Every year, the hashtag #RPGaDAY makes its way around the social medias, and gamers try their damnedest to answer each question every day. Most fail. I probably will too. BUT. I will try!
Today's question: What is an RPG you would like to see published?
This question isn't going to get a specific answer from me. Instead, I'm going to suggest a sort of 'approach' to publishing RPGs. We are more than a decade into the smart device era and still, RPG publishers continue to largely ignore the vast opportunity that mobile devices and tablets offer them.
What would I like to see published? Any RPG that was designed, built, and intended to be played, consumed, and sold on or with smart devices. As much as I love the smell of a new physical book, and the tactile joy of flipping through pages, the fact is that they carry a lot of disadvantages with them. And sure, PDFs are there, but for me there is something uninspiring about reading an RPG in PDF format.
So what do I mean? I envision an RPG that is sold directly through an App Store and is a fully contained game that takes full advantage of the user interface of tablets and smart phones. This of course would require an entirely new way of thinking when it comes to structuring rules. It would be a complete paradigm shift in terms of how art is incorporated into games. And of course the development and support of an app can be daunting and expensive. But the advantages are vast.
Offer the app free of charge with basic tools for the game so anyone can jump in. Your barrier to entry is lowered by miles. Then offer in-app purchases for things like an advanced players guide, modules, GM guides, and 'source books'. Build in campaign resource tools for notes, logs, maps, and more. Character sheets live in the app and are full interactive, not only with the mechanics but with the rule set.
We're getting close, but have a ways to go still. Virtual table tops like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds are steps in the right direction. But they're just platforms to simply translate games designed 'the old way' online. The app Role is the closest thing that I've found currently, but it leaves a lot to be desired in implementation and content.
If the hobby is to grow and reach new, especially younger audiences, this is something I think needs to happen. The grognards will fight it. The purists will say it will never be the same as a dead tree. The Luddites will run in terror. But someone, and if done correctly I think lots of someones, will come in droves and we could see a new age in RPG gaming.