Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. This is a genre that the video game market is currently flooded with. From classics like World of Warcraft and Runescape to the newest titles from Bethesda like Fallout 76 and The Elder Scrolls Online, there are plenty of online worlds to jump into if you're itching to escape the real one. Back in the Dreamcast days however, the genre was still in its infancy and had yet to make the leap from PC to console. The Dreamcast of course pioneered the way for MMOs on console with Phantasy Star Online and even earlier than that with the Japanese-exclusive Rune Jade. However calling these "Massively Multiplayer" is a bit of a stretch. While you could have hundreds (thousands?) of players on a single server, you were restricted to 4-player teams. "Multiplayer Online RPG" would probably be a more accurate term for these games. That being said, could a true MMO have worked on the Dreamcast? The answer to that question is undoubtedly yes! In fact, there were a few in the works for the console that sadly never saw the light of day. One of these games was being developed by Paradigm Entertainment, most famously known for their previous work on Pilotwings 64. I managed to get in contact with one of the 3D artists for the game, Benjamin Groves, who was gracious enough to answer a few questions about the game and give us some insight into what could have been.
A big thanks to Ben (and Gary) for taking the time to give us some info on what very well could have been the first true MMO on a console! Skies sounds like it would have been a very unique experience, even in today's flooded MMO market. Maybe one day we'll get to try it out if someone is lucky enough to find a playable build out there somewhere. If the recent discoveries of previously unknown Dreamcast games like Internet Game Pack and Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator are anything to go by, anything is possible!