Multigames; Some thoughts on how to combine a casual linear game with a non linear hardcore game, and would there be any benefits in doing so.
With multigames I mean games that are more than one game in some sense. Most games are this by offering an experience in a set number of parts like rpgs with exploring\combat\cutscene and so fourth. This makes the gameplay more variable.
But some games goes longer than this with making games that appeals to more different types of people while also making them varied. Team Fortress 2 is a game like this; it got different classes that each can give drastically different experiences.
In Team Fortress 2 the spy class with its empathy on infiltrating\blending\stealth kills will give a totally different experience and challenge, than the much straight forward casual pyro class. With these two classes and the 5 others you get a game that can appeal to more than one type of customer.
But how would one make something that would appeal to vastly different groups of people, like casual and hardcore.
Learning from the world.
The world shows us that pleasing massively different types of people is possible, but that it is done at a vastly different scale than the scale games is at today. You need critical mass to get certain type of tings to take place. Like there has to be a set number of people together for there to be specialised jobs and so on. Or in other words a city needs to be of a certain size, before certain products that got a small number of buyers can be sold and be lucrative in that city.
In games once you get past a certain number of people playing at the same server you get big alliances and complex politics, you get a different game. The players become the game and the game becomes merely a service for the players to interact with one another. This has happened in MMOs like Eve Online. A game were the players creates the content and the developers merely creates the tools for them to interact with one another. This is a massive benefit to a game, to be able to generate content by itself.
Growing the next gen MMO
But the biggest problem in Eve Online is the fact that it is like the medieval ages. Were the ones who survive is the most brutal and treacherous people. This does make Eve Online an interesting place but not a place for the casual who wants to have some easy fun. But one has to remember Eve Online is a game that started out as a linear game full of strangers and general anarchy. It has come a long way, Eve had to basically build a world, a society with complete strangers, and they have organised themselves very quickly into big alliances making things more stable. Eve Online is fascinating in that it recreates the evolution of humans in virtual space, and it has just started.
As numbers of players in Eve Online grows and time goes on I am certain Eve Online will just like nations in the real life, which has gone from the terrible medieval ages to our days of modern stable democracies, will change into something different as critical mass gets high enough in Eve Online and time goes on. For the next gen MMO or the game that combines multiple genres in one dynamic world cannot be created, it can only be grown with a lot of time. What I am saying is that a big MMO is not a game in a common sense it is a society made up by humans. And such a society when started off with only people not knowing one another than that society will start off as an anarchy, in other words not very casual friendly. But as time progresses these people will go together in groups and you will end up with a few major factions if critical mass is high enough. This will make the place more casual friendly, and if the developers does the right things, these groups can develop into some sort of democracies furthering the stability in the game.
Combining games or creating what I would call multigames.
The developer of Eve Online will soon release an fps in which the battles fought in it, will affect the outcome in attempts of players in eve to control planets. Only Eve Online got the critical mass and developed community today to do such a brilliant move successfully. It will combine the non linear and community strengths of Eve Online with the strength of an fps like easy accessibility and instant easy fun if done correctly and with a dose of luck this will mark the creation of the first truly multigame, a meld of the strengths of completely different genres that gives an appeal to casual and hardcore players alike.
Only the beginning.
There is still a colossal untapped market out there. What if one made games like My Farm on face book have an effect on Eve Online and visa versa? Let Facebook players create farms in colonies on new planets for eve players and let SimCity players create cities around them, let Mafia players do crime stuff in those cities and let the SimCity owners and Eve players create police forces to battle them. The first to create such a game would be in an even more dominant position than World of Warcraft is today. It would be the windows of games.
That was my thoughts on the subject and I hope it was worth your time spent reading it! read