Have MMORPGs become too nice, too watered-down, and too easy? Nexuis developer IllFonic seems to think so and that's why it's making Revival. Even the name of the game is pointing directly at its focus: IllFonic wants to "revive the MMORPG."
"It's a genre that has a bad name," IllFonic creative director Kedhrin Gonzalez told ShogunGamer. "There are hardcore fans in the genre, but there's no reason why the whole world shouldn't be playing this genre. The genre has been locked out with a bad taste for a decade. It's time to rethink it, go back to the drawing board, start from scratch and tell everyone that an MMO isn't a stat chasing 'oh that item is purple' or a quest ignoring 'gotta hunt those exclamation points!' snore fest."
Revival is planned as a wide-open sandbox and one possibly-great feature: live GMs. Live GMs who may or may not hate you as a person.
"The live storytelling aspect is like playing Skyrim, but imagine someone is playing as the dungeon master, opening and closing things all over the place," Gonzalez told Massively. "The game is 100% non-linear, so there are no useless quests. You won't encounter something that's not really worth your time as a character. Sure, we may have some bland quests like the "kill x for me please" quests, but that's filler, and it's good to have those. Most of our quests will have serious sit-down-and-think scenarios."
In addition to the live GMs, the game also has a robust karma system in the works for the citizens within cities and the monsters you'll be killing in dungeon. Think Mass Effect, but on a wider scale.
"If you have good karma before you approach the city, the guards love you and welcome you in; you can go right up to the lord of the kingdom and talk to her about her plight," Gonzalez explained. "But if you're neutral, the guards are cautious of you and won't let you go near her until you prove your worth with a sub task. If you're red, the guards won't even let you in the city, and if you are severely red, the guards will attack you on sight."
"If you're blue and go to the crypt, all of the creatures will attack you. If you're grey and go to the crypt, the wraith's slaves will stand by and watch you with caution as you move throughout the crypt; the wraith will talk to you and give you a mission, but if you deny it in the dialogue, she'll attack you," added Gonzalez.
"If you're red, the creatures will be on guard still, but the wraith will talk to you with more open arms and won't attack you if you deny the quest. At the same time, if you are blue originally but somehow turn grey or red on the way to the crypt, the wraith will adjust and have dialogue based around these new decisions you have made. You could be a red player normally but a blue player in areas that matter to the lord, who will therefore talk to you."
It all sounds great, but many an MMO has crashed on the shores of lofty goals. Revival is building built in CryEngine 3 as a free-to-play game, but everything is quite early. Beta is expected to begin when the title is 35 percent complete; that should give you an idea of how early in development IllFonic's new game is right now! Revival is currently planned for PC, but IllFonic is keeping Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions on the table. The full interview at Massively is quite long, so if you're interested in Revival, you should give it a read.