Before the end of this year we'll have Fallout 76 and Red Dead Online - online versions of beloved games, an idea that would've seemed crazy ten years ago. Now players are demanding long-term relationships with even the most narrative-driven single-player series, refusing to accept that the missions ever have to end. They don't want NPCs, they want real people, they want in-game events that are public, they want to show off every chunk of armor or sharp shot. We got the GamesRadar+ team to share their ideas for the next big online universe. This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter.
Although technically you could classify Pokemon Go as the multiplayer version of Pokemon, it still feels like an incredibly personal experience. But imagine a Pokemon world that's like Destiny or Monster Hunter World, filled with fellow trainers on their quest to catch 'em all, and seeing all the 'mon wandering around the world with more of an appropriate size scale. There's so much scope for interaction between other players too, whether it's trading, battling, or just admiring their collection. Nintendo's obsession with friend codes means it'll probably never happen, but I would pay serious money to see a living, breathing Pokemon world filled with my friends - and loads of potential new ones too. Sam Loveridge
Yeah, Mass Effect: Andromeda was a spectacular flop (even though it's not as bad as you may think), to the point that future plans for the franchise are currently in limbo, but just let me have this dream of a Mass Effect MMO. And yes, I know that Mass Effect 3 and Andromeda featured online multiplayer, but that's not what I want from EA's space saga. I want more. Much more.
I want to be able to assemble a crew of friends and explore the galaxy's outermost reaches. I want to fight off enemy factions in small and large-scale battles. I want to have a home on the Citadel, which I can decorate to my liking and host virtual parties in. I want to be able to set up my own shop in the hopes that someday a great commander can give me their ringing endorsement.
I want a galaxy-sized sandbox that doesn't restrict me to just playing shooty-shooty bang bang, but lets me feel like I really live there; equal parts Star Citizen and Star Wars Galaxies, with the Mass Effect aesthetic and lore. So no, it's never going to happen. But a man can dream. Sam Prell
This question would've been easier to answer if my wishlist of Red Dead Redemption and Fallout weren't already getting online versions before the end of the year. That just leaves me craving a return of Fable. I really feel like Fable's realm full of consequences could work with an online world. In the single-player versions of the game, your behavior could directly affect your appearance; imagine an online world where you could spot a griefer a mile off because of hideous growths. Players could couple up but, this being Fable, end up with children who (to prevent virtual child neglect) automatically deduct a cash sum for childcare costs from the player's account. It would be a fairy tale world, but one with very real consequences. I mean sure, it would cause all sorts of problems and fail terribly, but you didn't ask me to come up with an economically viable idea. Rachel Weber
None of them, please
I don't think of myself as a flag-burner for single-player games, but when I recall my favorite offline story experiences – like Batman: Arkham Asylum, MGS3, Uncharted 2, Skyrim, and The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild - the last thing I think is: "Hmmm, that was a divinely-crafted, personal adventure that could have only been improved by adding a 100-player PVP mode". Alright, that's taking it to to an absurdity, but there are far subtler ways to integrate online experiences. For example, Bloodborne's player echoes and notes system (so you never play alongside another human, unless you want to for things like boss fight summons); or FIFA 19's live player stat updates based on real-world data.
However, some of those single-player experiences I mentioned did have online modes, and - while many of them were worthy in their own right, like Metal Gear Online - they're just completely different experiences that I could live without. It's too easy to suspect that the drive to make a game work online comes from economic necessity, rather than serving the needs of the player, or the vision of its creators. How many many magic hats can we sell? What price is the MegaMap DLC? To be clear: I'm not blaming publishers for wanting to make money, since in many instances, we'd have no single-player experiences if there wasn't an online monetization path due to the huge cost of development. What I am asking is that such modes aren't forced upon me, so I can be left to quest in peace. Dan Dawkins
Now hear me out here, I’m not talking a Scum or DayZ-style ‘people are more dangerous than the zombies’ online experience. No, I mean COD Zombies cooperative gameplay set in a huge Raccoon City, with a Destiny-like story/strike/raid vibe going on. Explore for loot and leveling in different areas like the main city, zoo, or mountain, while grouping up with people to take on zombies and other virus mutated creatures. The Division would actually be a good model here: just a big city full of missions and boss encounters you can tackle alone or by teaming up. Streets full of the undead are way more interesting than a bunch of people with a cold. The potential for emergent stories would be amazing if they got it right: you’re out exploring for XP, hear some gunfire, and find people holed up in a house. Next thing you know, you’ve triggered a horde mode attack as you battle with strangers to hold the undead at bay, and a time-limited mission activates for others to help rescue you. Admit it, that sounds cool. Leon Hurley
This might be tricky, but it's about time someone brought back giant, dangerous, human-eating dinosaurs onto our screens properly. I'd like to see this go down the survival route, a bit like Rust, where you start with nothing but a leaf covering your gems and a rock in hand. You start by creating a camp, hunting small dinosaurs for meat, and slowly you find online players to team up with to start killing larger dinosaurs and to win you'd need to create a huge ship that can fight off Loch Ness-sized water monsters to get to the mainland. Turns out the mainland is also infested with dinosaurs and online players that can now attack you. Crafting, leveling up, building towns, and joining clans is a big part of Turok Online, and if you want to go real crazy you could go down the Ark route and be able to tame dinosaurs late game. Brandon Saltalamacchia
Having recently finished Spider-Man PS4, I’ve been thinking a lot about how a sequel could really flourish with the inclusion of an online co-op feature. Narratively, the idea of multiple Spider-Men fighting crime together already has a basis in the Spider-Verse, but Insomniac could also take a more grounded route by having both Peter Parker and Miles Morales swinging around together as two playable characters. Better yet, an online Spider-Man PS4 sequel could be a great way to introduce new heroes into the nascent Marvel Games Universe. Imagine a Spider-Man/Iron Man co-op multiplayer open world with the mentor/mentee story dynamics of Homecoming, or something even more ambitious, where different players take on the roles of separate heroes in a shared open world space. It’s probably not going to happen, but never underestimate the appeal of cooperative superhero shenanigans. Alex Avard
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is just about as thoughtfully designed as video games come, and I would change little about it. But would I play another game like Breath of the Wild built around online multiplayer? You bet your bottom rupee! One of Breath of the Wild's greatest pleasures is how its various elements and mechanics interact in unexpected ways, making you feel like you're part of the world rather than its sole agent of change. It's a chemistry set waiting to be shaken up. Enough strange things happen when it's only you and NPC enemies messing around with stuff; imagine what kind of madcap antics would ensue with a couple dozen adventurers tossing bombs and hang gliding around the map!
It wouldn't take too much of a narrative stretch to make it happen, either: just do a prequel/interquel story set in the early days of Hyrule's fall. With Link sealed away in the Shrine of Resurrection and the Champions defeated, a new cadre of adventurers must rise to protect remaining bastions of civilization like Hateno Village. Also, I'm not saying it has to let you play as a Rito with a motorcycle… but playing as a Rito with a motorcycle should definitely be an option. Connor Sheridan
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