See Virtual Worlds does interesting things with Entropia Universe. Few other massively online multiplayer games let players cash out in-game currency for real-world coin, and now it's blurring the virtual line further by adding a new planet to the universe…one based entirely on Michael Jackson and his legacy.
So far, even See reps admits they're iffy on the details. "Music, dancing, quests, healing and caring for animals are only the very first ideas to be considered," according to the official website. And unlike the rest of Entropia, violence won't yield very good results on Planet Michael.
Man, that sounds dull.
You thought we were kidding, didn't you?
I'm in the camp that believes Jackson lost touch with reality in later years — as super-rich pop stars who cut themselves off from normal things are wont to do — and a game set inside his skewed world-view intrigues me. Doubtless his estate will completely sanitize any version of Planet MJ we see, but leaving aside the more unsavory rumors and allegations (which wouldn't translate well to gameplay anyway), embracing the eccentricity is absolutely the right way to go.
SEE wants us to "live in the world of Michael Jackson." I'm all for it. So here's how to make a real Michael Jackson experience.
Character Creation: Entropia has a character creator, but See needs to seriously step it up. The MJ version must start with a fairly attractive specimen, while upgrades gradually make your avatar less and less human-looking. Vocal chords are also upgradable to deeper or more childlike extremes. Clothing options range from brightly colored pleather jackets to faux-military-style outfits; black armbands are mandatory. An avatar's rank should be instantly recognizable by the number of buckles and epaulettes worn.
Only the highest-ranking players can equip the One Glove.
Just update this to HD and call it good.
In-Game Economy and Crafting: There is no in-game economy. Players can buy anything they want without restriction and place it on their 2,500 acre estate, from amusement park rides to a 100-foot statue of yourself that doubles as a rocketship. Find, purchase, and place ever more outlandish items and people to earn experience points. Combine both real and imaginary items to make even stranger items (e.g. graft the Elephant Man's bones to Bubbles the Chimp to create a Mecha-Monkey epic mount).
Quests and Combat: Across all areas, fighting consists of stringing together complex dance moves (a la Ninja Gaiden's hack-n-slash combos) to annihilate enemies without ever touching them; dodge incoming attacks via moonwalks. Additional "music magic" abilities unlock through gameplay. Options and loadouts change according to location; Tommy guns in the Smooth Criminal area, claws and brain eating in Thrillerland (which also provides the requisite video game zombies).
Quests include performing concerts for rabid fans, evading packs of rabid fans on the street, rescuing rabid fans from evil drug overlords, and healing the world. Players can also discover bonus events, such as dancing alongside beautiful, aloof women walking down the street and beating the crap out of a parked car with a baseball bat.
If he can kill those guys with hundreds of everyday items, we're sold.
Experience Points and Leveling: Completing quests, performing concerts, and buying stuff all earns XP. Unusually bizarre actions or purchases add a WTF? bonus. You can also collect your own sweat (similar to normal Entropia play) and sell it for fun and profit. Imaginary items become available at higher levels.
Leveling up unlocks new dance moves, super powers, and "HIStory" environmental effects. At Level 10, the ground lights up under your feet as you walk. At Level 20, random NPCs gather behind you and imitate every dance move you make. At Level 30 and above, constant "HIStory" events occur around you, such as indoor rainbows, unexpected time travel to ancient Egypt, alien visitations, and spontaneous Stalinesque military parades celebrating your glory.
Obviously, much more detail is required, but these are good bones to build on. And here's hoping See continutes this trend in future with Planets Schwarzenegger, Robin Williams (good for twitch gamers), and Gaga.
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