Star Trek Online is a natural choice for a massively multiplayer game: multiple interesting factions and classes, space and ground combat, and the exploration of strange new worlds. (Read Morgan's hands-on preview here!) This has inspired us to comb over our favorite television shows and see how well they'd translate as an MMO. And because we obviously know how to develop video games ourselves, here are our pitches for Five TV Series That Should Be MMOs. Interested publishers can make checks payable to "Andrew Pfister," and I'll see to it that the development process gets started immediately.
Number Five: Saved by the Bell
Factions: Bayside, Valley
Classes: Class Clown, Jock, Geek, Rich Girl, Cheerleader, Honor Student
Example Quest: Beat Valley!
The Pitch: Hmm...let's see. The starting zone could be a junior high out in Indiana...player skills could include "Time Out," "Zack Attack," and "So Excited"...the guild hall can be The Max...you uh, you fight against...uh...screw it. Put something crappy on Facebook and the hipsters and nerds will buy it just because it's ironic. I know this because I own and proudly wear a Bayside High gym t-shirt. There's the business plan.
Factions: Good, Evil, Sarcastic
Classes: Watcher, Slayer, Vampire, Space Vampire, Werewolf, Space Werewolf, Spaceship Captain, Vampire Spaceship Captain, Doll Vampire Spaceship Captain
Example Quest: Hire Captain Drusilla to take you through the Mars hell-mouth, slay 20 corrupted Dolls, rescue Neil Patrick Harris, and make it back to Earth before 6th period math.
The Pitch: Obviously, we're just going to hire fanfic writers to do the bulk of the design.
Number Three: V (The 80s Version)
Factions: Visitors, Resistance, Friends of the Visitors, Fifth Column
Classes: Soldier, Pilot, Spy, Ambassador, Discredited Scientist
Example Quest: The Starchild is being born! Defend the Resistance medical lab with your pew-pew lasers until the delivery is complete!
The Pitch: My childhood memory tells me that the 1983 version of V is far superior to the 2009 reboot, so we're going with that (V Online 2 can be the updated one). Invading alien army takes control of Earth, with a human resistance force sprouting up to take it back? Aside from the thousands of logistical, technical, marketing, and design problems, how could this possibly not work as an MMO? You've got: laser guns, evil lizards, rad uniforms and sunglasses, espionage on both sides, aerial battles, and 80s Michael Ironside. I repeat: 80s Michael Ironside.
Number Two: Deadwood
Factions: Lawmen, Pinkertons, Merchants
Classes: Saloon/Casino/Bordello Proprietor, Sheriff, Road Agent, Gold Miner, Doctor, Drunk
Example Quest: Bring 10 dead bodies to Wu.
The Pitch: It is not out of want that we propose this new entertainment, but it is truly a f***'in necessity. That you f***in' *******ers stand in the f***in' way of our blades and our commerce, the building of towns and assembling of posses to defend against the hostile tribes, our thieving and whoring...that you would deny even the simplest f***ing amusement of a god-damned horserace is so great an insult that I might run my knife across your neck. But first, do us the courtesy of looking at our f***ing design doc, to which then you can rightly reject this modest f***ing proposal, while still preserving your own dear life.
Number One: Seinfeld
Example Quest: You get up and go to work. There's a quest. That's a quest.
Andrew: And it's about nothing?
Patrick: Absolutely nothing.
Andrew: So you're saying, I go in to Blizzard, and tell them I got this idea for an MMO about nothing.
Patrick: We go into Blizzard.
Andrew: "We?" Since when are you a designer?
Patrick: (scoffs) Designer. We're talking about an MMO.
Andrew: You want to go with me to Blizzard?
Patrick: Yeah. I think we really got something here.
Andrew: What do we got?
Patrick: An idea.
Andrew: What idea?
Patrick: An idea for the MMO.
Andrew: I still don't know what the idea is!
Patrick: It's about nothing!
Patrick: Everybody's doing something. We'll do nothing!
Andrew: So, we go into Blizzard, we tell them we've got an idea for an MMO about nothing.
Andrew: They say, "What's your MMO about?" I say, "Nothing."
Patrick: There you go.
Andrew: ...I think you may have something here.