I had an idea for a videogame a while back I’d like to see. I doubt it will ever get made, but I can dream.
The basic premise of the game is pretty simple. It’s a 2D sidescroller with lots of puzzles, platforming, and combat. Pretty basic controls: Move, attack, jump, etc. Here’s where it gets interesting: The art for the game would be modular.
Essentially, first you create every item, object, enemy, etc in the game, using basic skins. Then, you take all of them, turn them into empty frames, and give them to an artist. (Each pose of the player, for example, would be a empty frame. There’d be ones for the various frames for moving, attacking, jumping, etc.) The artist then fills in those frames, which are converted into the in-game skins. You do this numerous times, so that there are a ton of different skins for everything. (Even vines, blocks, doors, and platforms.) This would take a while, but it would be doable. I can’t imagine any other style of game this would work in, though. Then, whenever you’re loading up a level, you’d choose which art skin you wanted to use. Individual artists would likely have their own exclusive levels made for them, with boss monsters that only they provide the skins for. Most of the levels you would choose the skin, though. Want a pastel, happy-go lucky skin, a black and white pencil sketch skin, a skin done by a specific comic artist? Go nuts. You’d do the same thing for sound-effects/soundtracks, too, though you’d probably have fewer of those than the art packs.
The (likely frequent) DLC for the game would have new art and sound packs, as well as new levels, so the game stayed constantly fresh. To ensure maximum playability, though, the big draw would be the level editor. You’d be able to make your own maps easily enough, which isn’t too rare, but you’d also be able to upload your own art and sound packs, which could then be downloaded by the community. In the art editing portion, you could use outside programs, or even a scanner. As long as the outside borders are recognized, it’ll be entered in. (The borders of the various sprites could be edited once it is loaded successfully.) You can upload just levels to the community, or just art, or just sound, or a whole, complete game.
Every so often, there’d be a competition for Community DLC, where the winner gets to do another, exclusive art or sound pack to be purchased by the company and included in the next DLC).
The core game/DLC art/sounds would come from all sorts of sources. Comic book artists, game developers, musicians, etc. The company could even license characters from shows, books, or (most likely) comics to do skins for. Ideally it would be the actual comic artist doing the skin. You could then do a whole level pack/ game following the appropriate storyline.
In the actual games included, you could also include hand-drawn cutscenes, or motion comics, which can both be pretty awesome. Dunno about including those in player custom games, at least for quality purposes, but there isn’t a huge reason as for why not. As for policing content, you’d eventually want to get a dedicated mod team, but that usually isn’t too difficult in these games. Add in an easy way to report obscene content, and a rating system so players could find the stuff the community loves the best, and it should be a breeze.