With MMOs probably being the least represented genre on consoles, the gates of fame and fortune appear to be wide open for anyone bold enough to take that uncertain step. One of the companies doing so is Turbine who recently revealed they have a console MMO in active development. Details about the project are scarce, but we know they do have some ambitions.
During their GDC Austin presentation where he talked about building online games for consoles, Craig Alexander, Turbine’s vice president of product development, said that among their goals are to create fifth generation MMOs that look as good as Fable II or Fallout 3 and offer substantially revised gameplay. Alexander believes that thanks to their user-friendliness, intuitiveness and instant access, consoles are actually the superior MMO platform and, if history is used as a guide, MMOs might just revolutionize consoles in the same way they did PCs.
Of course, porting a PC MMO straight to a console is a big no-no as design challenges such as different display/input devices, distance from the screen, complex UI, and others, need to be overcome. Alexander advises other console MMO makers not to make assumptions based on their PC MMO experiences and remember that any console MMO should be just that — a console game first and MMO second.
And by “consoles,” he means Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 by the way, “It’s the 360 and the PS3 where we really finally have the hardware and the storage capacity to develop what we consider more traditional MMOs with lots of content … The hardware in the Wii more closely resembles the previous generation than the current one. It’s just not there yet.”