5 IPs That Would Make Great MMOs

What could be better than taking a much-beloved video game title and converting it into an MMORPG? You’ve already got a rabid, gaming-savvy fanbase in place, so slap on some MMO trappings, and it’s like printing money, right?

If Star Wars: The Old Republic and Final Fantasy XIV have taught us anything, it ain’t that easy. And feelings are still mixed regarding the upcoming The Elder Scrolls Online.

On the flip side, Final Fantasy XI did all right, and there was that one MMO based on an RTS that’s done pretty well… World of Something-or-Other.

There are still quite a few juicy properties out there that would seem like ideal fits for the MMO convert-o-tron, at least on paper. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorites:

mmorpg     5 IPs That Would Make Great MMOs

Mass Effect

With a rich background, a universe of characters and races, and a gaming powerhouse like BioWare behind it – stop snickering, we’ll get back to that – who wouldn’t want to see a Mass Effect MMO?

How about anyone who’s quit Star Wars: The Old Republic? Yes, that hasn’t worked out so well, to put it mildly. But you’d like to think that, given a chance to start fresh, BioWare wouldn’t make the same mistakes twice… right?

OK, let’s assume BioWare has virtually nothing to do with it. Assume that the IP is farmed out to another developer. If BioWare was (mostly) out of the equation, wouldn’t you be stoked for it?

If it’s done right, a Mass Effect MMO could be one of the biggest things to hit the industry. If it’s done wrong, that hit would be more of a giant, wet thud.

mmorpg     5 IPs That Would Make Great MMOs

Pokémon

Speaking of big, it doesn’t get much bigger than Pokémon, and it’s surprising that Nintendo hasn’t already gone this route. The translation would seem to be pretty direct: a vast, open world where you accumulate your Pokémon, gym leaders as boss fights, multi-player duels… yeah, that could all work.

Nintendo dissed MMOs years ago, preferring to concentrate on, we suppose, less obsessive group games, like your typical Wii offerings. But that hasn’t stopped fans from trying their hand at creating online Pokémon titles.

If I were a betting man, I’d say it’s just a matter of time before Nintendo jumps on board with the idea. It’s too obvious to pass up.

mmorpg     5 IPs That Would Make Great MMOs

Fallout

I was first keyed to the notion that Bethesda/ZeniMax was working on an MMO last year. My hope was not for The Elder Scrolls Online, but for Fallout Online.

Despite TES’s greater audience, I think there would have been considerably less cynicism regarding Fallout, and it would have avoided that whole “just another fantasy MMO” complaint. There’s very little out there in the realm of post-apocalyptic MMOs, and – with all due respect to The War Z and Fallen EarthFallout likely would have sported much better production values.

It also would have likely been smaller, and more niche than an Elder Scrolls MMO, but is that such a bad thing for a company’s first MMO? Let ZeniMax work out the kinks with Fallout Online, and once they’re figured out, then take your flagship franchise and make an MMO out of it. If only BioWare would have taken that approach.

mmorpg     5 IPs That Would Make Great MMOs

Grand Theft Auto

And while we’re on the topic of shooters, why not an online version of the granddaddy of all vehicular homicide titles, Grand Theft Auto?

Yes, we have All Points Bulletin and CrimeCraft, but suffice to say neither have really captured gamers’ imagination. It might take a big license to put this genre on the map. Imagine a vast, sprawling city with multiple crime factions fighting over territory in vicious gang wars, using any assortment of hand weapons, vehicles, and even heavy weaponry to achieve dominance.

Wait a second… I think I just described PlanetSide 2.

mmorpg     5 IPs That Would Make Great MMOs

Starcraft

That fan-made Starcraft Universe mod gave us a taste of what a Starcraft MMO could look like. Imagine what it would be like if Blizzard put all its weight (and dollars) behind such a project.

Three-faction PvP is a given, though maybe instead of fighting over fixed bases, such as in PlanetSide 2 or Guild Wars 2, you’d have the option of building – or at least contributing resources to build – facilities, which could themselves be attacked and destroyed, then rebuilt, then destroyed…

Admittedly, this sounds very much like the base game itself, so you’d probably need a strong PvE element to differentiate it. And there’s some question as to whether fans of the RTS would really flock to an RPG-style experience. Do SC players enjoy the game for the tactical strategy or because they really want to pretend to be Protoss?

But hey, Blizzard made it work once.

Jason Winter has held several positions in the tabletop and video-gaming industry since 1996, including writer, editor, marketing coordinator, and game designer. He's the former editor of Beckett Massive Online Gamer and almost considers himself competent in PvP. In addition to his work with Gamebreaker.tv, he also blogs about video games at http://jasonwinter.wordpress.com.
  • http://www.facebook.com/eecjr Edward Crockett Jr.

    Add Warhammer.. this deserves to be redone correctly.  It’s such a great IP, wasted on Mythic.

