Perfect Ten: 10 franchises that deserve another shot at an MMO

Actually developing a title to not be a boring slog is a skill some developers have yet to master.

Some experiments are attempted once and fail, and it’s not hard to figure out why that didn’t work. We don’t really need to take another swing at Scarlet Blade to see why that didn’t work the first time. There’s no need to relaunch Hellgate: London on the assumption that this time it’ll work (even though that, uh, happens all the time). Heck, I feel like the endpoint of a title like Greed Monger was kind of implied by… that title, right? You see where this is going.

But there are other times when it seems like the industry tries something once and it doesn’t work, and then everyone just agrees to stop trying forever. Sure, I know there are a lot of reasons, but I can think of several game series or fictional IPs that got one shot at an MMO and then just never tried again, like the problem was the property and not the game that got made with it. So here’s my personal list of things that yes, maybe the industry ought to take another crack at. Maybe the games are gone, or maybe even the games that are still out there are not all-time legends of the form.

Well, I mean... all right.

1. Ghost in the Shell

I don’t understand why this franchise keeps getting games that are basically just shooters. Like, it’s not like that isn’t a part of the series, but the far more important elements are themes of identity and personhood in a cyberpunk future that feels increasingly distant from actual human contact. We could try to do this as something other than a bland team-based shooter, you know?


2. Marvel Comics

I didn’t like Marvel Heroes. I’m not sold on Marvel Snap, either (I don’t dislike it, I haven’t played it, maybe it’s great, people love it). But it’s really weird to me that we live in a stage where there is global recognition of Marvel heroes and yet we still don’t have an actual MMO set in any version of that universe. DC Comics has an MMO, and it’s not good at all, but it still makes tons of money!

“But didn’t you not want the last one of these that was announced?” Yes, that was about who was making it, and it’s irrelevant now since it was canceled. Again.


3. Transformers

Speaking of who was making something, I think Hasbro has just abandoned the idea of making an MMO on this property because it went so badly when Jagex had the keys to the car. Maybe the problem there was Jagex, guys. I know, this IP is one of my pet things and I am probably assigning it outsized importance, but it’s my list and I want to make my own Autobot, darn it.

freely shoots

4. Warhammer 40,000

In the grim darkness of the future, there is only war… and halfhearted attempts at online games. The sheer amount of material you can adapt from this setting makes the lack of more than one real attempt kind of baffling to me; even if it’s just a lobby-based shooter, then as long as you manage it competently and don’t overpromise and underdeliver, you’ll get some folks in the cheap seats just from the premise. Yet nobody seems eager to try.


5. Borderlands

All right, so the core FPS series hasn’t really been touched since 2014 in favor of spinoffs, so this property has probably cooled a fair bit. But the art style, gameplay loop, and sense of humor were a massive hit when the series first arrived, and let’s not forget that the Tales from the Borderlands series generally did well. So did Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, for that matter. There’s space for a free-roaming open-world post-apocalyptic shooter with a wicked sense of humor you know? In fact, on that note…

Classic barb wire gun.

6. Fallout

Yes, I know that Fallout 76 is no longer the We Don’t Talk About Bruno that it managed to be at launch. That’s very good; have half a holiday. But that doesn’t mean that the game encompasses everything that the people who hollered for years about getting an MMO in this universe would have wanted, nor does it mean there’s not still space for that. You can, in fact, have multiple online games exploring the same world in different ways. And this is coming from someone who isn’t even a huge fan of the world.

Oh, well, that's exactly like the actual book, you got it cold.

7. Otherland

So we all know by now that Otherland was an absolute waking nightmare of weirdness, and while it was not necessarily a good game, it was definitely memorable. Unfortunately, “memorable” without being good doesn’t exactly keep the server lights on. But all of the bizarre ideas that the game had are still lying there with the source material, and beyond that there’s even more stuff to be mined out, worlds from the books that were never explored and more beyond. I’m not surprised that this hasn’t been jumped on by this point, but it would make me very happy if someone did jump on it again.

Probably more friendly than Dragon's Catma.

8. Dragon’s Dogma

It’s really weird to me that Dragon’s Dogma gets treated like this franchise with a deep and meaningful history that everyone loves and when you actually get down to it the series is, like… two games, one of which was the online one that seemed to have totally failed to go over. At the same time, though, there was one game that’s still so loved that it maintains the sort of rabid fandom that most games need to invent a genre to maintain, so that makes me think trying to recapture that… might be a good idea? Maybe? Hey, Capcom, if Blue Protocol goes well, maybe you should take a crack at this?

C'mon, do something.

9. Deadlands

All right, I’m actually lying here; I don’t think anyone has really taken a serious crack at adapting Deadlands, and probably for good reason. But the fact of the matter is that online games keep trying to adapt the Western genre and keep managing to screw it up in various ways. Sure, part of this is a problem that Westerns fundamentally have: that you can’t all be the fastest gun in the west, a problem that most roleplaying games solve by making wizards and clerics and rogues and stuff so that everyone gets to do a few things well. You get the idea.

Look, the point is that there is space to explore here, and yes, you might have to get a little magical and weird to make it all fun and balanced, but there’s no reason not to at least give it a shot.

10. World of Darkness

This project fell apart a long time ago, and any attempts to revive it kind of fall afoul of the fact that the people who own the project are… not people whom I would want to give this project. Sorry, CCP Games fans, but not every developer is suited to every project. But there’s still a whole lot of material here, some of it deeply problematic but some of it just catchy, and I’d really like to see another attempt at reviving it one of these days.

Or, I mean, you could always try Exalted if you have to go with fantasy.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at or with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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