OK. Disclaimers up front:
I am a shameless Freelancer addict. Got hooked about five years ago and have swung back into the Sirius Sector several times since, usually for at least a month or two, until I get distracted by some new shiny toy. I also recognize that programming a game like this takes a hell of a lot of time and effort and people, and they probably were under pressure to shove this puppy out the door. Still, here's a few thoughts for what Microsoft/Digital Anvil/whathaveyou might want to consider for the next game... if there is a next game.
More consideration of the Single Player Endgame/Multiplayer High End Gaming.
Let's face it... after you've reached level 38, have explored all the bases, made a few friends, a few enemies, found all the jumpholes and all the Class 10 Weapons you can shake a stick at... you might get a bit bored! Some ideas that they were tossing around before the game hit the shelves included:
- Player-built bases
- Destructible NPC bases
- Player-generated Guilds or Companies
Imagine that after you've explored the sector, made a reputation for yourself, and are sitting pretty with a bad motha' of a ship and a few million credits... then what do you do? Retire? What kind of fun is that?!? What if instead of simply pushing up a number, the game gave you the option of choosing a side... or creating one of your own! What if you could buy into a faction... not just by paying them off or doing some jobs for them, or punishing their enemies... but by actually signing up? Or better... if you had enough cash, get sponsored by a group, build a base where you want it in Sirius! If you had your own base, you would attract residents, who would then start trading/mining/patrolling... the world is full of MMO's that allow you to start a Guild for an investment of game cash, then build that Guild together with friends. Your Guild or Company would then be able to purchase strategic alliances with other factions, prompting them to trade with you, perhaps with trade concessions on both sides for certain products. There's a lot of ways that you could make the game a lot deeper this way!
Maybe you could even overthrow a government. You could side with the Bundschuh, for instance, and go kick the crap out of Rheinland, or the same deal with the Blood Dragons with Kusari. This might be doable with a number of story missions available at the faction after you're at high enough rep with them and have signed up, or have an alliance with them through your Company. You could make some of those as tough as, or tougher than, the original story missions, to provide challenge for higher level pilots with bigger, nastier ships. What if you could addict all of Liberty to Cardamine by helping the Outcasts? There are so many ways you could run it, and the best part from the developer's point of view: you could do this without needing any voice actors! Simply have the pop-up mission objectives and textual mission briefings; pick up the missions at the faction's home base.
Just a few thoughts. Maybe, just maybe, someone out there with the brains to realize what a fanbase is out there for this game might read this and realize the potential of Freelancer.