Browser-based MMO developer Bigpoint has been granted a licence by Syfy to make a game based on the Battlestar Galactica universe. Bill Kispert of NBC Universal said, “Battlestar Galactica is a supremely gameable intellectual property, with compelling character classes, a fantastic array of ships and weaponry, multiple worlds, and a dramatic storyline.”
Bigpoint is set to reveal plans to develop links between browser-based games and iPhone apps at GDC, in an interesting parallel with Microsoft’s Xbox/Windows Phone 7 link-up. To this end, the new game looks set to use the Unity game engine, which allows 3D graphics in browsers (its being used by Tiger Woods Online), and also has the advantage of being cross-platform (except for Linux).
While the peripheral news about use of the Unity engine and cross-device gaming is all very interesting, I’d imagine most BSG fans are like me, struggling to overcome the sense of impending doom to read that far into the story. BSG was one of the most sophisticated war dramas ever made, and that’s not usually the genre that makes me think ‘Browser MMO’.
Will there be only 45,000 spots in the MMO? Will there be class divides based on which colony you choose to come from? Will only Capricans get to be pilots? Should players from Aerilon be limited to being farmers? Will there be a player Quorum of Twelve? Will they have to represent players from their colonies? Who’s going to choose to be on the Tylium refinery ship? What about a death penalty?
Will it just be the one faction? An MMO makes more sense if it’s from the Cylon side (alts looking the same, respawn elsewhere when you die), and they can have more options on who to fight, but is everyone going to want to be Cylons all the time?
As you might be able to tell, I have thought about this a lot. I don’t think it’s a great idea. The only way I could see it working is if it was set during the original Cylon War. Then you’d have plenty of Battlestars to serve on, and you could have two factions and twelve playable areas (each colony world), which could be dynamic as to who’s in control of them.
On the plus side, there is one element of BSG that lends itself really well to gaming: “All of this has happened before, and will happen again”. Replayability!
Say it with me… Frak.