So, I’m sick to death of shooter campaigns. And here’s my idea for a game.
First off the bat, no more of this “special forces white dude, with more muscles than brain cells, follows a predictable path to beating down little brown impoverished men in a sand swept shit hole” bullshit. The problem with modern shooters is the thinly veiled lack of true internal conflict, and external threats. If you are an American special forces member, shooting brown people in a sand swept wasteland, with access to the worlds most powerful military force and sophisticated weaponry, to stave off the threat of militia troops with cold war weaponry, it’s not really a problem. You are the best at saving the world, so of course your saved the fucking world. Masterchief is a life time trained veteran. He’s a biologically engineered, cybernetically enhanced walking weapon. Its no surprise to me that he defeated the fucken Flood & Prophets, he’s Zeus and Dwayne Johnson in a suit of tank armour. There’s no ‘strugle’ there. The tragedy to the story is not heightened or powerful. It doesn’t affect him at all. He just moves on and beats asses down. That’s not good story telling at all. It’s this stupid ‘A’ to ‘B’ transtion of beginning and end, all things going mildly to plan shit, that’s wrong with the stories of shooters. They’re writting like 80’s action flicks. Then there’s the “realistic shooters”, where you are fighting in a morally ambiguous conflict, in the middle east, to stop goat farmers with your hand cannons and flying death machines. I don’t feel like I’m playing a good guy, when the USDF armed the Mujahideen during the Cold War, and invaded the Middle Eastern provinces, under false pretenses - SO, it stands to reason, that the atmosphere, that you aren’t the good guy, you’re a soldier doing his duty to his nation should be drummed into me. But no! They ,make me feel like a badass, cutting down legions of borderline defenseless impoverished South Americans, in the Favella’s of Brazil instead.
Heavily inspired by the French Resistance, during WWII German occupation of France.
You play as a mid-20’s woman, who has a serious psychological condition. And as the last remaining member of your family, you join a rebel militia to defeat a powerful occupying military force.
Story is pretty rough at this point. Your father was a run away. Your mother and sister died during the occupation raids, your younger brother was killed in the war for your country. Due to the government being overthrown, you cannot access medication for your condition, and you slowly begin a steep decent into total madness. Your psychosis loosens the reins on your mental and physical capacity, especially in regard to harming those around you (not always enemies).
Here’s the deal. The game implements madness sequences as a dark void, that simulates your surroundings at sometimes convenient times (wouldn’t it be great to be a badass psycho killing machine in a hallway with a squad of armed guards?), but not always. Sometimes the character will have to deal with her psychosis at painful, inconvenient or peaceful times, to really drum in the struggle and the pain of her mental illness. This is not Call of fucking Duty, you will have to watch her suffer REAL problems. She will feel helpless at times, she will fail, her condition will be a bane on her life. But being that she can supersede her inadequacies during her hallucinations, it will be perceived as both a gift and a curse. But no one will envy the burden she carries.
That’s the growing theme - you are fighting with the enemy, to save others from feeling your anguish, sorrow and pain. You are following the path given, not the path chosen. You are fighting for your people and your country. But, you also fight with yourself, with your grief and with your guilt. You won’t always go badass on your enemies. Sometimes she’s going to have to kill people she doesn’t want to, or feel real, human guilt and hurt from shooting someone else. She’s not a soldier. She’s a person, a young woman who has lost everything, fighting to bring an end to a conflict that has shaped her destiny, and destroyed the only life she knew. And while her circumstances weigh heavily upon her (emulating actual people, obstacles and issues), she is not ‘broken’ like some overused female fucktoy *cough* LARA CROFT *cough*, she is not fates chew toy…again, Lara fucking Croft. Her only real super power is the ever enduring will power she possess, as she clings to the only thing in her life giving her direction, because the world as she knows it has collapsed entirely.
No love interest. She’s not going to be a lovesick puppy with codependency issues, or a damsel in distress. She is not going to find salvation in the arms of some tough guy. She just lost her fucking family, I doubt she’s looking for a relationship right now, especially at the height of the occupation of her homeland. There has to be men afraid of her psychological condition, others who look up to her prowess in battle, and some who pity her for all she has suffered.
