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Police games

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Hey!

I've always wondered why there's so few good Police games out there... When I was (a lot) younger I used to play Hill street blues on my Amiga, and I remember that it felt really police:ish - allthough it was pretty hard to get the cop cars to go where you wanted them to go. But you could call for backup, call in the swat-team, stop the traffic , and all kinds of other stuff that I can't remember. I would really love a game like GTA but you play as a cop and you have to act like a cop to succeed. True crime sucked, but had some potential, the Police Quest series is good but lacks a bit of action. The more modern Sierra police games is strictly Swat action, which is cool but I want to arrest shoplifters, stop random cars for speeding, be in a riot, etc....
I guess it's easier to be a criminal...

Cheers!

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Yeah I think a Police game where you go about apprehending criminals would be very cool. Kind of like GTA but with good moral values biggrin.gif

You could work your way up through the ranks, from starting off on the beat chasing muggers and shoplifters on foot, to getting in a squad car and chasing joyriders and armed robbers, to joining the SWAT team to tackle heist or hostage situations. You could even work your way up to be police chief where you deal with the mayor and politicians and allocate resources, although that would be a different kind of game entirely and probably pretty boring. And of course there is the solving crime side to it all, where you become a detective.


Still, there is enough there to make a really good game, and you're right, it's about time someone made a good one.

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I think that police game are avoided cause of these two issues:
- They become a cliché (I mean we saw too many police stories in films, serial tv, books and previous games).
- Plain morality is less requested by the audience. I mean that in these years I read so many articles about stories conflict, and I saw that the moral conflict is more requested, like "The shield" (that BTW is a police story), The Witcher, other crime games (such as Mafia, GTA and all this line), 24 and many others.

I see that there still be some police character such as the one in wheelman that is an undercover agent.

Although I think that a new police game can be created, but, if you really want to create a game police story, you have to study it thoroughly since it can became really easy to fall in clichés or in too plain moral conflict.

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Some of the more successful police stories of this time are much closer to reality than to morality, which is probably why they're successful, too.

Such as the "Law and Order" series where the district attorney jails more people with wrongful convictions than with legitimate ones, because getting someone in jail is cool. They all deserve it anyway.

Or, in the "Special Victim Unit" spin-off where the main protagonist likes to break a chin or an arm every now and then to press his victims into a confession. Which is cool, because they probably deserved it, too. Plus, he closes nearly every case, except the ones where a family member or friend is involved. But hey, that's family, it's ok to shove that under the rug. It's ok to get violent towards someone because he reminds you of something in your own family too, because hey you're a cop. He probably deserves it anyway.

And then there's the various CSI series where you regularly the lines "it does not matter what you say, I think you're the culprit, and I will prove it" and "oh darn, the evidence shows he didn't do it, can't we find something else?". Hey, we're not biased at all, they deserve it anyway. That latino guy looks like a latino, he is probably guilty too.

Fun, except the real police are the same.

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One of the games that I've always wanted to make is some kind of tactical swat vs criminals game -- either a top-down-tactics or FPS. Like the old Rainbow6, you'd start by plotting your raid (from low level from snatch'n'grabs to bank robberies). The bad guys have to undertake criminal actions (like breaking and entering, threatening with firearms, shooting, etc) during their raid, each of which gives power to the good guys by raising their "star level" (etc... "wanted" mechanic). As the crimes get more serious, the police team can progress from beat cops through SWAT, choppers etc... This could even work in multiplayer as long as the police response is limited to the power of the criminal raid chosen (shoplifter <-> mall cop, armed robber <-> patrolman, guy with an AK <-> SWAT sniper).

Regarding morality, there's lots of ways to make the morality of a policeman seem grey instead of black/white, e.g.
* portray the police as morally righteous in pursuing their duty, but ultimately a tool of corruption if their political masters are corrupt (e.g. suppressing dissent/protest, enforcing unjust laws, etc)
* give the player options to become corrupt in exchange for advancement, etc...
* give the player an incentive (and justification) to becoming corrupt, like looking after their family, etc...
* give the player the ability to accidentally arrest innocents or miss criminals during missions
* recount anecdotes of anyone innocent who's had to deal with an unhelpful policeman IRL... ;)

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I think a game like this could actually work, if you focused on the right things. As a detective, it would be neat to gather and analyze evidence in order to solve a crime (either correctly or incorrectly to advance an agenda, career goals, etc.). Not so much fun as a regular blue, eating donuts, setting speed traps and generally pestering people who go about their daily lives.

Ooh it would be fun to have a game where you are a meter maid, where you walk around downtown marking tires.. and if the cars are still there when you walk back around the block then you write them a ticket ;)

But in all seriousness, many games leave the opportunity to advance social commentary off of the table... this concept could be one of those groundbreaking ideas that tries to reverse that trend.

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I think a game like this could actually work, if you focused on the right things. As a detective, it would be neat to gather and analyze evidence in order to solve a crime (either correctly or incorrectly to advance an agenda, career goals, etc.). Not so much fun as a regular blue, eating donuts, setting speed traps and generally pestering people who go about their daily lives.


L.A. Noire sounds very promising and it's based around the detective gameplay, you've described. There are other elements involved, but still, it seems to be focussed on evidence collection and witness interrogation.

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