Codemasters is the latest publisher to announce that it has a massively multiplayer role-playing game in the works. Dragon Empires is due for release next summer and promises to "raise the bar in persistent-world gaming", not that this should be too hard given the quality of most current titles. Trying to stand out from the growing throng, Dragon Empires focuses on competitive as well as co-operative gameplay, and gives player-run clans the opportunity to rule cities or entire countries while waging war on each other through player vs player combat. According to producer Ted Carron, this means that the game "is more intense and competitive, driving people into groups where the real benefit of online gaming lies".
To avoid this leading to total anarchy, players can end up as outlaws if they misbehave, resulting in not only other players but also guardian dragons hunting them down, something which should help to deter all but the most hardened criminals. How this will pan out with thousands of players running around in the world remains to be seen, but it may be enough to keep the game from vanishing amongst the deluge of massively multiplayer titles currently in development.