Welcome back to the ‘Games I Want To Play – But Haven’t Been Made’ opinion piece series. We are now at the penultimate article and I must say, it’s been fun getting to spout my ideas and have people actually read them. So far, I have pitched ideas for games spanning a variety of genres, from real-time strategy to platforming games. It doesn’t stop there though, I am one of those ‘ideas per minute’ guys and I’ve had these stashed away for quite some time.

This week, I have decided to talk less about the game idea being commercially viable, as I’m sure readers can see for themselves the value in these games, should they be brought to market. Instead, I will focus the article on the ideas and potential, rather than the money it’s makers could collect.

This week’s ‘Game I Want To Play’ is one that I think a lot of people want but here is my spin on the game. Part 5′s title is…

A Bethesda Developed ‘The Lord of the Rings’/ Middle Earth based RPG

‘Skyrim’. It’s the first Elder Scrolls title that really got my into the series and into Bethesda developed RPGs. I never got on with ‘Oblivion’, it’s predecessor, and the combat in ‘Fallout 3′ just didn’t appeal to me. Though Elder Scrolls purists have their hang-ups with ‘Skryim’, it is the RPG of the generation, as far as I am concerned. It was the first of it’s kind to properly immerse me in it’s world and warranted me investing literally weeks of my life to playing it.

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If you play ‘Skyrim’ on PC, you’re probably aware of the big modding community. More importantly, you’re probably aware of a certain type of mod that is very popular (or WAS, at least). I am talking about mods based on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ for ‘Skyrim’. From weapon skins to map modifications, the modding community has tried to make a Middle-Earth based game, using ‘Skyrim’ as a foundation. Certain Middle Earth related mods were recently taken down and banned from being used in ‘Skyrim’, which could be read as either Warner Bros. Games flexing their muscles and demanding that their copyright not be infringed upon or that such a game is already in the works and all imitations are being stamped out, like an Orc under a Mumakil’s foot.

Even though I get engrossed in ‘Skyrim’ for days at a time, I do feel that I would much prefer playing that same game but in a more familiar setting/ world, where I don’t feel like a newbie every time a character speaks about something specific to previous games. I have a close affinity for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (that much is evident from Part 1 of this article series) and so a true RPG in that world, with the level of detail and depth of gameplay that ‘Skyrim’ has would be a perfect game for me. Of course, there are open-world Middle Earth games, such as ‘The Lord of the Rings Online’ but I don’t like the style of combat and design employed by games like that, and I certainly don’t want to pay a subscription fee for the privilege! A single-player open-world game, set in Middle Earth, with the mechanics and attention to detail of ‘Skyrim’ is my idea of the ultimate fantasy RPG.

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So the ‘Skyrim’ style of gameplay, set in Middle Earth is an attractive idea. If we go deeper than that basic concept, what sort of gaming experience could we potentially be playing?

- Though I stated earlier that I’d prefer a single-player experience, I would be open to a game with multiplayer aspects akin to that displayed in Bungie’s ‘Destiny’, where you can choose to team up with friends and face off against other human players OR team up against a randomly generated ‘event’ within the game world. This option could be switched on and off, meaning you can have a more solitary gaming experience, should you chose to play alone. This would also mean that the game would still have playing value, long after you complete the main story missions and side quests. After this year’s E3, it certainly seems like open-world/ massively multiplayer gaming experiences are the way of the future for video games.

- The player should have the ability to choose which race they want their character to be. This is a given in most role-playing games but with this game is should mean more than character attributes and dialogue options. What if a character’s race was linked to certain story beats/ missions? If you’re a Hobbit, you’re probably going to be asked to perform different tasks, compared to if you was an Elf. What if you’re an Orc? Then the whole perspective changes. The end goal is dictated by the interests of the race you are choosing, so if you’re an evil character, your main objective is to stop the ‘good guys’. This means that the game suddenly has massive replay value, as you want to explore the world from different perspectives. The world itself could be persistent, meaning things done by your Hobbit or Elf game saves are evident in your Orc or an Uruk-Kai. You help build a dam as an Orc worker, for you to then rip it down when you play your Hobbit save. This adds to the effect that the in-game world is a living and persistent entity.

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- Epic battles. Helms Deep, Minas Tirith, The Black Gate, these are all famous battles set during the War of the Ring. Large scale battles are one of the many things people associate with ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and this game should be no different. ‘Skyrim’ allowed you to have battles with a small clusters of enemies at any one time but with the power that next-generation consoles will provide, we could have larger scale battles with much more non-player controller characters on screen at any one time.

- Though ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is probably the most known of the Middle Earth set stories, it is actually only a small part of Middle Earth’s history. It is just the tip of the iceberg, as the events leading up to that particular story take place over thousands and thousands of years and involved many more characters, creatures and places. This game could take place during any of those time periods in Middle Earth’s history. I’d actually prefer for the game to not be set during the time of Sauron and The One Ring; save it for a sequel! Explore an aspect of Tolkien’s world that hasn’t been seen in video games already.

Those are just a few basic ideas for the game I’d like to play. I wouldn’t want to change the gameplay much from the way ‘Skyrim’ plays but I think the setting and context is key to making the game that much more immersive and enjoyable. However, with all this talk of Middle Earth, it can be easy to forget that Middle Earth is actually only a part of the world created by Tolkien. Yes, it’s the region featured most in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ but it is the equivalent to just a continent in the much larger world that is called Arda. A next-generation console, combined with the power of cloud gaming, could theoretically support a game map as large as the game requires. With next-gen titles such as ‘The Crew’, it is evident that the size of a game is no longer an issue, so long as an internet connection is maintained. This means exciting times are ahead for fans of open-world gameplay.

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This has been Part 5 of my ‘Games I Want To Play – But Haven’t Been Made’ opinion piece series. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 can be found on the Throwing Digital Sheep.

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P.s. ‘Skyrim’ was mentioned eleven times, in this article alone! That wasn’t an accident – It’s a subtle hint that you should go and play that game!