Amber the MMO

There was a question on Van Hemlock and Jon Shute's podcast about what IP they'd like to see an MMO made from. They dodged the question, along with all the questions designed to make them slip up and reveal themselves as working for MI5, but I'd expect nothing less from such consummate professionals.

It did make me think, though, and I've realised there's an utterly perfect IP out there for an MMO: Roger Zelazny's Amber.

If you haven't read the Amber books, you should do so. I'll try to avoid spoilers below, but some are unavoidable.

In an Amber game, you would play a minor member of one of the ruling families of Amber or the Courts of Chaos. Two factions, straight off, and they're sometimes hostile and sometimes not, so you can have cooperative or competitive play as needed. All the normal MMO stuff can be covered, plus a bit more.

So, what does Amber have that other IPs don't? Well, first and foremost, the idea of the multiple shadows - multiple universes, for the uninitiated - means that the problem whereby you killed Grork the Mighty in a epic battle, and so did your friend, and that guy over there, and you'll do it again tomorrow, goes away. You all did; you just killed different alternate versions of him, and there are some still around.

Second, time runs differently in different shadows, so there's a lot more sense to be made from someone else rocketing ahead in levels, skills, or whatever, while you do nothing.

Third, there's a huge scope for possible settings, stories, etc. The universe of Amber covers all possibilities, so a shadow where Eygptian demi-gods battle against Viking invaders with the aid of Al Capone and his Merry Men is entirely doable.

And finally, different shadows can be different shards, allowing for an EVE-style universe where everyone plays on the one 'server'.

I'd love to play in an Amber MMO. Someone want to contact the Zelazny estate and see if it can be made?

Posted by Drew Shiel at December 11, 2009 1:42 PM

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