The one game you want made that isn't being made


I spent some time playing a browser-based sci-fi version of this called Imperium Nova. It was mostly forum roleplay over a relatively lightweight economic/military game, but I still had a blast.


I’d love to play a sequel to the Bushido Blade series, where swordfights could be ended in a breath if you are unlucky or don’t know what you are doing.

I’d love to play a VR game where you play a bird of prey. Not in the Klingon sense, more like a kestrel, owl or hawk. You can see field mice from a long way off, but once you start diving on them, they aren’t a long way off anymore. Watch out for power lines, murders of crows, and poachers/dimwits with rifles.

I’d love to play a game set in the rich universe that appears in a ton of Jack Vance novels, where in the far future there are a lot of wacky societies, but the people are still basically human, so go out there and become a tourist! Marvel at strange customs, costumes, and architecture. Risk your money or your life in unusual sports or hunts or fights. Find the secret of your mysterious parentage, or gain revenge on the slavers that wiped out your childhood village. Penetrate crime organizations or build a literal kingdom or magazine empire for yourself. The biggest trick, besides the scale of it all, would be to have all these strange planets not just be a mad-libs style mess of randomly chosen data points.

I’d love to play a forgiving pre-jet flight simulator with a strong economic component, light combat, RPG elements, and a setting that embodies the best of pulp adventures. Run fetch or FedEx quests from landing strip A to airport B (or river dock C, or jungle island D), and dodge storms or sky-rateers preying on shipping lanes. Make cash to upgrade or at least refuel your rustbucket plane, or buy a fleet of blimps if you strike it rich. Make friends and allies and romantic partners in far-flung corners of the globe. Uncover dangers in exotic locations. Stumble on expensive relics that bad guys want. Gain favors from and owe favors to various flavors of The Man. Maybe mount machine guns on your plane if you want to fly that route. Maybe your home base has a whiz mechanic and a great cargomaster. I’d imagine it as a bit of Mount & Blade, a bit of Sid Meier’s Pirates!, a bit of Wing Commander: Privateer, a bit of Crimson Skies, a bit of the PS2 game Sky Odyssey, a bit of Porco Rosso, and a whole lot of that old Talespin cartoon. Or Tales of the Gold Monkey if you’re a little older than I am.

I’d love to play a game where you command an independent flotilla of star cruisers. I’d call it Commodore. (If I thought I could get away with it, Commodore LXIV.) A terrible war is ending a few sectors over — fortunately, your side is winning! — and you are tasked with pacifying this backwater sector. You want to do the best job possible so when peace breaks out, you can settle into retirement with comfortable rank. You’d direct your ships to pockets of rebellion and overwhelm them with military force, convince them to surrender with bribes or logical arguments, or squander your droptroops in useless frontal assaults. The last option should not be deliberately chosen. You’d want to do better than your opponents — other commodores also dispatched to the same sector — because only one of you guys could possibly get promoted to Admiral. Oh, and friendly fire is expressly forbidden, unless you or the other commodores are VERY good at covering your tracks. It’s gunboat diplomacy where the guns can blow up a small moon with a healthy dollop of treachery.

I’d love to play a tycoon game based on the studio system and making films in the Golden Age of (an ersatz) Hollywood. I’d call it Tinseltown. You would play a fixer, a mover, a producer, a player, keeping your little studio afloat. Roll with the flops and bombs, aim for the hits and blockbusters.

Here’s how I see it:

