Interesting ideas. Several genres have been mentioned, and I think you would need to pick a genre. Blending genres doesn’t often work out well and would be too ambitious for a starting game, but if it could be done very well after the earlier games are proven, it could be a major breakthrough game.
The genres that I think have the most mass appeal possibilities would be:
Simulations like The Sims–I was never fond of these games, but it seems mimicking this approach would give the best day-to-day life choice options for a Catholic game
RPGs–these tend to be combat focused, which inherently presents a challenge to a Catholic game, trying to avoid being greatly focused on violence. Mixed with puzzles and mysteries and other problem-solving, it could provide some real opportunities. Some thoughts here:
These might work well first as RPG tabletop games to test a system. Surprisingly enough, White Wolf (makers of :shudder: Vampire the Masquerade) seemed to pioneer morality-based systems to a minor degree.
A Dante’s Inferno (and other works) approach could be very engaging, as could mimicking the fantasy/sci-fi works of other writers (C.S. Lewis) or delving into Angelology, perhaps progressing through the ages of man.
Historical RPGs set in OT times, or pre-Constantine Rome, late Rome, Crusades, or Renaissance could create compelling scenarios for Knights, Monks/Nuns, Priests, Lords, etc. I almost hate to mention them again (as amoral as most of their products are), but White Wolf actually produced a decent RPG (Inquisitor) focused on the PCs playing roles as monster hunters rooting out and destroying the evil supernatural creatures (demons, vampires, werewolves, etc).
MMORPGs–This would be even more challenging, but could create more of a community flavor.
Party Games–IMO, we need more good Wii-style party games for families and friends to gather around and socialize with. Not sure how to make these particularly Catholic, but this would be the most fulfilling kind of game if it could be achieved, because of the superior social aspect.
Strategy/RTS–This genre is ripe for historical scenarios and showing how choices can affect the course of history. As my brother is fond of saying, the solution for one age becomes the problem for the next. Or, in a similar vein, schisms, heresies, corruptions, and societal apostasies are the unpaid debts of the failures and sins of the Church’s members. That is, to the extent that we are unwise and unloving as a Church, the world suffers. The converse would also be true (where would the world be without the Church and its Saints? I shudder to think!)
Again, the historical eras mentioned for RPGs would work here, except choices would be made at a more strategic level (national or at least community).
“Civilization” style approaches focus far less on war than most RTS’s.
A strictly war-based game would be inappropriate, I believe, but I think a good battlefield/war component could be a compelling inclusion that could attract a lot of attention to the games and make them more playable.
These could be a great opportunity to delve into the political/societal implications of choices, and the role of citizenship
They could also be a great avenue for teaching accurate histories. The Crusades come to mind…Maybe that “Military Orders” concept could be fleshed out into an RTS. Of course, things could go much better in the game if abuses are avoided and Just War principles more carefully applied.
Puzzle/Mystery/Problem Solving–Not too familiar with these, either, but could be an antidote to the Da Vinci Code by playing off the similar mystery appeal.