As Civilization is to history, Arden: The World of Shakespeare will be to the Bard of Avon. CNET reports that Associate Professor of Telecommunications at Indiana University, Edward Castranova, is receiving a $240,000 grant to develop an MMOG around Shakespeare's plays.
Unlike World of Warcraft or EverQuest, the academic Arden will be not-for-profit. No word yet on how the ambitious project will sustain itself financially beyond the grant.
The game will be built around the play Richard III, because of all the conflict during the 16th century War of the Roses. There is no real explanation on how all the other plays will be incorporated into the world. If they can figure how to make one cohesive Shakespearean world, the game might be worth a try and a great educational tool. As long as there is a translator into modern language for those who avoided Shakespeare because of his pesky "smrt" 16th century English.