IP! Intellectual Properties. If you’re in the business of licensing things, man I bet you love those.
George Lucas has vast armies of people making Star Wars games. Star Trek games come out every so often (and are usually not the best). Movies get adapted to games, games get made from tv shows and there are plenty of properties out there that have been looked at for further video game exploitation.
Given that this will never ever come to pass, I have two requests.
First, no more intellectual properties please. Take a break. Try your hand at something new. Not a universe that lends itself to being turned into an MMO. Not some existing IP that you think could crack the nut that is WoW or emulate its success.
Try new things. Try new worlds. Try making something that no one has ever seen before. Right now there is the trend of taking what someone has done and emulating the crap out of it, as though that process will somehow mystically imbue your title with the same positives and line your pockets. We’ve all seen the huge buckets of money that Minecraft just made. How long until the copies come out, reasoning that a tiny iteration on an established success equals more success?`
Just because something made the splash once, it does not automatically follow that it or any other game directly modelled on it will do the same.
Secondly, as a game company… start lying to us all. I don’t mean lie about features or release dates or content. They’re all very important. Making a good, complete and completed game is vital to you, to your market and to the genre. However…. people are going gaga for or raging at Bioware because of however they currently perceive Star Wars: The Old Republic. People will always look at Mythic a certain way. Reportedly Square Enix lost $26million worth of investment because a player who had the stock didn’t like the latest installment. I personally cannot wait for The Secret World, but there are many who read as far as “Funcom” and stop listening.
So lie to me. Lie to everyone. Spin off subsidiaries and reabsorb them later or drop them if they are unsustainable. Create new companies, new names, new faces and personalities to bring us the next wave of MMOs. Don’t bring us “Bioware presents: Some Game” or “Square Enix FF 75.23”. The same name that sells your games in a single player market brings far too much drama in a massively multiplayer one.
Bring me a new game from a new company and importantly from a new and neutral starting point. Make your success stories on the back of the hard work put into the game rather than on the back of a bought in IP that someone will say you did wrong or on the back of your own reputations which may leave many demanding things that you may not ever be able to deliver.
Would it be difficult to work out who has spun off whom and for what? Probably not. However if the one thing missing from games now days is wonder, leave us wondering and with wonderful things.