Have you ever heard of Multiverse? They are middleware providers of an MMO engine and tools which they give away for free to developers in return for a share of the commercial spoils, if the resultant games ever go commercial.
Back in 2006 they announced a Firefly MMO game after signing a deal with Fox. Joss Whedon fans everywhere wet their pants in excitement and Multiverse went on the hunt for a developer to make their game. A couple of years later they announce they are going to make a Buffy MMO game but this time they are doing it themselves. This new Buffy game means that Firefly is now on hold. That was back in September last year and they haven’t said anything since.
I’m thinking Firefly is never going to see the light of day but it would have made a much better MMORPG than Buffy. On the other hand there aren’t enough horror MMO games out there, even some of the exciting prospects in development have now halted work and will probably never come out. There are a few free vampire MMORPGs but they are mostly text based and very simple. We definitely need a decent horror MMORPG, personally I’d go for a zombie infested world with simple survival as the aim but hey vampires would do.
The truth is most MMO games that get announced never actually make it to market. Even big projects at wealthy companies often disappear after a few years and with the associated cost it shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Not only do you have the usual difficulty of producing a game which is enjoyable to play and works technically but you also have to launch it into a busy market, make sure you provide plenty of server support and promote it enough to build a decent player base. Failure with any of these factors and your MMO game will sink without a trace.
I’m really tempted to download the Multiverse engine and have a play with it. Maybe knock up an MMORPG in which you take on the role of a young developer and challenge you to build a bankroll by slaying investors, conquer fickle fans and ultimately face off against the big bad evil of the games industry – the publishers.
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