On a global scale, the video game industry is worth over $90 billion.
In light of that, it’s hard to think of a development team that hasn't or isn't already creating a product that caters to the weirdest, most specific niche you’ve ever heard of.
A game where you work as border patrol that’s actually fun? We’ve got that. Various legitimate forms of farming games that don’t bore you to tears? We’ve got that, too. A game that houses the most famous horror killers to pit against survivors? Really, we’re spoiled for choice.
However, there are some ideas for games that I’m pretty sure the industry won’t touch. Sometimes these ideas might even sound good, but when you break them down into what they'd end up playing like, you soon realise it would lose your attention quickly. A cool, powerful character seems alright from the outside but when you realise he's an unkillable monster, then the challenge disappears. Ultimately, there are risks involved in even the coolest ideas and that’s exactly the point. This list will look at10 video games the industry will never do, be it down to budget, lack ofpriority or potential risk.
10. Dishonored: The Outsider
Supporting characters are no stranger to the Dishonored franchise. In all actuality, Dishonored is as much about the people The Outsider has touched with his mark as it ever was about Corvo himself. From Corvo to Daud and Emily to Billie, we’ve played as four very different characters who each bring their own supernatural flair to the table. However, this flair would mean nothing without the motivation of The Outsider himself.
It’s hard to explain exactly what The Outsider is, he’s in the same grey area as the G-Man, with a lot more talking. A mix between some kind of god and some kind of otherworldly presence, The Outsider bestows his powers, stopping time, teleportation, etc. onto others.
So, how awesome would it be to play as the power generator himself? Well, it would have been until Arkane released Death of the Outsider. That’s not to say it’s entirely because he was laid to rest in this standalone DLC, but it’s due to the fact he was more or less stuck in another realm.
Awesome powers, interactions with historical figures throughout the Dishonored universe and a look at how The Outsider would run things, but… he’s dead and was held captive in his own universe sized prison.
9. The Witcher: Ciri
We spent The Witcher 3 looking for Ciri, hearing about her journeys and then playing as her for several, fairly short sequences. It was refreshing and showed the lighter, more agile side of what a witcher can be. Although, it's worth mentioning that, since these sections were so short, there was no limit to how much power Ciri could showcase.
I can’t see anyone disagreeing with Cirila getting her own spin-off title, even if it was considerably shorter. I feel like CD Projekt Red might also be for it, considering their love for the series.
However, the main factor here is how stretched out the company are, even more so as of late. They had the amazing success of The Witcher 3 and even before that released there was chatter about Cyberpunk 2077. They’re dedicated to their massive projects and that dedication likely means there’s no time for experimentation.
A game as rich and in-depth as The Witcher but with Ciri as the main character would be a pleasant change of tone from Geralt’s moodiness. Considering the sheer scale and time commitments of CDPR, though, I don’t see it happening.
8. A VR MMORPG
For this entry it’s simply a premise. Though, it’s a premise that everyone will fully understand the implications of. Whether it’s from Ready Player One, South Park or some other exaggerated portrayal of MMO or VR gaming culture.
These days, it's not difficult to immerse yourself and spend a full day playing video games. When you bring an RPG, levelling or a multiplayer environment into play, that number only goes up. Now think about that with the addition of a lifelike world where you can move freely and interact with your own hands. That’s the future, right there.
Levelling your character, roaming the lands, chatting and trading with other players. Part of me believes this is inevitable but then another part of me argues that it’ll just never happen. What if VR dies? What if we’re still another decade away from significant, immersive progress in the VR space?
I do believe VR is one future for gaming, and the possibility of combining it with a model as addictive and immersive as an MMORPG is something to lose sleep over. However, we are a long, long way away from something that won’t be jarring after a few hours.
7. A True Survival Game
Survival is one of the most over-saturated genres in the video game industry, ever since Minecraft came out over a decade ago. Yet, nothing really feels realistic. Plenty of games offer a full, air tight experience, such as that of Terraria, a slight copy of Minecraft.
However, the whole survival crafting exploration idea has been attempted by everyone and their mother, with even the biggest developers jumping on the bandwagon.
Games like Tomb Raider and Metal Gear Solid have also had survival elements stuck on the side for whatever reason. So, where’s the actual, realistic survival game?
Day Z is about as close as we ever got and that is now a rotting zombie carcass. The Forest isn’t dead but it’s not exactly what I’m thinking. All these games are either unfinished, unpolished, shallow or for some reason, add some antagonistic monsters into the mix.
Hunger, thirst, sleep, warmth, there’s your fundamentals. I suppose you’d need some kind of abandoned or wasteland environment but why does that have to imply monsters, is my question.
Hunting could be another key feature, as well as, of course, crafting your supplies and cooking your food. Why will a true, simplistic survival experience never get made? Because the masses would get bored of it if there was nothing to kill except deer and bears.
6. Borderlands: Handsome Jack
In the vein of Ciri or The Outsider, we come to Handsome Jack. The issue here is that the idea was kind of done in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. There were two issues with that, though.
Firstly, you don’t play as Jack, you play alongside him as one of his many henchmen. Secondly, when you do play as Jack, it’s as his stunt double doppelganger-thing. Technicalities aside, throughout Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel we’re given so much exposition on Jack as a character. Some good, a lot bad and a tiny little bit in regard to his previous life before becoming a villain.
Now, imagine the Borderlands style, perhaps slightly dialled back for a specific, more focused narrative experience, that lets you play through a section of Jack’s life.