No old fart, commanding the ragtag team of militia. I’d have the leader being a young, valourous, idealistic and optimistic man, He’s not a particularly skilled soldier, but then again, you are a militia squad, so not many of you will be. He will be guided by a motherly figure, who organises the team and shares similar losses to the character, acting as her parental figure also, and a older man with military experience but not the battle axe or PTSD type, just a level headed tactician.
Add a young boy, who’s relationship with the character is a redemption for the characters guilt, for being powerless to prevent her brothers death. The boy will remind her of her little brother and she will train him, and give him moral counsel.These are real human relationships. Those who lose parents at a young age will typically seek out strong parental figures. She’s a human being, so she is not excused from that. And living with her guilt, she takes a young boy under her wing, to make peace with a dark part of her recent past.
The ‘madness’ will set in, by all of the colours brightening and the dark abyss setting in shortly after. She will have active moments, where she lashes out at those around her, kill enemies, maybe even a friend. She will have flashbacks in the madness, and key character development laid out there too. But most of all, the madness functions to drive the desperation of her journey to overcome the many obstacles in her difficult circumstances. There in lies the heart of storytelling here. She OVERCOMES ADVERSITY. See that? That’s the two words that you never fucking see in action games anymore. She has suffered immeasurable loss, and has found herself adrift, in a sea of torment and cruel fates. But, having no other choice, she has pushed through the pain and anguish, to realise a better world. See? It’s almost alien to CoD players, and Halo junkies, The idea that your character isn’t invincible and inhuman.
This is not a story of a well trained solider, kicking ass. This is the tale of a person who found the will to live on, after losing the only life she knows, through finding her place in a battle that was thrusted upon her. She makes friends and finds a new family amongst her brethren at war.
She can’t be your typical bitchy, whiny or helpless character though. She understands pain and loss, to a superhuman capacity. She’s strong willed, but she’s not your common super solider guy, reskinned as a female with a woman’s voice dubbed over it. She has to be real. Not some stupid gun toting hottie, with an attitude problem. I hate playing as female protagonists for this reason. It’s not that they’re female protagonists, it’s that they’re not really female at all. What female soldier turns around and thinks “Its mighty war on that battlefield, I better bring my two-piece, and my short-shorts” - get fucked. I’d like playing as a woman, if they’d allow me to play as one who isn’t better suited for a porn set, than a battlefield. It’s ridiculous. No person is stupid enough to take their Sunday best to the fucken green zone!
All they do in modern video games, is write a male role, pretend to be cool and edgy, throw a female skin on them, slut her up a little for wank bank material, get a female voice over in, and call it a day. It’s not deep or engaging, it’s porn for entry level virgins.
I want her to come to grips, not only with the war, her humanity, her strengths and human weaknesses, but her new life. I want her to develop and grow with the escalation of the conflict, and for her to progressively suffer more under her condition as the time passes. There’s a huge emphasis on her normality and weakness, and her ability to triumph above war and sorrow, through the power of the human spirit and the support of her new found friends. And that’s what makes her an engaging character. She’s not Masterchief. But she doesn’t have to be. She just has to keep fighting. She doesn’t have all the skills, or all the answers, but no one does, and she doesn’t need to. She has one objective - end the occupation of her homeland, and save as many lives as she can along the way. That’s what sets it apart from your run of the mill action game.
Also, the madness creates an excellent function for multiplayer. As well, it gives huge creative license to play with the mechanics. Being that she is physically in the real world, but mentally in a hallucination, the rules don’t apply. What happens, and what the player sees through her eyes, doesn’t necessarily have to align. It runs a duel story line esteem what you think you see and what really happens, and her madness can therefore augment her reality, and her recollection of past events, leaving the true nature of her life to questioning and mystery. Did she really watch her mother and sister get cut down by death squads? Or is she piecing together other people’s tales of the events? See? I was thinking it would have a strictly first person multiplayer, but the single player campaign would change between 3rd and first person, with puzzle elements brought in during the ‘madness’ sequences.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I haven’t gotten to antagonists or actual events yet. But it’s just a draft pool of concepts at this point. Feel free to give me your thoughts.