Being a fan of Dungeons and Dragons it has always bothered me that we (the players) can't purchase a viable community based version of the game from Xbox Arcade or Playstation Network that doesn't accurately and fully represent all the great work put in by the developers.
Maybe we can change that.
For your consideration, i offer...
Forgotten Realms for the Xbox 360 and PS3
Dungeons and Dragons is in a unique position to advance Role-Playing into a new generation by applying some of it's most important concepts to the current medium of digital entertainment offered by popular consoles.
The game would 'buck the trend' of many current releases by major game studios in a number of areas, most notably in it's use of the isometric perspective as opposed to the 1st or 3rd person perspectives currently in favor for major role playing games.
The game will also focus on Co-operative or Co-Op play as opposed to Competitive play or PvP as well as long term content expansion (and as such player investment $$)
The initial release would cover the Forgotten Realms universe, but other campaigns such as Eberron or Ravenloft could be created and released as expansion packs/dlc content, as such i will use the Forgotten Realms as the primary example throughout the post.
One of the core aspects of the game is the beautiful map of Faerun offered in its entirety for the players exploration. This serves as the 'start screen' for the game as well as offering the players their first real choice in the character creation process.
It would be nice if the map offered a 'living' quality.
The map is divided into four sections (NE, SE, NW, SW) that contain the many countries and towns the player chooses to hail from, or more simply, the characters background. After the players have chosen where they want to hail from they are pulled into the character creation process offered in TPH 1.
The map will also be essential for traveling long distances. Instead of 'walking' through endless maps the player(s) will advance with a simple X (or even a stylized DnD icon) across the map and only enter the game environment during random encounters (or by choice for the purposes of exploration)
The Players Handbook
Character creation should draw exclusively from this (plus any pertinent content exclusive to the campaigns) and faithfully recreate the races and classes offered to anyone playing the pen and paper version. It should also contain any spells/feats/etc that can be translated into the digital environment.
The second handbook would be available as DLC or downloadable content upon launch of the game with the third released within the first two months along with holiday themed/quest oriented bonus content.
Hometown (Level 1)
Once 'in the game' your first real goals will be in forming a party, which is done at the local Tavern. It is at the Tavern that many of Online aspects of the game come into play as well as the location where Quests are selected.
The player can either hire/befriend party members or custom create them at the Tavern.
Players can choose to host games with friends or strangers based on a number of user specified criteria. I.E. (Distance, Level, Race, Class, Etc)
Yes, this is definitely an option and would be exceptionally interesting to see grow to the level it deserves as it could re-invigorate the industry.
The core of the game, and another of it's unique aspects, is that Dungeon and Dragons offers no singular story to follow. It is up to the player to create their own adventures. The same is true in this game, and should be among its most supported features.
Dungeons and Dragons will be the first pen and paper rpg to translate all of its modular quest content to a digital environment that the modern 'gamer' can access and enjoy. Every quest module, EVERY quest module that Dungeons and Dragons currently has in it's backlogs, its current manuals, its development. Everything. Period.
By adding all of this there is no need for a 'storyline' as the sheer volume of options will generate its own individual storyline to the player.
Beyond Level One:
The sky is the limit, just look at the content and tell me that the possibilities for exploring the Astral Sea, the Shadowfell, the Planes of Chaos and so much more are not inherently available and easily profitable.
Using a simple grid based map system, the players would enter into random encounters during their travel between towns/quests/etc. The map sizes and the enemies involved would be random and range from small battles with 2-3 enemies to larger wars with the full range of monsters available in the Monster Manuals 1,2,3
The higher you get, the better it gets. Battles with Ancient Dragons, Primordials and Gods. Exclusive in-game events and content. A real rise of the Underdark.
Bear in mind, this is really a front-end design and not a true game design. The idea is to install all the content already created in a modular fashion through this -Role playing engine- to stream line and modernize the entire process (as well as creating a new stream of revenue and content distribution.)
Feel free to comment.