Over on his blog today, Coyote ponders the monopoly of fantasy-based RPGs, whether MMOG or single-player.

He feels that the industry is stagnated, and of course, it is. We’ve talked about this before somewhere around here (I’m too lazy to go look). The first reason is that, so far, fantasy works.

Games with spells and elves remain popular. And we know – all too well – that the suits don’t like to take risks. Especially when big bucks are at stake. So there’s little to be found there.

The other big reason is that fantasy, by now, is familiar. We like the familiar. It’s comfortable. Even if the monsters have different names, if the mechanics aren’t “d20”, if the world isn’t Forgotten Realms, we still know what to expect.

And there may be a third reason. SF is close to our own world. The weapons may be bigger and badder, but they’re still “modern”. Space flight, at least of a sort, is a reality. And I have the feeling that many gamers prefer fantasy just to get away from “today”.

Of course, as Coyote points out, there have been some SF-based games, especially within the Star Wars universe. But that’s a big brand, and brand will always sell.

Still, there are those who are willing to take the risk. Over at Gamasutra, they have a piece today (great timing) on Colony Studios. They’re making a science-fiction-based MMOG. It’s an original IP, not licensed or controlled by anyone else.

Unfortunately, the core audience is expected to be: “those who are looking for an open player vs. player combat system in a sci-fi setting”. Ouch. There are certainly gamers who enjoy PvP, but will there be enough to keep the MMOG going? I have some doubts.

In any case, check out the two articles and see what you think.

The Fantasy RPG Rut on Coyote’s blog

Upcoming Space MMOG on Gamasutra