s also a very unusual theme for a game – it sounds to us like this game would be a big hit, if given proper attention and budget, but it looks like it’s not going to happen right away, maybe for lack of vision or timing. Who knows, now that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the spin-off trilogy set in the Harry Potter universe, was announced, it may actually happen!
3 – SWORD ART ONLINE
We forget the number of times we’ve seen comments asking for a Sword Art Online MMO. It’s so frequent that it’s almost as annoying as those spam bot comments telling you how you can earn 10.000 dollars a month just by scratching your nuts. Almost!
But in the case of Sword Art Online, it’s actually for a good reason. This anime could turn out as a great game, since the MMORPG side of things is such a major part of it. It’s not only the characters that would draw the attention of the anime fans; it’s the idea of real consequences, something that is still so vague in MMOs. We’re not true supporters of permadeath and while a few MMOs such as Wizardry Online and Salem have tried it, there should be some other kind of major consequence for death in MMOs. Maybe something akin to the Dark Souls series?
Anyway, Sword Art Online is already getting a bunch of games, mostly fast cash-in mobile games and a few more for the PlayStation platforms, but the perfect SAO game would definitely be an MMO. Without the real death part, of course.
2 – GAME OF THRONES
There aren’t many franchises hotter right now than Game of Thrones. Despite the fantasy theme, it manages to be fresh, extremely mature and, dare we say, unique in its own, twisted way. There’s so much material in the books, so much to make of it that many players would love to be a part of the world where Tyrion, Daenerys and Jon Snow live so many adventures. The simple idea of traveling to places such as Casterly Rock, The Wall, King’s Landing or Braavos would leave many players in awe, as long as the game got the budget that it deserves.
But now you tell us: “Hey, stupid, there’s already a Game of Thrones MMO.” To which we reply that if you mean the Facebook Game of Thrones Ascent thing, this isn’t what we wanted. At all. This is the complete opposite of what we have in mind.
Sure, there’s allegedly other Game of Thrones MMO in development by Bigpoint, called Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms, but we haven’t heard anything from it since 2012 or so. Also, Bigpoint isn’t exactly known for its deep, mesmerizing games, so either this already got canceled or it will turn out as a casual MMO.
So, this would have all the makings of a stunning MMORPG set in a stunning world, hopefully with rich characters and surprising twists all around. Dicks and tits would also surely be included.
There’s only one other franchise that would probably get more players than this, and that one is…
1 – POKÉMON
… Pokémon. While Nintendo is doing a fine job of releasing Pokémon games regularly over the years, the focus is in creating new creatures instead of improving the mechanics that are getting somewhat tired. No matter what, they usually say that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and that’s exactly what happens with this addictive formula.
But the upcoming anime MMORPG Peria Chronicles is probably spoiling us a bit. You’ll also get to capture monsters and take them into battle in this game, even mixing them to get more powerful creatures. It’s a collectible and competitive formula that could go places with MMO mechanics – stuff such as having a few buddies to go along with you in quests, trying to get that super-rare Pokémon in a 12-man raid or something like that. It could be something truly special and if they kept adding new creatures, it would last forever. There’s always the issue of balance and Nintendo would have to get it right – how rare is a Pokémon if thousands of players have it? And ultimately, which platform would this be developed for? Any current Nintendo console doesn’t seem capable of realizing the potential of such an MMORPG, so the versatile and powerful PC platform could be the best choice. Would it happen in a thousand years though?
Now picture this scenario: Nintendo announces the Pokémon MMORPG for PC, with a big budget, amazing visuals and so on. The catch is that it would be exclusive to Japan. How would you react?
These are our suggestions, and you probably noticed that some major names were left out of this list, possibly for good reason. For example, there’s already a Grand Theft Auto Online, and another Metal Gear Online is also on its way, with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. If you think Assassin’s Creed could work as a good MMO, we’re a bit torn on that matter – what sense would it make to have hundreds of assassins leaping around a city, doing fetch quests and such? The Witcher series, however, probably could work – it has a rich lore, captivating characters and there’s definitely space for an MMO. Here’s hoping CDProjekt thinks about it after the release of the third game.
Anyway, let us know if you agree with these candidates and if you have others on your mind to turn into an MMO. As long as it’s not Twilight, eh! See you next time!