  1. You draw scripts from a pile. Scripts are potential movies, and they need certain qualities to be successfully produced. (It costs $$ to do so. At the beginning, your scripts will be simple one or two-reelers. Silent comedies or westerns, probably. Simple settings, real Poverty Row stuff, no academy award winners. When you get more money, maybe you can afford to shuffle in better scripts.)
  2. You draw actors from a pile. Actors have different categories like age and gender, and qualities like physical comedy, stage training, dancing, horse riding. (It costs $$ to do so. At the beginning, you can afford a stable of cheapo has-beens or wanna-be actors. Maybe you pay them by the month or lock them down into a x-picture contract. When you get more money, you can afford to shuffle in better actors. I’m thinking of how you hired mercenaries in Jagged Alliance 2.)
  3. You match and assign actors with the necessary qualities to match the scripts. (This is a little like the away missions [edit: duty officer assignments] minigame in Star Trek Online.)
  4. You put the film into pre- and regular and post-production. (It costs time and $$ to do these. Time is measured in months or quarters.)
  5. When it’s done, you release it if your studio can do it for you, or a distribution company does it for you but they take a cut. (Either way, it costs $$.) Actors get shuffled back into the pile or your hand if you have them on contract. When you release a film, you compare it to what the audiences are looking for that month. That’s another pile to draw from. Maybe that month they like westerns, or dramas, or actors with a particular quality. Maybe they hate low budget comedies about dogs with more than two male actors that month. Compare your film to what the public wants, and it earns or loses money accordingly. Keep the film rotating from market to market (for instance, the East/the South/Fly-over Country, and they might react differently to actors of different demographics) for maximum returns, and if it’s a real smash hit, maybe try to revive your smash hit film every few years. The idea is to play the house, like a complicated form of blackjack.
  • You plow your earnings back into making more films and back into the studio, probably, which is like climbing a tech tree. Upgrade your writers’ bungalows, upgrade your backlot, build soundstages or spring for location shooting for a wider range of settings, improve below-the-line capabilities to reflect hiring better directors, editors, key grips. Inventions like sound and color film come along as tempus fugits, and both scripts and audiences start to reflect the need to take advantage of those innovations. Buy publicity stunts and goose the gossip rags. Perhaps your studio starts specializing in message pictures, or showcasing actors, or providing spectacle. The audiences desires reflect world events, like War or Peace or Economic Depression or Political Minority Crackdown or Moralistic Crusade. Why, I bet the studio would love to support our troops against the enemy!

  • Here are some more complicating factors: the more you cast actors, the more stressed they become. This starts to reflect in negative factors the actors can pick up. Examples are Unreliability, Drunkenness, Gambling Debts, Infidelities, Public Displays, Hit and Runs, Monstrousness, Laudanum Addiction and worst yet, Quitting Show Biz Forever. A big part of your job will be managing your prima donnas and their proclivities. This usually means $$ to the right people. The flip side of this is that actors can start to build audiences of their own. If they are in a movie that is a hit, they can start to be upgraded. Once they become a Star and the fan letters start pouring in, that can add a multiplicative effect to your films’ profits. Or you can rent them out to other studios to get $$. (Sometimes actors build chemistry with other actors, which is perfect for your box office receipts as long as they both stay happy.) The actors will become more expensive, of course, but if you got them locked into a ten-picture contract back when they were nobodies, you can wring a lot of value out of them before they have to be discarded. No point in keeping around Box Office Poison, after all. Or former stars that aged out.

  • What is the goal of the game? You’ll get directives from the old farts that actually own the studios. You’ll have to keep them happy by results. Maybe that will be make critically received films, or make a barge-full of dough, but you’ll at least have to make enough to keep the lights on. You also have rival players who are trying to do the same things as you, but better. If they’re in your studio, you’ll compete with them for the use of stars and equipment. Or maybe you’ll arrange for them to be kicked out, or you’ll pull up stakes and move to a different studio. Then you’ll be outright competitors. If you’re treading water, you can outlast them and win if they make enough flops. With luck and skill, you’ll crush 'em into dust, and you’ll be loaded, and you’ll be lauded.

  • Expansions come later, allowing for extra possible studios and actors and eras.The eras will add different gameplay rules. There’s the one that covers foreign markets and world cinema. There’s the era “where summer blockbusters rule the multiplexes, agents call the shots, and your boss is a wine cooler company, for God’s sake”. There’s the “end of the studio system era when distribution is decoupled from production, nothing seems to work, but that elusive but lucrative Youth market is tantalizing…so maybe you’ll gamble on some real game changers”. There’s the era of indie movies and edgy film festivals. Et cetera.


Have you tried Hollywood Mogul? It’s set in the present, but it seems along the same track.


