For some time now, hybrid MMOs have been quickly rising in popularity. The genre is no longer only found on PCs and it's certainly not a niche one either with the interest surrounding games like Destiny and The Division having disproved that.
Part of that is because gamers enjoy teaming up and taking on the world together. Yes it's exhilarating to get scared by yourself hiding in a locker in Alien: Isolation or to save the world by yourself as the Dragonborn in Skyrim but there are also many great experiences to be had with your friends. There are also plenty of experiences where you're sharing a world with hundreds of other players going about their business or fighting their own battles and it feels like the world is alive and buzzing.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and The Elder Scrolls Online are fantastic examples of existing franchises that have successfully made the jump to the MMO genre, but there are so many other series that would be a great fit. Here is a list of the ones that we think would work best:
A nuclear wasteland is a deadly place, but do you know what's deadlier? A nuclear wasteland full of thousands of other players.
In a Fallout MMO, players would no longer be fearing just the bandits, the mirelurks by the water, or indeed the radiation in the water itself. Instead they would have to navigate these dangers as well as each other. If you throw survival elements into the mix (like DayZ) where you're also keeping tabs on your food, water and energy levels, then you've got a recipe for some frantic PvP battles as players wage war to save lives. Furthermore, as the Fallout games have been big on factions (New Vegas had over two dozen) it would be interesting to see if that was encouraged in a Fallout MMO. Factions could encourage followers by offering rations and safe houses and there could even be faction stronghold assaults.
Unfortunately, when Interplay Entertainment attempted to make a Fallout MMO with Fallout Online, it was shut down after a lengthy legal battle with Bethesda. But the interest in such an MMO is still high that it might not stop Bethesda from pursuing it themselves.
The Mass Effect games have spanned just about the entirety of space. We've traveled amongst the stars dealing deadly melee punches to aliens and shacking up with our team members. And while nothing can replace the vast single player experience of ME's world, the potential is certainly there for an MMO experience.
The many boss battles of Mass Effect would make for some fantastic team-based play as players could break into small, large or massive squads (depending on the strength of the opponent). Players could use the game's biotic powers to think strategically about the battle at hand. Do you need more grenades? Better armor? Or do you just need someone to push enemies out of the way with the force of their mind? Potentially, you could put out recruiting calls for which sort of biotic powers you need or what sort of skills players should have, which would make battles less difficult to face even if you don't know each other.
On top of this, the way that Mass Effect encourages harvesting elements and the fact that you spend quite a bit of time on your ship could make trading and ship combat a possibility. EVE Online has this but it's incredibly difficult to master or become halfway decent at, so Mass Effect could definitely make that a more understandable (and enjoyable) experience.
Red Dead Redemption
Rockstar is not done with the Red Dead franchise (confirmed) so instead of asking if Rockstar is going to make good use of the license, we should instead be asking what they're going to do with it. Making Red Dead Redemption 2 is tricky since the first game focused on the end of the golden age of cowboys; it's going to be difficult to make a chronologically correct cowboy game if horses are being replaced by automobiles.
That's why it seems easier to make a Red Dead MMO. Cowboys roving the Wild West in packs? That's what we'd like to see. Some players could gallop about the place with lassos in hand while others could ride in carts and pick off rival players; combat-wise the limit doesn't exist. Outside of combat, guilds of cowboys could even maintain or run business such as farms, ranches, saloons or arms dealing, having to keep an eye on trade routes and on supply and demand.
As a massively popular game that sees two players control entire armies and face off against one another, StarCraft has all of the components for a brilliant MMO. As the game is now, players take control and command which forces of their army to go where, thinking strategically about enemy positions and which enemy type is going be strong or weak against their own units.
But what if players were able to be the units rather than just controlling them? In a StarCraft MMO, one player could provide the orders from above and those on the ground could loadout and attack accordingly. Not only does this give players a real chance to actually carry out the battles that they see unfolding but it could also encourage more people to play StarCraft; players who aren't interested in just telling units where to stand on a map.
Furthermore, you could even have the PC and console versions of the StarCraft MMO connect with one another. For example, the strategist could be playing on PC and could watch from their computer while the players controlling the units on the ground could play on PS4 or Xbox One.
In Pokémon, about 50% of what you do is focused on running around and/or meeting people. You roam the region and you face off against other Pokémon trainers to put your training skills to the test so how there isn't an official Pokémon MMO yet is a shock (and a disappointment).
In a Pokémon MMO you could expect the world to be bigger and for all of those snarky NPCs to be replaced with snarky real life players. You'd be able to create real rivalries and maybe even claim territory either by yourself or as a group in team fights. Imagine Pokémon Colosseum-esque visuals as it all goes down.
A Pokémon MMO could also really embrace the RPG and trade sides of the genre too. Players could choose a Pokémon type (fire, water, normal etc.) instead of the typical rogue, warrior or mage. Meanwhile, there could be a Pokémon trade market where players can trade captured Pokémon for money, with players putting in requests for rarer ones.
Considering that the assassins of the Assassin's Creed games are part of regional brotherhoods, it's odd that this has never been encouraged in Assassin's Creed's multiplayer. Instead, the idea behind the multiplayer has always been that players are Templar agents taking part in virtual training exercises.
So what if Ubisoft finally embrace AC's brotherhood foundations? Players could have their own insignias and flags and just like the gameplay mechanic that was introduced in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, there could be stronghold protection against other brotherhoods. On top of this, each player in the game could be fully customized with regards to both looks and body types. Bigger characters will deal lots of damage but will be incredibly slow, smaller ones may be more agile but will be weaker and medium sized ones will have average health and power; players could potentially upgrade their skills to give their characters more health or better weapon proficiency too. As for what the characters look like, allowing players to have characters of any gender or race would certainly make up for the female character controversy prior to Assassin's Creed Unity's release.
There is the small issue of location as Ubisoft would have to pick a diverse setting that wouldn't become boring and would keep players invested over time. They could release DLC packs with more settings and locales but that base location would have to hit the sweet spot for those who don't want to pay extra.
Grand Theft Auto
For a franchise that's big on gangs, like Ubisoft with Assassin's Creed, Rockstar has never fully embraced this. In Grand Theft Auto Online, you can have crews, yes, but these are more of a status thing than they are an effective way to control GTA's online world.
That's what a GTA MMO could encourage and correct. We're talking gang colors, territory and a hierarchy of players with one as the leader and the rest as lesser thugs. The game already lets you buy property and make an income so what if players could do that on a massive scale, shooting up each other's sources of income to claim them? This is a little bit like Godfather 2 (the video game from last gen) true, but in a GTA MMO it could really work.
The obvious issue with gangs and territory is that gangs will be unable to hold territory on more than one server as it would turn into a free for all again once a new server went live, but, if they've got a significant amount of members then they'll be able to hold onto territory no matter what. Plus, with gang colors (or even some options such as the 'hands up' gesture in H1Z1) those who are unaffiliated but go on the wrong side of town will be able to cause chaos or move as they please.
Would you play these games if they were MMOs? Which other game franchises do you think would make great MMOs? Let us know in the comments.