Markus Persson AKA Notch has created one of the biggest gaming sensations in recent times. He has been programming since he was seven years old and quit his steady job to work on what has now become the online gaming sensation Minecraft. In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Notch spoke about mods, bringing achievements to Minecraft and also hinted at a possible Xbox 360 port.
Minecraft has grown exponentially since its early stages of development in 2009, and has blossomed into one of gaming’s most innovative titles, while at the same time creating a loyal and obsessive fan base. Countless videos are popping up online showcasing the power and possibilities of Minecraft.
The buzz surrounding the creative abilities of the title continues to build and 2 Player Productions recently started work on a documentary about Persson, Mojang, and the evolution of Minecraft.
Persson has big dreams for Minecraft and hopes that in the future mods of the game will become as popular as those for Half-Life 2. The idea that fans might create mods and approach him with their ideas (a la Portal) is incredibly appealing to him, even stating his belief that a 'Capture The Flag' themed game set in the Minecraft world would be awesome. Fans, I think that’s a hint.
When asked if he had any intentions of adding achievements to the game, Persson responded emphatically:
"Yeah, I like achievements. I know a lot of people don't, but I like them. I've had the idea to make achievements kind of like the in-game questing. So you'd be able to see the first achievement in a tree of achievements, and you have to unlock the top ones first before you can unlock the ones further down.
"So the first one might be to chop down a tree, or kill a chicken, and then these branch into more things you can do. Hopefully it would encourage people to try new areas...it could converge into a big task, like kill a dragon or something, which would put a kind of narrative into the achievement tree."
Persson is aware that some gamers may not be receptive to the idea of adding a narrative structure to Minecraft. After all, a large portion of the game's appeal is the feeling of truly limitless and unguided possibility.
By adding any element of objectives or achievements, there is a risk of taking away some of this freedom. Because of this, Persson wants to make sure that, if implemented, the achievements would be implemented in a completely optional way:
"I'd want these achievements to feel like things that you can try, rather than these are things you have to do. People can follow them, but only if they want to."
With his desire for achievements, it seems that it's only a matter of time before we see a console version of Minecraft. The game has already been announced for iOS and Android, and a console port would be the next logical step. Persson isn't against the idea, and his thoughts on the game's future will come as a relief to his fans:
"I want to work on other games, but I think it would make sense to turn Minecraft into a franchise. I think it's important that there should be a point to any future Minecraft games. So if we make an Xbox version, there should be a point to it being on Xbox."
Maybe an Xbox 360 release isn’t too far off, since there has to be a reason why he didn’t mention his love for trophies, right?
In all seriousness though, a console version of Minecraft would probably release on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and in this writer's opinion the property is a perfect fit for a downloadable title.
Minecraft’s success proves that, in the end, creative ideas are what great games are made of and that there is a strong desire for original ideas, no matter how new or strange.
Is adding achievements to Minecraft a good idea? Would you purchase a console version of the game?
Minecraft is currently in the Beta phase and is making steady progress towards an official release in the near future.