Tuesday, December 10, 2013

If I Made It: The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (video game)

Outline:  A game with this title already exists and I haven't played it but by all accounts it is terrible with a Metacritic rating of 32/100.  Also Telltale games has a Walking Dead game out that by all accounts is awesome and totally encapsulates the feeling of the series.  But we aren't really here to encapsulate the feeling of the series.  We're here to chop up some zombies with previously established badass characters.  Now the actual Survival Instinct game follows Daryl and Merle Dixon. Daryl is an awesome badass with a heart of gold underneath a tough exterior and Merle is a racist.  That's great but I don't think you can make a game out of their exploits.  At most you can maybe spend a couple of  hours with them.  That's pretty much true with any one person in this world there just isn't enough variety to justify a full length game, especially one that doesn't fudge the current cannon.  A game is hard to do because Dead Rising exists and I was thinking about making the whole game about Morgan Jones who holds an entire small town by himself but that also already exists and it's called Dead Rising: Case Zero and it's downloadable for the 360.  I think the best way to get around this is to make the game about more than one character, four characters to be exact, each character getting about 6+ hours of gameplay.  The goal of this game isn't to capture the ennui of the show, especially since we already have that game (and it's won all the awards), the point is to play as the shows biggest badass' and focus on the survival and fear aspects.


-General features:
--Everything would be a close third person perspective like Resident Evil 4.  Something that severely limits your rear and side view and show's a limited scope of what's in front of you allowing the possibility to be surprised.  When you aim a weapon you look down the sight but in a third person perspective sort like an iron sights targeting but you still see a part your character.
--No HUD, health and stamina are determined by how your character looks and moves.  Red tinge around the screen is health and black "tunnel vision" is stamina, character will stumble, weave, be hard to aim and be hard to control based on injury or lack of stamina.  Health can be regenerated along with stamina by eating or drinking.  Certain wounds require a first aid kit, first aid will be applied in real time through a series of quick time events so you have to make sure you're in a safe location first.
--Player is very squishy, a bite or a scratch means slow but eventual death.  Walkers only take one solid hit to the head but can be wounded to cripple them.  Humans can be killed with a bullet or two but if you don't take out the brain they will rise again.

-Chapter One follows Daryl Dixon very early on in the outbreak.  He's out in the woods hunting with his crossbow and comes across his first walker and then a bunch more walkers.  Hunting and stealth are the main mechanics of this chapter.
--The combat would be knife and crossbow with an emphasis on finding the bolts after you use them.  In the series Daryl couldn't hold more than maybe 5 bolts so neither can you.  There would be way more than five walkers so you would have to make careful use of avoidance, the crossbow and the knife to survive.
--The chapter would take place primarily out in the woods, the 6 hour segment would be half during the day and half at night.  You would come across your first walker, dispose of it, be approached by more and have to run.  Then as night came on and you got closer to your trailer more walkers would appear forcing you to use a combination of stealth, survival and shooting.
--You'll need to eat food and drink water to keep moving and keep your aim steady.  But more importantly you'll have to stock up on food for the long trip after you leave home which means hunting even though you may not need it now.  Daryl won't let you go on if he doesn't think he has enough food.
--You travel from the middle of the woods back to your trailer to check on your father.  Once you get there you find the place is over run but you have to put your father down before moving on.  Daryl won't go before giving the bastard what he deserves.

-Chapter Two follows Michonne a bit after the outbreak as she travels down an Atlanta highway late afternoon.  Swordplay will be the main mechanic of this chapter.
--Flanked by two walkers she has an easier time getting through a massive horde that also occupies the highway (the same one the walked past Rick's group, Michonne is coming up the opposite way so she encounters them after they passed his group) but you will have to fight occasionally as you scavenge for certain supplies.  These intermittent fights will familiarize yourself with the new combat system.
--Michonne fights with a sword so you have a horizontal slash and 3 hit combo, a vertical slash and 3 hit combo, combinations of horizontal and vertical, a counter/parry and finally a focus cut mode.  By focusing in time slows down a little, things still move so you have to act fast but it give you time to pick where you want to slash.  You can change areas with the left stick, move X and Y axis with right stick and slash with the trigger.  This allows you to disarm or behead enemies with precision instead of hacking, although hacking still only takes one or two hits.  Cut location is shown with a moving orange line where the sword will cut.
--Your scavenging attracts the attention of a large group of bandits who are camped nearby.
----For fans they are the group that Randall is part of and run afoul of Rick's group in the bar in town.  In the show the group is described, basically as heavily armed rapists numbering around 20-30 (I think).  Randall says there are women and children in the group but the other two group members that try to kill Rick don't suggest this and neither does anything else Randall says.
--But you are forced to take out the group at night without your walkers when they try to attack you after witnessing them doing something terrible.  You'll end up having to use the highway and the woods to your advantage against them while also fending off walkers and possibly using the walkers against them.
--By morning you walk down main street of the town near the Green Farm, see the chaos from the attack on Rick by a few members of that gang and then through the forest again.  The chapter ends when you save Andrea from walkers.

