Base on ideas Ive considered for years looking at MMORPG (and games in general)
Tap into the Players Creativity
Heres another idea that came to me last night (dealing with ways to cut $$$$ investment costs to hopefully make some real game company adopt some of these MMORPG ideas sooner) :
With the feature of 'Player Created Assets' as a fundamental part of a MMORPG, there is additinal 'up front' costs to develop all the tools required (the tool suite often as big a project as the game engine itself):
"Help Us Build This Game" - using the creation tools the company would need to be operational at Release anyway - - - recruit Players to use them and actually start building (more than a little) of the 'Rapture' data the Game would use - sufficiently long before release. (needed for testing and adjusting the design to be practical).
Existing BS1 and BS2(&MP&DLC) content has alot of terrain, correct looking Objects, figures, sound effects, etc. That would be an easy starting point for Players to start extracting game assets, and building the associated data for the Modular Object System.. Additional 'new' Assets would likely also be built up by Players who know how to use 3D editors and such.
Look at all the Players who cannot wait for a particular game to come out and sign up for Betas and pre-pay, etc.. Allowing them to get started early with a 'peek' at what it will be, and actually work some on making it happen. The genre of this Game is already defined, so no 'secrets' lost. For popular games like BioShock, there are numerous interested Players, and if even a fraction lend a hand (with the spectrum of skills they would have) then considerable Asset work could get done.
The Creation Tools need to be perfected for general use anyway (something they would do in a Beta, but for the MMORPG would need to be done much earlier). They would initially need to be mostly functional (and hopefully easy to use), but wouldnt have to have the polish they later would need at release time. So running them would give them a good workout (the complexity of it all would require it more than most MOD tool systems) - I HATE games that seem to be an 'Eternal Beta Test', with poor initial release state and meager/late/faulty patches.
The game mechanics and Modular Object System would largely have to be working (you DONT want to have to go back and rework Assets when major improvements require the Object data to be amended). You want Test Servers to be running early to actually place the processed game Objects/Terrain chunks on/in and run Characters thru them to test them. The Avatar interactions with the more complex Terrain and Objects systems will need a good workout. And seeing such obvious progress would encourage the Player (and bring additional ones) to do more. Non-financial reward systems for quality work (at least achievement scores and 'badges') could be rewarded as encouragement.
Likewise, the Collaboration system would need bugs worked out of it (presentations, distributing, vetting, resubmitting, voting features, versioning, comments, testing, standards, clear polices ...). This feature is key to success of the MMORPG Game and getting quality Asset work done when so many different Player skills are needed.
With sufficient Assets at release and working Tools, the Game would be set to expand (as per design) with yet more content. Sufficient generic 'building blocks' for the auto-generation system would (need to) exist to give additional territory/terrain for a potential horde of starting Players to work their way thru (beyond tutotials). From there, the constant flow of new content would continue and multiply.
The whole complex system would have to be sold (thge idea) to a Game Company, who largely dont like risks. Drastically cutting down the initial costs (Asset Creation is a huge chunk of the budget) would go a long way to having them accept it. Advantage over competitors with a new business model might be a major selling point.
Another big selling point IS that alot of this process IS reuseable (and Assets too) for more than one Game, and when it is working, will drastically cut the Cost of subsequent games of other genres. And they too would have a "Help Us Build This Game" feature to cut those games cost even further (and THAT content could feed back into the Bioshock MMORPG).