Ah, Lost Vikings. How we enjoyed playing as Erik the Swift, Baleog the Fierce, and Olaf the Stout back in the day -- specifically, back in 1992. As a game it was unique in that you played as all three Vikings at once, switching between each character as the situation demanded. As an MMO such a feature could be used to spice up the tried-and-true fantasy genre a bit. Character creation could task players with designing three separate characters, picking their classes and then jumping into the game with all three at the same time. Strangely enough this type of MMO has already been created with Sword of the New World: Granado Espada -- so maybe somebody was taking notes back in 1992. Well, we bet there isn't a class in Granado Espada that has a shield you can hang-glide on, so hah!
Realistically speaking the setting in Lost Vikings is quite similar to World of Warcraft's. The three characters from the game even have cameos in the perennial MMORPG. This makes us wonder if such a game would ever materialize. Sadly, our conclusion is probably not.
The stage is set, the green flag drops! Cue Paranoid by Black Sabbath and crack open some delicious Sunkist, because we're about to blast off into some Rock N' Roll racing -- in space!
We really loved the idea of Auto Assault but the end-product felt very unfocused and almost too serious for its own good. Cars that race around and shoot at each other with crazy-ridiculous guns is just begging for a little tongue-in-cheek treatment.
Seeing as how fantasy MMOs seem like they're on the way out right now -- and considering that this game was set in space with racers traveling to different planets -- it's perfect for thw new modern mentality. Plus the original had a very engaging upgrading system for players' cars that could easily be built upon and expanded to include levels, loot and all that good n' grindy stuff. It also didn't hurt that everything about the game was over-the-top wild n' crazy eighties-in-space action and thus incredibly memorable even to this day.
Set on the planet Tuul, Blackthorne was a gritty game of revenge, killing aliens and a really cool blind-firing mechanic. That's right, in Blackthorne you could fire behind your character while moving around and all without looking. It was totally rad. Yet does this game and its world have what it takes to be an MMO? Well, there's a post-apocalyptic vibe in the original game and a lot of dark -- even mature -- subject matter like slavery. So we have to give a resounding "YES!" on the MMO'able scale, which is based completely in science and reasoning.
Tabula Rasa is another MMO that Blizzard could look to and refine on in the case of a World of Blackthorne -- or WoB. Tight shooting mechanics, evil aliens to kill, an involving world that has a cool factor of that would make makes for a strong sale if you ask us.
Could it be that Blizzard is straight-up making a sequel to World of Warcraft? Maybe, although the developer hasn't really taken many chances with either Starcraft 2 or Diablo III. To make matters even less likely for a World of Warcraft 2, Blizzard has expressed interest in updating the current game's graphics engine. This kind of thinking points to a very long term support structure for their first MMO. Also, making a move like this would likely splinter the current player base, which is a big no-no.
It just doesn't seem very logical to create a wholly new title when Blizzard could just continue to release expansions. Can you say World of Warcraft: The Emerald Dream?
With the recent announcement of Diablo III, it seems rather unlikely that Blizzard would be working on back-to-back Diablo projects. Besides that logic it also seems silly for them to undermine the multiplayer aspect of their third demonic hack n' slash with an MMO version.
However, if by some chance we do see a Diablo MMO it would probably be the clickiest game of all time and everyone would probably love it. Who knows? Maybe the inevitable expansion pack to Diablo III could add in some more persistent online features to the game. Well, that and new classes of course.
Many feel like the Starcraft franchise is the strongest contender for the MMO treatment and there's a metric ton of reasons to think as much: The lore will be especially deep after Starcraft 2, giving the world lots of iconic characters and places to flesh out within an MMO. All those assets for Starcraft: Ghost had to go somewhere and it doesn't seem like they went to the upcoming RTS sequel. Also, Blizzard is poised to make seriously insane bank if they combine what they've learned with World of Warcraft to the fervent loyalty of the Starcraft fanbase. We've got a sneaking suspicion that the events taking place in Starcraft 2 could also be a clue as to the possibility of an MMO. We'll just have to wait and see.
The biggest question mark pertaining to a Starcraft MMO would be: How would it play? Our guess is that Blizzard would probably try to make their two MMOs as different from each other as possible -- just like with Warcraft 3 and Starcraft 2 -- while also retaining the same kinds of massively multiplayer online trappings you would expect.
It has been a long, long time since Blizzard went and made itself a brand new IP. The truth of it though is that they really don't need to, partly because they take so long to bring around sequels for current IPs and partly because the main three that they have right now can work perfectly as just about any type of game. That being said, there has been some talk within Blizzard about creating a new high-quality IP. However, it doesn't seem like we'll hear anything very soon.
Now that we think of it, a brand new setting would probably be the one way to make almost everyone happy. Although there's that one caveat that it must be on par with the Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft series.