Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Dead Game Office

What happens to
all the games that get canceled?

How many MMORPGs, specifically, have failed to even see daylight? To name just a few: Wish, True Fantasy Online, Mythica, Warhammer Online and Ultima X.

Consider Earth & Beyond, which was up and running for some time and still closed shop.

Now what of all the almost-done indie games that ran out of funding, or the major console titles that didn't fit some ad-exec's strategy, or the artsy tech-demo that spawned half a game and was abandoned?

I'm imagining a scavenger company that collects dead or aborted games and extracts useful resources from them - stable codebases, art assets, sound, networking protocol, anything that can be refined or developed or given a new set of legs.

Then the company presents discrete packages of bundled assets that are modular and clean, all fully-documented, ready to be used as a starting point for the programmers and designers.

I'm sure that developers pick over the corpses of their failed projects, but in many cases it's probably a piecemeal affair with little direction or focus, often wasting precious time and money to drill for something useful (can anyone in the industry shed some light?).

Bringing together all those scattered resources presents a daunting task: translating them into useful information.

A company like this would incur a lot of risk. It would need to develop special contracts with developers to get first dibs on trashed projects. It would require format-conversion specialists and especially gifted programmers. It would need to have clear goals for its product and market itself as a sort of asset primer, not a game 'kit', to avoid the stigma that everything created with your assets would look and feel the same.

Anyone up for it? Or even think this is a good idea?

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