Something that truly drives me crazy is the amount of hideous rehash the Entertainment industry provides the American consumer each year. Exactly how many Batman movies do we really need? Please take Rocky whatever and destroy it. While I am a fan of the Indiana Jones series, I can't help but question if a 65 year old Harrison Ford can really sell the role of Indiana Jones 19 years after his last trip to find the Holy Grail. And for those who might have missed the bus on this one, Coolio's most memorable song, "Gangsta's Paradise" was formerly a Stevie Wonder song entitled "Pastime Paradise". The lyrics are different, but the music is nearly identical.
So, exactly why does this occur? Well, the answer is perhaps a universal answer to more questions then anything on Earth. The answer is money.
To get a movie funding, a producer has to sell it to someone who has the money to invest for its production. These could be anyone from venture capital firms, private investors or a large studio. By simply choosing rehash, the producer gains an advantage because the individual who has to be sold on the concept is probably already familiar with it.
Another huge factor is marketability. It isn't difficult to sell Batman or The Lord of The Rings to the American public. People are familiar with these titles and that familiarity may sell tickets regardless of how bad a movie may be.
Perhaps the largest consequence this practice has is that in many respects, creativity dies. What I mean by that is it is significantly easier to simply find a Intellectual Property and run with it versus creating new intellectual properties. Every year more and more movies fall into this trap and every year I personally find myself going to fewer movies.
This trend has already begun in the land of MMOs. Matrix Online, LoTRO, and SWG to name a few. Games such as this already have movie and literary fan bases and those fan bases are critical for marketability. It means that no matter how bad a game may be, people will play just to be a part of the lore.
There is one clear beacon of brilliance in the MMO realm and that beacon is EVE Online. There really isn't anything like it and it is unlikely that there ever will be. The depth and technical complexity provide a creative niche in the world of MMOs. It is a credit to CCP for its innovation. It is thinking such as this that needs more credit for its approach.
While I do play World of Warcraft, I can't help but admit it's simply a product of marketing. Blizzard carefully examined the landscape of the MMO world, what players enjoyed, what players did not enjoy and engineered a game that would above anything else, sell boxes out of stores. In terms of MMO depth, WoW is rather average as the fantasy MMO has been done and done well in the past; in the realm of MMO Marketing, it's the quintessential example of how to tailor a product to a consumer base. In other words, its a product of creative marketing and in a sense, should be provided credit at least in that respect, given it's overwhelming success.
So, now to my point. I provide the readers my first question for the masses:
If given all financial resources required, what type of MMO would you create?
The only rule with this is that it cannot be a current Intellectual Property. As with most things in life, the higher degree of detail, the better. This doesn't mean source code is required but a good understanding of the background, setting, characters, classes and the general driving force behind the game should be provided. The purpose of this exercise in thought is just that; to think and create. Being stagnant is the first step to death. A process that has long begun for the motion picture industry and one that has nearly consumed commercial music.
I look forward to any and all responses. Next post, I will provide my feedback and thoughts of an MMO idea of my own. Until then, stay warm as I toss another copy of Spiderman 3 into the campfire.