Posts Tagged ‘guaka’

Whatever happened to…. Investigating Lost MMOs

The following is a guest post by Guaka. If you’d like to write a guest post for We Fly Spitfires, please feel free to contact me about it.

Warcraft makes a lot of money. Like, a LOT. So it occurred to several game developing studios that they might like a piece of that action. This has led to a whole host of MMOs currently in development. I thought I’d have a little look at just some of the games that are lost, cancelled or have had their chance and were killed off.

I’ll start with MMOs that are, or were, (1950’s sci-fi movie voice) LOST IN THE MISTS OF DEVELOPMENT PURGATORY!!!!

MYTHOS:

Originally developed by Flagship Studios Seattle now at HanbitSoft.

24823_mythos-01_normal1

Mythos as it looked in March 2008

Mythos was developed by a group of ex-Blizzard employees and it was intended for the game to feel like a massively multi-player Diablo, with randomized dungeons and aimed squarely at the casual market.

The game was supposed to be free to download and free to play and would be a kind of a bigger equivalent of Hellgate: London.

Well… Hellgate came out but Mythos didn’t. What happened? It seems as though Flagship Seattle weren’t doing too well financially (Hellgate had been called ‘”a major failure” by Flagship CEO Bill Roper) and had to lay off most of its staff. So, even though Mythos was actually in closed beta, the developers went out of business and Mythos was put on indefinite hiatus.

The story doesn’t end there though, HanbitSoft (a South Korean publisher), acquired the game and intellectual property rights. HanbitSoft have gone on record saying that Mythos is being “reconstructed” and they are aiming to release it in Korea and North America.

STARGATE: WORLDS

Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment and Metro Goldwyn Mayer

Concept art from Stargate: Worlds

Concept art from Stargate: Worlds

The Stargate franchise started with the 1994 film and is still going strong today (Stargate: Universe looks pretty damn good). The MMO was announced back in February of 2006 and there were lots of updates and concept art keeping gamers informed and all seemed well.

The game would see you taking on one of at least seven ‘archetypes’ and explore the expanded universe established by Stargate: SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis. The archetypes included Asgard (a kind of caster/pet-user hybrid), Commando (a stealth based rogue type) and Soldier works as a Jack(O’Neill) of all trades.

Then the world economy hit some trouble and one of the casualties was Stargate: Worlds. There were fewer updates and, as time went on, it was assumed that the game had died poor and alone.

Things are looking up for Stargate: Worlds as it now has its own YouTube channel and series creator Brad Wright quoted as saying the game is “just around the corner”… in May 2008. The new screens on the website look great and I have high hopes for a good sci-fi action based MMO.

ELITE IV

Frontier Developments

Sorry, no screens just the logo!

Sorry, no screens just the logo!

Elite 4 is the third sequel to the space trading game that a lot of us grew up with. David Braben the designer of the original Elite has gone on record (see Gamespot for these interviews) with some new information about a game that was considered myth by some and legend by others…

Apparently, development started on Elite 4 in 2000 as an MMORPG and stopped very soon after. The reason given was “at the time [Internet] connectivity was rubbish”. Braben didn’t want to make a game beyond the capabilities of the Internet of the time.

The indications are that when Frontier’s work on their current project ‘The Outsider’ is finished work will begin on two versions of Elite; one a single player game and the other a MMORPG.

The Outsider is due out this Christmas so we should see an Elite MMO by… 2012? EVE Online may soon have some competition.

UNTITLED BLIZZARD PROJECT

ummm, Blizzard

I dunno

I dunno

Nope, I have no new information for this one. There was a post on the World of Warcraft forums from Zarhym that said “it’ll be a brand new franchise” and “it’s a shell of a game thus far”.

It could really be anything, but I’m hoping for something sci-fi. Actually, I’m hoping for World of Starcraft but it doesn’t look like I’ll get it.

 

Yikes, I’ll take a break here and come back with a selection of cancelled MMOs. See you then!

Guaka


The Horror!! (Guest Post)

The following is a guest post by Guaka. If you’d like to write a guest post for We Fly Spitfires, please feel free to contact me about it.

The Thing, 1982, John Carpenter

“Childs: What do we do now?
MacReady: Why don’t we just wait here for a little while… see what happens…”
—————–

A vast mining ship drifts through space, the screams inside cut off by the vacuum of space. A submerged city slowly being crushed by the ocean around it while inside its mad citizens tear each other apart. A nameless evil directs the path of an entire family through hundreds of years….

I’ve been meaning to write about Dead Space for a while now (I was hugely impressed by that game) but, as Resident Evil 4 has just been released on the iPhone and Bioshock 2 is on the horizon (far away sure, but its on the horizon),  I’d like to think about the horror game genre as a whole.

When I start to really enjoy a game it’s usually because of a strong story, atmosphere and game world. I remember when I first played Bioshock and taking a quick break to check Amazon for any Bioshock novels or comics (there were none). I have no doubt this lack of a multi-platform launch lost 2k a ton of potential cash. When Dead Space launched it came not just as a game but also an animated movie, graphic novel and a series of motion comics, fans who wanted more of Isaac Clarke’s world could find a whole new back-story to satiate their sick need for blood.

I’ve played horror games for almost as long as I’ve been playing games, from Splatterhouse on the Sega Megadrive and Silent Hill on the PS2 to F.E.A.R. on the 360. There’s something about a really well crafted horror experience that draws you in to the game world and, although you’re totally safe, every little creak and skitter in the game is given terrifying significance.  Some games rely on this more (the long silences in Silent Hill) and others give you your horror fix at breakneck speed (Doom, House of the Dead).

As this is an MMO blog I was trying to think of examples of effective horror in massively multi-player games. Most fantasy themed MMO’s I’ve played usually have a few references to Lovecraft but I can’t think of any game that really offers the full horror experience. I’m not sure it’s even possible to have an open non-scripted world that makes the player genuinely unnerved, can you focus on the games atmosphere at the same time as trying to get a group together, managing your action bar and getting gold-spammed all at the same time?

Gordon brought up a few ideas for a possible MMO’s in a previous blog and a Cthulhu mythos idea was brought up then. I love the Cthulhu world and there are plenty of single-player games that capture the Lovecraft spirit (Eternal Darkness being, in my opinion, the very best) but how do you make an MMO without it ending up as ‘kill 10 fishmen’ or ‘find 30 pages of the necromonicon’? Maybe if the MMO used sanity effects like voices breaking in on to player voice chat, losing some control over your character and display effects. The challenge would be how to implement things like that without it just being an annoyance and hindering play.

I would love to be able to play an MMO and be so immersed that I got the same feeling I get from watching horror films like ‘Prince of Darkness’ but I just don’t think its possible (though I’d love to be proved wrong).  While I’m waiting I’ll be playing Left 4 Dead and dreaming of what might be….

Guaka’s Genre Recommendations:

The Horroretc Podcast – A really great podcast where all things horror movie are discussed. Available from iTunes or their website. http://www.horroretc.com/