Themepark MMOs and single-player games have long dominated the gaming landscape, a trend that currently seems to be giving way to a resurgence of sandbox titles. Though games like Fallout and the Elder Scrolls series have always championed sandbox gameplay, very few publishers seem willing to throw their weight behind open-world sci-fi games. Space simulator Elite was arguably the first open-world game in 1984, and EVE Online is currently closing in on a decade of runaway success, yet the gaming public’s obsession with space exploration has remained relatively unsatisfied for years.
Crowdsourced funding now allows gamers to cut the publishers out of the picture and fund game development directly. Space sandbox game Star Citizen is due to close up its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter tomorrow night, adding over $1.6 million US to its privately crowdfunded $2.7 million. The creator of Elite has also launched his own campaign to fund a sequel, and even the practically vapourware sandbox MMO Infinity has announced plans to launch a campaign. While not all of these games will be MMOs, it may not be long before EVE Online has some serious competition. EVE can’t really change much of its fundamental gameplay, but these new games are being built from scratch and can change all the rules. If you were making a new sandbox MMO from the ground up and could change anything at all, what would you do?
In this week’s EVE Evolved, I consider how I’d build a sandbox MMO from the ground up, what I’d take from EVE Online, and what I would change.