#1 Posted by TugBoat (5 posts) -

I've just played the Just Cause 2 demo and thought that the way that that game play's might be the way an A-Team game should play. Now, I know that lots of people would disagree with me there: fair enough. But what I would really like to discuss is the idea of licensing out specific game play mechanics. It would work like mods work in PC FPS, but on a more official level. It would be good to see Mass Effect 2 re:styled as a Star Trek game (as touched on in the Bombcast), but instead of Shepard you play as Kirk, or Tekken 6 re:styled as GiJoe. The thing is that excellent game designs for many existing properties exist. While this won't work all the time (Superman is difficult), I think it could work well in certain cases. What are you're thoughts?

#2 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

Wouldn't that just result in a bunch of clones of one game with varying themes? Just a thought.

#3 Posted by Jimbo (9993 posts) -

Do you mean mod an existing game and then get a license to distribute it?  Because I don't think you can do much about somebody just ripping off your game mechanics.

#4 Posted by TugBoat (5 posts) -
@Azteck: Yes. But I would imagine that there would be a natural cut-off point. For example if Star Trek wanted to license the Mass Effect 2 game engine, I'm sure that it would be a limited, exclusive license. So that competitors couldn't also use the Mass Effect 2 engine.
#5 Posted by TugBoat (5 posts) -
@Jimbo: No. I mean something more formal. So, you have the owners of Star Trek (sorry I don't know who owns that IP) approach BioWare about using the Mass Effect game engine/mechanics/system and cosmetically change the visuals and redesign the story to reflect a Star Trek adventure. Mechanically, the game would feel the same as Mass Effect, but it would be a Star Trek game. I know I'm talking a lot about a Mass Effect/Star Trek thing; but what I'm mostly interested in is the principle.
#6 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -
@TugBoat said:
" @Azteck: Yes. But I would imagine that there would be a natural cut-off point. For example if Star Trek wanted to license the Mass Effect 2 game engine, I'm sure that it would be a limited, exclusive license. So that competitors couldn't also use the Mass Effect 2 engine. "
But if it's game engines you're talking about then that's already happening. I mean, Epic license out their Unreal engine to devs other than themselves. So did Crytek with Aion etc.
#7 Posted by TugBoat (5 posts) -
@Azteck: Yes, I see what you mean. But I suppose I'm talking about a tighter agreement. Where the opportunity to modify the game mechanics is very limited. The way that a character moves and behaves in the world is precisely the way they perform in the original IP. To do what Epic has done with Unreal is to essentially build and provide set of tools that allow the developer the freedom to create original content. If I could use the Mass Effect example again, I'm suggesting that BioWare strike an agreement with Star Trek or Buck Rogers (or whoever might be appropriate) and 're-skin' the assets to reflect the characteristics of that world and build new maps and story. But fundamentally keep all of the mechanics and models the same. I see it as a project that would be kept in-house (so it would be a BioWare product), and it might even say on the packaging: Mass Effect: Star Trek edition. That sounds crazy but...anyway. The thing I'm getting at is this: The bulk of the expense is in developing the core mechanics of a game. All of that foundational work in establishing animations, etc. But this is already done in a lot of cases. Also, I don't think that the consumer would be put off purchasing a Star Trek game that is a re-skin of a Mass Effect game. Years of mod-work in PC games have proved very popular. To be honest; I really enjoyed Mass Effect 1 and 2 and if I was presented with this option in the shop, I would purchase it immediately. The key is it must be a BioWare game based on the Mass Effect engine. And this ought to be promoted. Perhaps this idea works best as DLC?
#8 Posted by Jimbo (9993 posts) -

So yes then, what you're describing is exactly what a mod is, except with a license to do it and re-sell it as something else.  I don't think you'd end up salvaging enough from Mass Effect to make it particularly worthwhile - you'd still need to start over with most of the models, a lot of the animation, voice, audio, level design and story.  It might make sense for Bioware, but then they wouldn't need to license their own code in the first place.  So if you're asking 'Could Bioware get the Star Trek license and then re-use their own code from Mass Effect?' then yes they could, if they really wanted to.
 
I don't think Bioware would really want that to happen whilst the ME trilogy is still ongoing, but it isn't totally outside the realm of possibility that EA end up doing a Star Trek movie tie-in at some point and get one of their other developers to knock something up by recycling as much as possible from ME.