The directors he’s back-stabbed… or killed, the settlements he’s destroyed and the people he’s stepped over to get where he got to. There must be so much story left over about Handsome Jack that simply couldn’t fit into the released titles.
However, again, considering Jack was the villain in Borderlands 2 and the supporting role in the Pre-Sequel, I seriously doubt we’ll see even more of him. That is, unless Gearbox get in dire trouble with their sales.
5. A Good Superman Game
The most obvious example of a game that will likely never get done, properly. Spider-Man works because his super strength and web slinging make for awesome gameplay elements without the cost of him being unable to die.
Same goes for Batman, so many gadgets but do they stop him dying? No, in fact, Batman is basically the perfect candidate for a video game, due to him being a normal bloke with fat stacks in the bank.
Superman, though, the guy who can deflect bullets, fly around the world, shoot lasers from his eyes and kill someone with his pinky finger, is a bit trickier. Unless you’re willing to absolutely neuter him, how could this be done properly?
My first thought is: he’s somehow held in a weird form of captivity, surrounded by kryptonite. Then, as he makes his way further, the effects grow weaker and he can slowly get certain powers back but… that just sounds awful.
We want to be flying around town, blowing things over and shooting lasers. Except, Superman wouldn’t be throwing civilians off of buildings like any normal gamer would, so player choice would need to be controlled.
4. Portal VR
VR seems like the next logical step in the evolution of video games, whether people want to believe it or not. The price point will drop, as well as the technology and creativity improving on a yearly basis, regardless of what naysayers think.
However, one sticking point that's been around since the very spoken word of virtual reality is motion sickness. My belief in the technology and dropping price point don't blind me from the many elements of VR that can induce motion sickness for many players.
Take movement for example, we already have different forms of locomotion that can prevent people from getting dizzy or nauseous. Next on the list is dealing with in-game perception, such as heights, speed and momentum.
Even when that's done, though, Valve have said themselves that Portal is simply not on the virtual table. Flinging players through the air, having them stand on things, balancing and other movement based puzzles just won't mesh well with VR, no matter how much we want it.
That's exactly why they chose Half-Life for their VR endeavour. Plenty of puzzles? Sure. However, said puzzles are based around the environment, not moving through physics breaking portals at various angles and speeds.
I have never suffered motion sickness from virtual reality, but I can only imagine the unintentional horror that would be Portal VR.
3. A Valve Crossover
Speaking of Valve. Crossovers, whether in video games, comic books or films, have time and time again proven to be some of the most lucrative projects available.
So, why don’t more people do it?
Some try, some plant the seeds of an attempt, and others fail miserably due to their blind, unprepared rush. However, there are a few select companies that have the potential of creating a successful, seamless crossover that would make perfect sense.
Half-Life, Portal and Left 4 Dead are three examples of Valve's unique characters, environments and motivations, while still holding similarities between them.
For instance, zombies are rampant in Half-Life and there's been the implication of a feud between Black Mesa and Aperture Science since the original Portal released. Somehow, even if it was in an experimental, fan service-y format that just uses the character line-up for familiarity, I think it could be successful.
Going beyond that, though, it's surely pure fantasy. Valve are some of the most stubborn, tight lipped, adamant developers to ever grace the industry. They have enough money rolling in via Steam to never make a game again.
They still do, though and whether that's reason for or against a crossover is up to you. Regardless, I can only dream of the interactions between Gordon Freeman and Chell, GLaDOS and the G-Man or even Cave Johnson and Eli Vance.
2. Playing As A Horror Villain
I feel like this concept is halfway there and has been since Left 4 Dead came out. You can play as special infected, you can play as Jason, the Xenomorph or the Predator.
Yet, no game has ever gone all the way.
Friday the 13th tried and failed due to legal reasons and Alien vs Predator was a weird concept in general. Dead by Daylight is about as far as it really goes in terms of success, with other titles, such as: Evolve, Last Year and Secret Neighbour trailing very, very far behind.
All those games are examples of why the concept doesn’t really work. You can’t be an unstoppable killing machine without placing some kind of limitation on one player and giving the other set of players certain exceptions. This only furthers my point when you realise there has to be other humans involved because it’d be boring playing against a bunch of NPCs that just run away.
Now, since there are humans on both sides, everyone needs to be given a fair, balanced chance at playing their way or the game would just die completely.
In conclusion, this entry has almost been done, with the likes of Dead by Daylight and Left 4 Dead, but it will always be confined to multiplayer and that brings its own set of issues.
1. Bethesda Merchant Simulator
I don’t know why this comes into my head, but as any avid fan of Bethesda will know, you spend so much of your time talking to merchants, of all kinds.
We can use either The Elder Scrolls or Fallout series as examples of their various traders or even just memorable characters themselves, considering that’s who you’ll be interacting with. Now, this doesn’t have to be a full-blown, triple-A title, in fact, when I think of it, it’s likely suited for mobile.
Even better than playing as a well-known character such as Moira Brown or Belethor, you could take the role of your own travelling merchant. This way certain RPG elements will remain intact, such as: character customisation, exploration and the choice between smooth talking, stiff bartering or a more aggressive, physical approach.
That way, those who are into the dialogue or travelling of a Bethesda game can have a more focused experience.
Another interesting point to ponder would be how you’d get your wares. Simply by trading with others? Hiring explorers or scavengers?
Maybe even getting your own hands dirty. That's just a wild idea that's always floated around my mind when playing Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. So, if Bethesda want to make it happen, you know where to find me.