Okay yeah. Freedom Force was amazing and close, but you’re not wrong. And that might be the true Holy Grail.
I’m still chasing the Ultimate CRPG. A much broader range of interactions than the standard dialogue trees + combat formula, the range/replayability of procgen with the personality of good writing, and the sheer sense of awe/wonder/possibility that was crystalized in my memory of the great 1980s games.
Basically, a chimera.
This is really what I want Death Stranding to be.
It is rumored that Firaxis is working on a Marvel superhero X-Com game:
I dream about a giant openworld Carwars RPG. Topdown like Autoduel with simultaneous turn based conbat. I envision running a crew taking on various missions, having a central upgradeable base with a garage full of different vehicles. Lots of leveling and upgrading everywhere. Drivers, mechanics, doctors etc. All with different skill trees. Lots of weapons and car upgrades from buying them, finding then and of course building them. Throw in a nice campaighn, a career mode and mod support.
My ideal game is space-based, running a fully-staffed-and-walkable capital ship with away missions;
“Living world” with factions rising and falling
While there would be a “main story line”/campaign, that would really only serve as a long-form introduction/tutorial. Procedurally generated missions and content is the key, and where current tech falls short as the bloat and overhead this would create is very real;
Interactions with crew along with “RPG elements”
- everyone with their own sets of skills which change over time
- influenced individually based on their character and the decisions of the captain and events in the living world (did their homeworld just get attacked or join a different faction?)
- risk of loss in conflict
- when hiring on, they have a backstory to consider; is this person possibly a spy or saboteur? Do they have some connections outside the ship which could be of benefit in the long run if they get promoted? Will their story create opportunities for missions? Will they have your back and be your right hand when things get tough, or crumble and run?
- individual goal system: do they want to stay a red shirt their whole career or really desire to hop in the cockpit of a fighter, one day?
All of this… with full voice acting.
Wait, procedurally generated content with full voice acting, you ask? Well, my thought is an engine which incorporates VAST snippets of voice work paired with an AI language and facial animation system which would allow for flexible conversation construction. Key words to voice profiles (I think you’d need hundreds of profiles with thousands of phrases to keep the illusion strong) and connect a profile to each NPC. Such an engine doesn’t exist at this time, but I honestly think it’s a hole in the marketplace which will eventually get filled as the average PC/game system gets more and more powerful (it wouldn’t make sense to pour all that expense into a game only .01% of your potential consumer base could actually enjoy). The benefit in immersion would be so huge from my POV, however, so one day…
DLC would be totally marketable;
- more dialogue options covered under “new mission” add-ons
- typical new faction stuff
- new ship build-out options and activities (eg - go visit Ten Forward and partake in a game of cards with your senior crew in a game where interactions like that actually matters)
- new new ship types and upgrades
- celestial/special events to trigger more drama
Several games have tried aspects of this ideal game before, going back to BC3000AD among others. Each have met with stumbling blocks and haven’t been able to deliver the full experience. I figure we’re probably at least a decade away from all this being a reality, but I’d love to be proved wrong.
edit - a few additions I didn’t mention:
- fully moddable
- the ability to automate various aspects if the player doesn’t want to engage in them (eg - your XO could let you know about any alarming or unique happenings onboard, and you could make high-level decisions or choose to handle it personally)
- the ability to build & support a starbase or colony
I’d like to sign up for your zine please.
Wizardry 9 - Just give me the same great Wiz 7 gameplay with modern visuals and QoL improvements.
Battletech Universe - The complete singularity of Battletech games, encompassing the grand strategic level (BattleForce), Mech combat (Battletech), and out-of-mech combat (Mechwarrior RPG).
Star Wars Galaxies 2
The worst part about this dream though is that Paradox already has an excellent tactical BattleMech game, and an excellent grand-strategy houses & dynasties game (CK3). It would take what, 20 days? 30 days? just to mush these two code-bases together and create our dream game, but for some reason Paradox stubbornly refuses to do it.
I would want a game that was more like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, far more exploration of wilderness and various settlements, with violence present but not not at all center stage. Discovery more than plotting level ups. I’m not sure that I would want it to be about saving the world, though, like LOTR. LOTR-like in variety of places and characters, Hobbit-like in the flexibility of objectives.
So like Hobbit Quest. :) sounds awesome.
Freedom Force out of the box was pretty limited. But after modders had been working on it for a couple years, pretty much every comic character you could think of, famous or obscure, could be made in the game and played in a skirmish sandbox with a little elbow grease. I remember making a version of Zzax, who would constantly regenerate by drawing on the city’s power grid, and could only be defeated by destroying the power grid objects in the level (fuse boxes, streetlights, etc.) before confronting him directly. With all the mods installed, Freedom Force was basically a laboratory for dreaming up crazy superhero/villain concepts.
With that in mind, my dream game would be a 3D superhero brawler with RPG elements and destructible terrain explicitly designed for modding, to get that crazy amount of freedom that modded Freedom Force gave but without the limitations of that game’s control scheme. (RTS controls don’t feel very superheroic: I’d rather play one hero with responsive controls with AI wingmen a la Ultimate Alliance than constantly pause and give orders to the entire team.) Basically MUGEN, but as a 3D brawler with RPG stats.
Re: the rumored Firaxis Marvel game. Sounds great, but I’m old enough to remember glowing magazine previews of Simtex’s Guardians: Agents of Justice and being crushed when it never appeared. I will start believing only when it ships, to avoid a second heartbreak.
A game called Hobbit Quest? I had not heard of it, and I do not see it on Steam or You Tube.
Lord of the Rings Online kind of scratched this itch. Even more than a decade ago, when I played it, there were areas of the map that had been made obsolete by recent upgrades, so they were largely abandoned and it was amazing to explore and find amazing beautiful vistas in these high lonely places.
in 1999, I wanted to make a FPS that also had loot and RPG elements and skill progressions. Probably would have been pretty successful.
I’d also like to make a game based on Fantastic Voyage, a kitschy 60’s presentation. The levels write themselves as the entire movie is pretty much broken up into video game levels. You could choose to play one of 4 characters, and each playthrough would have you solve the problems based on your choice of character. Inside the human body is just such a great setting for a video game.
I dream of a:
- city builder that has hard budget constraints which are a real challenge
- a mix of public and private sector, like Distant Worlds, where I can’t perfectly control each parcel of land after I auction it except via zoning, repurchase, and eminent domain
- a political layer with meaningful character interactions by neighborhood, district, etc - I’m thinking a Crusader Kings of local development politics
Total War: Warhammer 40K. The only game I would ever need.