For those old-schoolers that don't know - Ultimate Newcomer is about to released. It's a commodore 64 RPG that has been 20 years in the making. You can see info about it at:
I've played the earlier versions of the game, and can say it is one of the most compelling RPG's I have ever played. But what really caught my eye (and the point of this thread) is the developers philosophical statement regarding modern game development (http://call.of.cthul.hu/~hoild/Hype.html):
"The project is for proving a few facts mostly neglected in the CRPGs we have seen so far:
1. High levels of interactivity could be implemented in computer games with no need for heavy computing resources, but for time and effort by the designers.
2. High level, dedicated scripting languages are a key feature to develop sophisticated adventure and role-playing games, and such dedicated scripting languages could be implemented on, and be used for serious development in extremely memory-constrained, 8bit computing environments. The need for such a language is to empower the game/level designers, so that they could enhance and detail the game as much as they want, on their own, with no intervention by lesser life forms (i.e. programmers).
3. Storyline non-linearity and interactivity as well as interaction with NPCs could be developed to the extreme, while still keeping a coherent storyline and playable gaming environment – we think that "sandbox game design" and "Physics Is The Game" are just attempts to reduce development cycles and at creating games by mere programmers rather than game designers and storytellers.
4. Not even an enormous plenty of in-game items, levels and eye candy can replace the feeling of catharsis at the end of, and during hundreds of hours of smart, advancing, progressive gameplay. Yet all the above could be implemented at the same time."
I'm not personally aware of any MMORPG that uses the kind of high level script language, non-linear NPC interaction, or in-depth story that a game like Newcomer has. Does anyone know if such exists? I think the Newcomer devs set the bar for game design for all future MMORPG's even though their implementation of the idea is an old 8bit platform. As their statement says - the approach is valid for any modern RPG (and especially I think for the modern sandbox MMORPG).
I'm not sure what's going on in the modern game-design world, but the Newcomer guys are far ahead of the curve in at least a few aspects of game design.
Sorry to all the kids who never got to play a c64 RPG and don't understand what the hell I'm talking about... it's not too late to download an emulator.