-Chapter 3 you play as Morgan Jones after the death of his son.  This focuses on Morgan going back to the Sheriff department and loading up on guns and then making supply runs and setting traps during the day and surviving at night in a open world small town.
--Time passes in real game time with objectives to accomplish each day.  During the first day you collect supplies to build your first set of traps.  Setting traps will be the primary mechanic of this chapter.
--The first day you learn to set traps (find materials, develop plans and build), the second day you go to the Sheriff department and the four more days you, burn walkers, scavenge your arsenal, build traps and survive.
--Day time will be mostly an open world resource sim with objectives and a little combat with walkers.
--Night time would be a tower defense, you have a small perimeter around your house that you can move in and your job is to fend off walkers until day.  You have to be back at your house by a certain time or you're overrun with walkers.
--As the days progress your traps can become more complicated.
--Chapter ends after 6 days, making this the longest chapter by almost twice as much.  The chapter ends when Morgan goes to Rick's house on an hallucination.  He think he sees Rick going into his house.  Morgan goes through Rick's house looking for Rick before realizing it was a walker and becoming suddenly overcome by walkers and he's forced to burn down the whole neighborhood and retreat to his house to survive.

-Chapter 4 you play as Merle Dixon.
--You start the chapter on the Atlanta roof and you have to saw your hand off.  After a series of quick time events you get a hacksaw, try to saw the handcuffs, realize the saw is too dull, tie a tourniquet and saw off your hand.
--Then you have to make your way off the roof, control is wobbly with Merle stumbling as he looses blood.  You have to fight your way through walkers, cauterize the wound and steal a truck to get out of there.
--Merle then wakes up, it was just a dream/flashback and we follow his time with The Governor in Woodbury.
--This section will focus on squad based combat as the main mechanic with cover based shooting.
--The Governor will send you on a series of mission for supplies, to clear out walkers and finally to clear out a rival clan.
--Squad mates would be AI controlled but could also be ordered.  If Merle sneaks they will sneak and generally follow behind Merle and attack who he attacks with some basic combat logic.  Orders would be context sensitive.  Merle could focus on a team mate with one trigger, an aura would go around them to show who you had selected then you move your view with the right stick and parts of the environment would light up.  So Merle could take cover, highlight a squad mate, look at a different cover point, which would highlight and then use the directional pad for a command which the squad member would then execute.  The command could also be context sensitive or you could have four universal commands like "Go", "Attack", "Look" and "Do".  "Go" would send someone to a place where they would wait for you, like a cover point or a door or a random place. "Attack" would send someone there where they would then attack any aggressives or attack a particular target, even chase the target if they run.  "Look" would have them look at something and tell you what's going on when they get there or tell you what they see, send them to a cover point further up and they would tell you if they see the enemy or walkers or anything that you need to be aware of.  "Do" would have them charge doors or activate a switch or any interactive part of the environment.
--Chapter would end after taking out the rival camp holed up in a chunk of residential area nearby.

-Epilogue would follow Rick from the hospital to the Sheriff's department.  It would be a quick section just to end on Rick getting his sheriff's outfit on and starting the series.

-After the game is done there would be sort of like a Mercenaries mode.  There would be several environments (at least the sections from each chapter, wilderness/park, highway/woods, small town Main Street, small town neighborhood and Woodbury and it's surrounding area and the hospital/sheriff's department) that you could take each of the player characters through.  The goal is just to survive as long as you can, however long that can be.  The days run in real time, the walkers are pretty thick and you constantly need to find food and water.

-Finally the last play mode would be a time trial where you protect the CDC in Atlanta.  You are an anonymous soldier and start out at an overrun truck within sight of the CDC and you have to fight your way through the herd to get to the perimeter, defend the perimeter and then make your way into the CDC before they close it down.  Your time choices are 5, 10,15, 30 and 60 minute survival.  More time adds random objectives to accomplish during the time period.  You are graded on if you survived, how long your survived, how many walkers you killed, how many people you helped and how efficiently you accomplished objectives.  Points covert to cash and cash is spent at the store for new weapons, extra ammo and buffs for this mode only.

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