  • ToriMcgrath

    This is so perfect! All of these would make fantastic MMOs! sign me up, take my money, lets make this happen yeah?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1339406775 Matthew Riddle

    I disagree. Everyone thought Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic would be a great MMO, but it ended up losing many of the qualities that made it so good.

    I think the best MMOs that have come out recently haven’t been translations from previous single-player games.

    RIFT, Guild Wars 2, even World of Warcraft just used the characters from previous Warcraft games. These games are the only MMOs that are stable right now, and haven’t taken a huge hit, or have had to go F2P or B2P to survive.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tiago-Mota/100001543624911 Tiago Mota

       no offense or anythin but isnt GW2 B2P?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1339406775 Matthew Riddle

        Yes, but it was planned that way from the start.

    • 7BitBrian

      Eve Online says hi.

    • http://www.facebook.com/yomanation Dennis Grigoropoulos

      Just because EA/Bioware can’t make an MMORPG even if their life depended on it doesn’t mean that an Old Republic MMO wasn’t a  good idea. The game simply wasn’t good enough.

  • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

    Starcraft the MMO, talk about player housing. 

  • http://twitter.com/RichardIRL Richard Elder

    Almost any video game IP could be turned into a good MMO if you have the right concept and right team. Granted there’s a lot that would be difficult to impossible to convert to an MMO style of game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andri-Sigurðsson/593896740 Andri Sigurðsson

    How about no..

    Stop ruining great IP’s with trying to make them into MMO money machines.

  • http://twitter.com/Zedris Zedris

    well mass effect is a big no no we saw what happened when bioware entered the mmo market with swtor so dont ruin that ip at least. pokemon and starcraft are the only ones i see that could make it. and pokemon even more so.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jerremyk1 Jeremy Keat

      In all respects SWTOR plays nothing like a Mass Effect game or i’d be playing it today. Even in the Star Wars IP, I’d still be enjoying it if it played like a Mass Effect game. Only makes sense with guns and the way melee works in ME is fully functional, varied and quite fun along with the physics and abilities.

  • Key Foster

    Mass Effect and Fallout oh yeah those would be good. I’m not really a pokemon man  put I must say it would make for a very good mmo, heck it would make a good rts with new elements to add to the rts genre also. Please please please please please let TESO be great!!!

    I know everything TESO needs to make it “the one” lol. (literally)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Marioitalian Mario Ivanhoe Abatiello

     grand theft auto would be a great mmo if done right….ONLY if done right and not shitty like APB no1 wants buy to win or hackers that fail to be baned but an mmo version of a crim orginization would be a great game

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002854712492 Orosanu Bogdan

    Agree with Fallout only.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Hatcher/100000111448255 David Hatcher

    Alien Vs Predator, the MMO. (3 faction PvP action)
    Harry Potter  (Turbine/Warner is almost certainly working on one)
    Littles/Arriety (little people who live in the walls themed MMO, kids need MMOs too)
    Cowboy Bebop just begs to be an MMO
    We need some kind of Pirate eta MMO that doesnt suck.
    We need a steampunkish MMO. I dont know what IP would be usable.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Dexiled Kurt Camilleri

      maybe a trigun mmo?

      • http://www.facebook.com/that.nerdy.italian.boy John Czuchrak

         I would put money toward the production of that

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Hatcher/100000111448255 David Hatcher

         Trigun = Cowboy Bebop + Wild West (more or less) and yes I would play that.

        A wild west MMO themed MMO with open world PK would make alot of sense.  Like Wurm Online with decent graphics and Colt pistols.

    • http://twitter.com/dularr Dularr

      Don’t know when/if Blizzard is going to announce their steampunkish MMO. 

    • 7BitBrian

       Pirates of the Burning Seas is actually a in depth little sandbox. The avatar combat is a bit lacking but the ship aspects of the game are beyond superb.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Hatcher/100000111448255 David Hatcher

        I played that game right up until the PK got in the way of my PvE.  There is no protection for a new player trying to build up from being trashed and looted by veterans.

    • http://twitter.com/winterinformal Jason Winter

      “We need some kind of Pirate era MMO that doesnt suck.”

      I think there are plenty of good “historical era” MMOs that could be done — the vast majority of what we get are set in the medieval “swords and sorcery” era. I’d be interested in a decent Roman Empire game (ie, not Gods & Heroes), a Wild West game, or a pirate game, with some form of colonial exploration-type stuff mixed in, if possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Parsons/100001824377795 Joseph Parsons

     demon’s souls mmo do it

  • http://www.facebook.com/jerremyk1 Jeremy Keat

    I agree with this list I like many have stated this numerous times, Mass Effect basically because of when I heard they were willing to do SWTOR I feel it wouldn’t have been so generic feeling and having to compete directly with WoW (which has 6+ years over it in development). Mass Effect gameplay would make a great MMO format I think with good AI and content design, ditch the whole WoW/EQ gameplay.

