Every father has the following exchange with his child at some point:
“You’re still in your room playing video games, huh? You know what else has great graphics? Real life! It has a million jiggawatts of graphics all over the place! Now take your brother outside and go pick up some pine cones or something.”
It’s likely that your father will be horrified to learn that Realtime Worlds, the creators of Crackdown and APB, is developing an Earth Simulator for the PC. Currently titled Project: MyWorld, it’s theoretically a Google Earth MMO:
In addition to some familiar MMO trappings, Project: MyWorld also looks to be dipping its feet into the “emergent gaming” domain, with user-created content playing a starring role in each of the game’s cities. MyWorld also plans on weaseling its way into your social network, with Twitter, Facebook, and Google integration letting you manage your relationships without ever leaving the safety of your fake city. Creepy!
French developer Monte Cristo attempted a similarly ambitious project with Cities XL in 2009. While Cities XL is probably the best city simulator outside of Maxis’ Sim franchise, its MMO component died only a few months after release. Crackdown was great, but APB – Realtime Worlds’ newest action MMO – doesn’t catch the same lightning in a bottle. If the developer can leverage user-created content in a way that keeps people coming back, it just might be an evolving sandbox worth visiting… so long as you don’t forget to go outside now and then.