The massively multiplayer online role-playing game is long overdue for a change. World of Warcraft is still plugging away eight years after its release but subscribers have been abandoning ship for months now. Star Wars: The Old Republic is doing all right a few months after its release, but people are already questioning how long it will be until that game becomes free-to-play rather than a monthly subscription game. What’s next for the MMORPG? It may find new life on Wii U according to Funcom’s Joel Bylos.
Lead content designer for the developer behind MMOs Age of Conan and upcoming The Secret World (pictured above) thinks that the tablet-style controller could make Wii U the first gaming console properly suited to playing PC-style MMOs. Speaking with the U.K.’s Official Nintendo Magazine, Bylos said, “Wii U could be the first real console on which running an MMORPG without compromise is plausible. The controller is perfect for lining up rows of hotbars that are essential in most MMOs. A customizable touch screen interface combined with the 3D spatial movement of a console controller could be a winner.”
Bylos isn’t alone in thinking the Wii U might make for a quality MMO machine. Square-Enix’s long delayed online RPG Dragon Quest X, originally planned as just a Wii game, is one of the scant few officially announced Wii U games out there.
The style of game the Funcom designer is describing is a different beast altogether though. It’s questionable whether console players are even interested in this type of game. It’s been attempted before, with Final Fantasy XI on PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 as well as more recently with DC Universe Online on PlayStation 3. At the end of the day though, MMORPG players seem to be content with PCs. If online RPGs are going to have a shot on consoles, they’ll have to be a different type of game entirely.
That or Bylos is right and World of Warcraft will get a second life on Wii U when Activision ports the game over. Stranger things have happened!