    Pokemon MMO, it only made sense for today. I wanted this for the last 4 years asking around for it and talking about it’s potential. Whether it plays like the game bot, Pokemon stadium or perhaps a more action-style, it is all workable and well designed for a game. It already has the perfect pen and paper / card game lay out, along with the last game’s formats being an awesome success. An MMO of the pokemon world just kind of goes with the whole Pokemon theme, constantly expanding adventure, new challengers, finding/catching new pokemon, playing with friends, socializing, trading and “becoming the very best like no one ever was”.

    Grand Theft Auto I was chanting this not long after I quit playing Vice City. “I wish it was a multiplayer”, then I went to saying online multiplayer then later when I figured the tech could handle it: An MMO. The weapon variety, getting money from street jobs, buying guns, creating random mayhem and the physics and vehicle mechanics along with the in game AI and content challenges. APB just isn’t the same as GTA in how one experiences or plays it. It’s not a free world to do whatever you want in a sense with too much cops vs robbers feel of limiting the game to a simple open world TPS, rather than an open world chaotic playground- with guns included.

    Fallout doesn’t need and explanation really and Starcraft, it is easy to see possible layouts. I know Blizzard doesn’t want all their IP’s to feel like they are to be doomed to MMOs for retirement. They are already minimal on IP’s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Miguel-Crespo/501398647 Miguel Crespo

    1. Halo but not as a Shooter like Planet side, but as a RPG like kingdoms of amalur
    2. Legacy of Kain
    3. Onimusha

  • Deadnstien

    I’m gonna disagree with GTA. That style of MMO has already been tried with APB and it fizzled, even after it went FTP. All the others I can agree with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yomanation Dennis Grigoropoulos

    Strongly disagree with Grand Theft Auto, I doubt it could work. The rest, and especially Pokemon, is really intriguing. Reason why I pick Pokemon is because it would provide a completely different experience compared to the other MMOs AND the framework is already there. They only need to put the effort to craft a very big open ended world without unnecessary loading screens, the battle system and everything else is pretty much already there. Will need a massive world for it to work properly in real time too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=862175353 Gavin Morgan

    Warhammer 40K……………………..oh look it was shelved./facepalm
    How about Warhammer online 2 and drop the other crock of shit.

    • http://twitter.com/winterinformal Jason Winter

      I was limiting the article to “video games to make into an MMO.” Even though there have been WH40K video games, I tend to think of it as a non-electronic product.

      But you’re right, it probably would make for a sweet game :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rasmus.nielsen.75491 Rasmus Nielsen

    Considering I quit SWTOR mainly because of how BioWare Ruined Mass Effect, I wouldn’t touch a Mass Effect MMO if I got paid to play it.

    And GTA? WTF? Seriously, the most monotonous boring gameplay ever in any game in the history of ever? Pokemon? Sure But why?

    Starcraft, ugh, would rather see a proper Sci-Fi setting, like Warhammer 40K, rather than that.And Fallout? As an MMO? Only if someone other than Bethesda does it, they’ve already made enough crap games.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260066056 Steven Diaz

      In other words, you hate most games.

  • Krzysztof Kotarba

    DAY Z mmo :D

  • http://twitter.com/TheAshBringer23 Peter

    Well from the top 5 above, SC2 , but a third person League of Legends MMORPG would be fun to see xD

  • DoctorOverlord

    I think video games would provide a much better setting for MMOs than movie or book IPs.   Game IPs just seem more flexible to the needs of, well gaming.   Their lore is already built around game mechanics like catching pokemon or warring factions.  

    Even board games like Warhammer 40k would have difficulty fitting into an MMO I think.   A WH40k MMO might sound cool but there are really too many factions in the lore and the WH fans would get annoyed when you leave out the ones they like.   Video games work with with many of the limitations and balance issues that are familiar to MMOs and seem like they would be the better choice.  

  • http://twitter.com/Stone_LX9 Stone LX9

    Umm,. I dunno. A survival type game, like Day Z maybe.

    I’m kind of burnt out on the fantasy setting at the moment.  

  • Logun 24×7

    RDRO

    Red Dead Redemption Online

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260066056 Steven Diaz

    After ME3, DA2, and SWTOR, I wouldn’t touch another Bioware game.  Pokemon, I’ve ALWAYS felt like that was the PERFECT setting for an MMO.  It’s already set up to be that way through the story.  Starcraft would be interesting, I like Starcraft a bit more than Warhammer due to the fact that Warhammer is made up of zealots.  Fallout would also be interesting.  GTA is a HUGE nono in my opinion.  I feel like that game wouldn’t fit in.

  • http://twitter.com/Chaos5061 Louis

    Is there such a thing as a Fighting game MMO? I’m gonna have to look that up. And I’m not talking about action I mean straight Street Fighter or Tekken fighting game MMO.

  • http://twitter.com/Chaos5061 Louis

    And no lobby either. Your just in a Open World.