Twisted Pixel helping with Turbine’s Console MMO?

Caught the blurb on Massively so I popped over to Twisted Pixel’s site, and sure enough, they’ve posted that they’ve completed a contract to help build Turbine’s upcoming unannounced console MMO.

It’s still hush hush, but we just finished a contract with Turbine to help them build an awesome new MMO intended for consoles.

If you want more than that, you’ll have to take it up with Turbine, because we can’t spill the beans on their top-secret game.

It was a fun project, and we’re proud of our work. We can’t wait to play it ourselves when it’s released.

This is exciting news! Twisted Pixel has produced two of the most highly-acclaimed XBLA titles out there – The Maw and Splosion Man – and gives me hope that whatever the game may be, it won’t use the Turbine Engine. I enjoy Turbine’s games, but that engine is coming up on a decade old and it seems like they keep piling features on top of the ancient crap instead of cleaning it up and keeping it updated under the hood. Epic and id update their engines and design entirely new ones; it’s time Turbine stepped up to the plate as well.

Of course now the speculation goes into overdrive of what the game will be. I could have swore Turbine said (or implied) it would be a new IP but players won’t seem to drop the idea of a DDO port. The concept of DDO – a co-op group completing adventures – would work perfectly on consoles; after all co-op is the Big Thing this year, but would require a massive overhaul of the UI and inventory mechanics. We are also accustomed to buying DLC Adventure Packs already on consoles, though I have my doubts that a full in-game store would go over well in the console world. The instanced adventures would work well given that consoles have much more limited RAM and resources than higher-end PC’s. I could see a console DDO going over quite well if it were given a better engine and the fluid controls and graphics/animations we’ve come to expect on modern AAA console titles – something Turbine struggles with on the PC with limited success.

A console version of LOTRO? Nah, DIKU and consoles just don’t get along. An “arcadey” version of LOTRO with a playable evil side? Why would Turbine bother when Snowblind is already finishing up that exact idea (non-massively multiplayer) with Lord of the Rings: War in the North?

The much-speculated Harry Potter MMO? Now we’re at least talking with not only a new IP but one that belongs to Turbine’s new Dark Lord owner, Warner Brothers. It’s been talked about for a long time, and WB has stated they would like to see the IP given the MMO treatment. My own hope is that if it happens, it’s not too kiddy-fied. Not everyone who enjoys Harry Potter is a kid, nor are a good deal of console players, and I would hate to feel flatly excluded from a title.

How about a console MMO set on Dereth, the world of the Asheron’s Call games? That would bring some attention back to that IP and perhaps to the original MMO that is still running (and I’m certain Asheron’s Call will end up going the hybrid freemium route eventually) and possibly lead into an Asheron’s Call 3 MMO on the PC as well.

How about moving on from fantasy (Turbine has 3 fantasy IP’s already) altogether? Done correctly, we console players certainly still love our fantasy, but also seem much more willing to accept other settings than are our PC compatriots.