There are literally hundreds of mmo games found online, but the number of genres represented in those games is rather small. The vast preponderance of them are fantasy with a sprinkling of sci-fi thrown into the mix. One genre that gets little attention in the online arena is the post-apocalypse. It’s been thirty-six years since Mad Max blazed into our consciousness (followed by the even better The Road Warrior), and the latest installment, Mad Max: Fury Road, is set to roar into theaters this Friday. Even though those movies have had a huge impact upon geekdom and gaming, I wonder…will we ever get a Mad Max mmo?
Mad Max characters
I can’t fully explain it, but there’s just something about mohawk-sporting warriors zooming around the post-apocalypse landscape on motorcycles and armored cars that gets me pumped. The realm of the disintegration of civilization is rife with potential for gaming. There have been some very successful video games based upon post-apocalyptic scenarios, such as Wasteland and the Fallout series, but almost nothing in terms of mmo gaming. There was Armored Assault that was quickly cancelled, and the only major mmo in the genre is currently Fallen Earth. While that game has some things going for it, it kills me that there’s no true Mad Max mmo on the market where the action is crazed and over-the-top.
To begin, creating a Road Warrior mmo does have some built-in factors to make it easier. The developers can use real-world locations to build the in-game world, with the only changes needed is to make things coolly post-apocalyptic and virtually destroyed. Game companies could set the action in and around a major ruined city, such as New York City or Pittsburgh. (Heck, they could set it in present day Detroit if they wished!) Just imagine being able to lead your armored warriors into taking possession of Grand Central Station or the Statue of Liberty to use as your base? Or one could become warlord of the underworld and take control of the subways and sewers that lie beneath the city streets. If the Mad Max mmo wants to follow the movies, then it could be set in the Australian outback where vehicles can race across desert sands to do battle with one another. What intrepid gamer wouldn’t love to visit Bartertown and see the Thunderdome? (Two men enter! One man leaves!)
There could be several factions in play within a Mad Max mmo. On one hand could be the forces of those that struggle to maintain civilization and provide order. On the other side could be the raiders and the gangs, as exemplified by Lord Humungus and his marauders in The Road Warrior. A third faction could be the loners, much like Mad Max was in the films even though he was reluctantly pulled into conflicts. Just imagine the missions available in such an mmo. The civilized faction could try to send out gasoline or other important resources to other settlements while the raiders would try to steal them. Territory battles could rage as both factions would try to conquer and then hold on to vital resource locations, such as a fresh water spring. If this Road Warrior mmo was a sandbox one, then factions could work to build their own settlements and have to fight to protect them from others.
There would have to be some key elements of a Mad Max mmo for it to work. First, the character creation system would have to be top-notch. I wouldn’t want some generic character running around the ruined world; I want to fully create my own raider of the wasteland that could sport different armor types (football pads are always a plus), biker leather, mohawk hair styling, tattoos, facial painting, piercings, radiation burns, scars, and even codpieces. The post-apocalyptic look created by Mad Max and The Road Warrior has become the standard of the genre and should be represented to its maximum potential within the game.
Mad Max cars
Combat would have to be brutal in a Road Warrior mmo and range from melee combat to full scale vehicle combat. The weapons of the Mad Max universe range from fists to crossbows to guns and everything in-between. In such a setting, differences are settled by whoever’s left alive and breathing once the fighting is over. While standard melee and ranged combat would be easy to do, vehicle combat has to be fully integrated and seamless. If I’m walking alone across the desert, I deserve what I get if a gang of motorcycle psychos come roaring up on me and I’m unprepared. Of course, there has to be the option of having multiple player-manned stations on some vehicles. I can imagine a semi with ten players manning machineguns and bolt throwers fending off an attacking horde of enemy players on motorcycles and cars.
Crafting would be another essential component to any Mad Max mmorpg. Weapons, armor, vehicles, and buildings should be able to be built within such a game. The vehicle crafting process should be elaborate as players should be able to build anything from buggies to trucks to huge tractor-trailers. The customization in such a system should be huge as players should be able to construct their own unique battle wagons sporting custom paint jobs. Heck, I could envision players putting on their own car shows to show off their creations (and hopefully followed by a demolition derby).
With how much the films have impacted geek culture, I’m stunned that there’s no official Mad Max mmo yet. The setting is ripe to be used for an online game, and the bare bones are already laid out with factions, locations, vehicles, and cosmetic items already in existence. Playing in such a post-apocalyptic setting would be tremendous fun, whether you’re looking to help civilization return or wanting to finish burning it down as you become the warlord of the wasteland.