My Character Died!

7 02 2008

So what if there were a game that when you died in it, your character died. Like as in, they don’t come back. I don’t mean where you have a game over and have to start from the beginning or a save point. What if, when your character dies, you have to be someone else. And that new character has to figure out what’s going on and continue the mission of your original character.

Although, I suppose it wouldn’t quite work in game where the main character is “the one” and stuff. But maybe some games could work with this mechanic. For example….

Billy is trying to find clues to his father’s recent disappearance. As he travels along, meeting new people, gathering more clues, and fighting random bad guys for informaton, he gets killed. fade to black. Do you want to continue? Yes. The screen fades back in and you are Billy’s best friend, Hannah. You’re attending his funeral and go to console his grieving mother. You end up going to his place to help his mother collect a few things, when you discover a notebook of his adventures. Will Hannah continue his mission?

It would be interesting to see what could be possible with it. And would give some consequence to negligent playing. But I wonder if it would be too much of a pain, to be playing as this one character for so long and then due to some stupid mistake, they die. Now of course, we have to keep in mind that technically, a player could just restart their game to the last save, so we’d have to figure out a way around that. Maybe when the character dies, there will be an autosave that will save over the last saved file. Hmmmm, perhaps this mechanic would be too cruel.

Well it’s just an idea that I’d like to see developed a little further, as least just to see what is possible.

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2 responses

12 02 2008
Corvus

Ever played Nethack? I’d call permadeath a primary mechanic of Nethack. I also hosted a Round Table on the topic of death in videogames a while back. People had some really interesting things to say on the topic. Links to the entries are here:

http://blog.pjsattic.com/corvus/round-table/#0606

4 03 2008
Brian Shurtleff

Heh, I had a very similar idea to this, although I think it’d require procedural storytelling and character creation systems that won’t be around for a while now yet, in order to actually make it work, at least in the way I had imagined, and if it were to be done as a video game.
A tabletop RPG could pull it off though, actually, so maybe I’ll explore that idea… hmm!

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