Summary: There are many more RPG systems out there besides D&D. JCal discusses a few and why they should be on the PC.
However, some other well known games in this genre have either never been adapted into games or haven’t had a real modern day video/PC game adaptation in some time. After playing and enjoying Shadowrun we wondered what other games might be ripe for the picking and discovered that there might be some other franchises that would be perfect for such a revival.
Champions: Considered by many to be the premiere super hero themed pen-and-paper RPG, Champions was first launched in 1981 and is still a very active RPG as developed by its publisher Hero Games. The open ended nature of Champions allows people to pretty much create any kind of super hero they want. In the early 1990’s Hero Games attempted on their own to create a Champions PC game but that set-up did not last and the project was cancelled. So far there are no indications that Hero Games plans to try again nor are there any announced plans for a third party to take on the task of developing a Champions title.
We don’t know what the odds are for a true PC Champions game but we do think that it’s certainly an interesting prospect, even with a ton of other super hero games like Raven’s Marvel based action-RPGs, Irrational’s Freedom Force series and of course the City of Heroes/Villains MMORPGs from Cryptic. We attempted to contact Hero Games to see if they have any new plans for a video/PC game adaptation. Hero Games’ Steve Long told us, “We’d love to do a game like that, but it would be a question of licensing the name and IP to a partner we could work with to develop the game.”
Deadlands: This well known RPG series was created in the mid-1980’s by Shane Hensley (who currently works for City of Heroes developer Cryptic Studios) as an true alternative to the many fantasy RPGs out on the market. Set in an alternate 19th century American West where creatures and monsters roamed the range alongside cowboys and Indians, this title has a ton of potential to be turned into a great video and/or PC game.
Indeed, UK game developed Headfirst acquired the rights to make such a Deadlands game and had completed a three level demo to show to publishers before the developer went out of business shortly after the release of their 2005 Xbox-PC game Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth. In a phone conversation with FiringSquad for this article, Hensley told us that he was very impressed with the demo that Headfirst had created and was disappointed that their Deadlands game would never be completed. Hensley told us that he is currently shopping around the Deadlands video/PC game license to a number of interested parties but there is no word on when such a deal will be announced.
The GURPS system is still hugely popular and would certainly lend itself well to an online RPG system. FiringSquad attempted to contact Steve Jackson himself to find out about any upcoming GRUPS video or PC game projects but he would not comment on any such future plans.
Paranoia: There are only a few humor themed pen-and-paper RPGs out there but the dystopian future at the center of this classic game lends itself well to such treatment. The game is set in a domed city called the Alpha Complex where the Computer rules all but secret societies exist to combat the rule of the machine. The game was originally created in 1984 and has been revised several times (one of the original creators is Greg Costikyan, an outspoken game designer who most recently co-founded the independent PC game publishing company Manifesto Games). Currently the rights to Paranoia have been owned by Moongoose Publishing who released the latest version in 2004.
FiringSquad contacted Moongoose to find out if there are any plans for a Paranoia game and a representative told us, “To our knowledge, there is talk of a Paranoia mobile phone game, but nothing for PCs or consoles.” Perhaps with his new Manifesto Games company Mr. Costikyan could start a Paranoia PC game.
Space: 1889: What if the Victorian era of had started space travel? That’s the premise of this highly original pen-and-paper RPG created in 1988 by Frank Chadwick. The game (who has a title that’s a direct parody of the 1970’s sci-fi series Space 1999) has Thomas Edison creating a way for ships of that time to head into space and the main nations of the world use that technology to colonize other planets in our solar system. The game actually had a computer game released for it back in 1990 by the now defunct Paragon Software corporation. However we think the “steampunk” premise of Space 1889 would lend itself well to a more advanced video-PC game that can take advantage of next-generation art and graphics. There is no word on if any game publisher or developer has any plans for a new Space 1889 game.
Delta Green: Pagan Publishing’s pen-and-paper RPG is a kind mix of The X-Files with the Cthulhu mythos. The game, which is still being published, has a secret team of the US Government going after the evil supernatural threats that exist in the Delta Green universe. In addition to the game itself a series of Delta Green novels have been published. In 2002 Flying Lab Software announced plans to release a squad based action-RPG based on the Delta Green series that would have used the LithTech engine. However those plans were put on hold when Flying Lab decided to put its full attentions on its still-in-development MMORPG Pirates of the Burning Sea. However, the Flying Lab web site still has its Delta Green page online so perhaps one day we will see their plans come to fruition.
Godlike: Created by Delta Green co-creator Dennis Detwiller, Godlike is a decidedly darker look at super hero RPGs. Set in an alternate WWII where super heroes of both sides of the war exist, this game series forgoes the highly colorful tights of typical super hero settings for a far more serious look at the genre. Godlike’s publisher, Arc Dream Publishing, has released several products in the series and a spin-off called Wild Talents will be released late this year.
There was some talk of a Godlike PC game in the works but those plans never came to fruition. Detwiller still works on the Godlike game and other RPG projects while also working as a game designer for Radical Entertainment who has been working most recently on the upcoming Scarface game for Vivendi. Perhaps he can persuade his superiors to take on the Godlike banner and bring the series to the video and PC game realm.
There are of course tons of other pen-and-paper RPGs that would be perfect for being turned in video and PC titles. Which of your favorite would you like to see adapted and why? Post your feelings and suggestions in the comments and we will try to find out if they are underway.
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