My response for September’s Question of the Month is a bit late but it’s finally here. This month’s question is set by Ian from Adventure Rules. Ian is a blogger that covers both video and tabletop games, he does reviews, guides and community events. If you’re interested in video and tabletop games, Ian is your go-to guy.
The question –
You’ve been tasked with making the Ultimate Video Game, but there’s a catch – you can only piece it together from parts of other releases. You can choose separate titles for visual design, sound design, storytelling, and gameplay. What four games would you use to make the Ultimate Video Game?
I really like this question and I think it’s possible I can come up with a dream game of mine. I like detective thrillers (TV, film and video games), I have an undying love for L.A. Noire and I like survival horror (Resident Evil, The Evil Within, Condemned: Criminal Origins). My dream game would be a detective thriller survival horror.
Now I know what you may be thinking, there are already games like that out there. Condemned: Criminal Origins is a survival horror with detective elements. Deadly Premonition is close to it but not quite there. I love Deadly Premonition despite its quite obvious jankiness, to be honest, that’s part of the charm. Maybe Murdered: Soul Suspect is closer to my dream game however, I don’t know if it is or not because I have yet to play it.
Anyway, here are the four games I have chosen.
Gameplay – L.A. Noire
I’ve chosen L.A. Noire for gameplay because it’s quite possibly the closest thing to feeling like I am an actual detective in a video game. In L.A. Noire you have to investigate the crime scene, scour the area for clues and if it’s a murder, inspect the body. There’s the questioning/ interrogation of suspects, a feature I love in the game. You have to decide whether they are telling the truth, lying or if they aren’t being all that honest with you and you have evidence that can prove them otherwise.
I want to solve crimes by investigating crime scenes, questioning suspects, examining clues but these crimes have to be dark, evil, horrific and disturbing to the point where you may even throw up a little in your mouth. Dark, evil and disturbing conveniently leads us straight into my choice for visual design.
Visual design – Bloodborne
Bloodborne is one of the most visually appealing games I have ever played. Sure the game isn’t Uncharted 4 levels of graphical quality but its art style is breathtaking and in my opinion, one of the best art styles of a game this generation.
Bloodborne features some of the most grotesque and horrific looking monsters I have ever seen in a game yet despite their nightmarish appearance, there’s a sense of beauty about them. The monsters in Bloodborne are grisly, malformed and some are the things that not even your nightmares would contain. However, despite all of the hideous, nightmarish monster design, again, there’s a sense of beauty them.
The world of Bloodborne is very gothic, dark and morbid. Places are rundown, void of life except for the horrors that now inhabit it. There are corpses in the streets, fires in the middle of the roads where it seems that bodies have been burned, carriages are overturned and books are scattered in rooms as if someone left in a hurry or put up a struggle. It all adds to the atmosphere of the world.
In my dream game, I want to investigate some of the most brutal and unforgiving crimes. I want to be given another reason to pursue justice other than, I am a detective and it’s my job to solve cases and stop crime. For murder cases (my favourite in L.A. Noire) they have to be gruesome yet have a sense of beauty about it. Now that might sound weird but maybe that could be worked into the narrative? The murderer could be an artist who is killing people so he can create his magnum opus. A failed film director that films all the murders whilst planting evidence that will point the finger at someone else.
Sound design – Metro 2033
I could have also chosen Metro Last Light but 2033 works just as well. The Metro series, in my opinion, has some of the best sound design in video games today. Going through a dimly lit, abandoned tunnel in the metro is a fantastic and tense feeling and the sound design is a large reason as to why it works so well. The Metro games are best played with headphones, you’ll be doing a disservice to yourself if you don’t. I can hear water dripping from the pipes into puddles below, the faint growl of a beast and monsters breathing as if they are waiting for prey.
The sound design in Metro is truly phenomenal, it helps to build the world and the atmosphere so much. Even though I am singing praises about it, I don’t feel like I am doing it enough justice. You need to play the games in order to experience what is in my opinion, a masterclass in sound design
Storytelling – Yakuza 0
I love the Yakuza games and the stories they tell. The Yakuza games tell a very gritty, serious crime drama with so many twists and turns throughout to keep you guessing. I want this level of storytelling applied not only to each case but also the overarching narrative.
I want each case to puzzle me, throw me through a loop, make me ask the question “have I got the right person”. Even though I am asking questions as a detective, I want to question myself throughout each case. I want to learn at the same time as the detective I am playing as. These cases have to be very serious, well written and superbly acted like the stories in the Yakuza games.
The overarching narrative has to do the same, it has to keep me guessing throughout the game right up until the end. I would say a good 60% of the cases have to tie into the main story. I want each one to have some impact on the overarching narrative, be it small or large. Again the main story has to be serious, dramatic, thrilling and tense like the Yakuza games.
I know I’m asking a lot when it comes to developing a survival horror detective thriller but I believe it can be done. If such a game is in the works somewhere, you can be sure that I’ll play it.
That’s my answer to September 2018’s Question of the Month, did you like it? Let me know in the comments below.
This answer is a part of the Question of the Month event which is hosted by Later Levels. There’s still time to answer the question, so if you have a good response to this question, why not give it a go?