Every once in a while I like to dream up cool video game ideas. You know, stuff that I would love to play but no one has made yet. Unfortunately, I don’t have time, experience or resources to develop these ideas into full fledged games. I do like to talk about them though. So here is the next installment of my armchair game design series.
Let me give you an elevator pitch for this one: Hitman meets Oblivion in a GTA like open city environment. Or to put it another way, I’d love to play a game that would essentially be the Oblivion’s Dark Brotherhood quest line, but set in modern times, and with drivable vehicles. Does that make sense?
The game would take place in an open city environment that would be open to the player from the start. All areas would be accessible, all buildings would be explorable. Just like in Bethesda games you could go into people’s houses and steal their crap and then sell it at pawn shops scattered throughout the city. Unlike the pedestrians from GTA, the inhabitants of our city would be able to interact with you. Many of them would have names and interesting lines of dialogue. When you start a mission, new dialog options would open up for the appropriate NPC’s somewhere in the city.
You would be playing an elite assassin who would obtain quests either via drop-box locations of from elusive contacts in the city. You would probably have more than one person you could bother for new contracts, and also some very shady employer that would contact you via cell phone and drop off your orders somewhere in the city.
Just like in Hitman games targets would have a set routine, and your task would be to learn it and then plan a hit around it. You would be able to do it in many ways. For example, you could just follow your target around. By default most targets would not know who you are. On many missions you would simply be able to walk up to your target and question him about his or her routine. You could also talk to their friends or people they work with. Of course some targets would expect an assassination attempt and perhaps even have your picture making things more difficult. Fortunately just like Agent 47 you would have the option to put on a disguise and sneak past the guards.
All of your targets would live in the city. They would be club owners, business men, organized crime bosses. You will bump into them every once in a while. You could kill them ahead of time, but then your employers would simply notify you they were just begging to negotiate that particular contract for you and you just screwed yourself out of a reward and experience point bonus.
Unlike the Hitman games, all the hits would happen within the city sandbox, and not in some specially designated areas. Unless specified otherwise you would be free to choose the method of assassination. For example, you could train your character to be an excellent sniper and take out every victim at a distance. You could also train in stealth and subterfuge, then get close and slit your targets throat while no one is looking. Or you could make a sabotage/demolitions expert and rig the victims car to explode, cut their break lines, puncture the gas pipe in their apartment and etc. Most missions would not specify the method of assassination for you. Some would ask to either make it look like an accident or make it obvious to send out a message. They wouldn’t actually specify the exact method, and there would usually be many different ways to do this.
Most hits would not have a deadline either – so you could stalk your targets for as log as you needed. You could take your time and pick a perfect spot to commit the crime. Doing hits in public would carry a lot of risks – it would make people freak out and call the police. Then you would have to evade capture in a GTA style car chase.
I’d like the police AI to be more realistic than in GTA games. For one, the Police would be forced to chase and arrest anyone who pulls out a gun on the street – not just you. Furthermore, if the policeman walking around in the street have not personally seen you commit a crime you could try to slip past him by walking slowly and blending into the crowd.
On the flip side, running around with a gun out on the street would be reckless. NPC pedestrians would often snap pictures of you with their cell phones for example. Or they would describe you to a police artist, and your characters face could eventually end up on a most wanted list. This would trigger police to chase you on sight, unless you were in disguise of some sort.
Finally, I’d like the game to have some sort of main story arc that would probably involve getting to know some of the NPC’s in the city, helping them out, then being forced to betray them or be betrayed yourself. You know – something with lot’s of well written dialog and convincing voice acting. The story would of course be completely optional – just like in Morrowind and Oblivion and you would be free to just take contracts from various NPC’s who work for corporations, criminal syndicates and other shady organizations.
Would you play a game like that?