The Movies 2, with a vastly expanded movie making mode and full support for mods.


No, is it good? I hope the setting change isn’t too different from what I’m looking for, like playing GTA V when I wanted to play L.A. Noire.

Also, I’d like to play an L.A. Noire 2.


Oh good lord, yes, please.


Motion is thirded, and carried.


They would need the original 3D models, which Sir-Tech hasn’t provided. Otherwise, the graphics code would be upgraded ASAP.

Anyway, I would wish for an Homeworld RPG with JA2’s strategic map. Which I’m actually currently working on, in the form of a mod for HWRM.

Also, Independence War III.


Fuck yeah. My choice is clearly Freespace 3, however, though I’d be super happy with RoE3.


Did you ever know that you’re my hero?


I loved it. I don’t always think of it often, but it’s probably in my top 25 games list of all time, at least on PC. But it’s not for everyone. Its roots are in DOS. It was one of the first PC games I bought after moving from Amiga based in large part on a glowing review in Computer Gaming World. But it’s text-heavy. It’s very much spreadsheet as game. It’s gone through several versions (written by the same guy since the original, a screenwriter named Carey DeVuono). Apparently the latest version is now shareware, so it’s relatively easy to find a copy to try out.

In it, you’re the head of a studio and your goal can be set via the options menu. It can be to be the first (there are several AI studios) to reach $x of revenue (or profit, I can’t remember) or just to play until you’ve released y number of films. There’s a Top 10 list of most profitable films so you can see how well you’ve done.

Unsurprisingly since the programmer is a screenwriter, the success of a film is all about its screenplay. It’s also the most tedious part of the game. You title the film and enter a description along with how many lead and supporting roles there are and how much sex and violence there will be. You then hire a writer. The writer is rated in numerous areas (plot, dialogue, characterization, genre elements, etc.). After a few months you get a star-rating for the script. Almost always, you’ll have it rewritten (and rewritten). When the stars are to your liking, you hire actors, actresses, a director, and a producer. Each have star ratings in multiple categories. There are mods around that add real actors to the game.

You can also be pitched ideas from directors or actors. You can also choose to develop an outside property (like adapt a book) rather than your own idea.

So it’s not like The Movies in that it’s all text, but I have gotten hundreds of hours of play from various iterations since the 1990s. I’ve had my fill and haven’t tried installing it on my last couple of computers, but it’s the sort of game I’m sure I’ll someday come back to.__


A midnight mystery/ Carmen San Diego style assassins creed game.


Why are you lying you sick fuck?!! You killed LA Noire, didn’t you?


I can’t see anyone asking for a remastered Alpha Centauri!

I’d love it if someone did to AC what Blizzard did to Starcraft: just made it prettier (and fixed bugs/improved the AI considerably). They could overhaul some of the UI and tech tree display while they’re at it, but a lot of the magic of that game is the atmosphere, and I’d hate to risk breaking that.


I’d like to see a Knight Online 2, that was my first incursion in the MMO genre and loved to play KoL a lot. Faction wars and invasions were really thrilling and combat was fluid.

Another one would be an hybrid MMO / RTS / FPS like Savage XR but done well.


Nicely done, sir. <slow clap>


I don’t know what you’re talking about! [face twitches, eyes roll]


HL3? lol…

Other than that

Openworld Pirates game (sans dancing) - something very compelling about captaining a ship in the Caribbean in the 17th century

Openworld Stalker - stalker did so much right. I’d love to jump into this world with friends

Openworld Dying Light - really enjoyed the setting of this game. I always thought it’d be better to skip the heavy handed storyline and just let the player decide what/who they want to support in a gang/faction-based city that’s quarantined and falling apart.

Steam-based MULE - 45 minute game that I could hook up with friends on steam

L4D3 - man, how i miss the l4d days and group!


Not steam, but there is this:


A sequel to Powermonger would be nice.

Or maybe just a Powermonger HD, seeing as the game was pretty much perfect to begin with.

Edit:: Alternatively, I’d like to see Star Citizen made - specifically Squadron 42.