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Idea: An open world stealth RPG

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I haven't came up with the name yet, but I've had an idea in my head for an open world stealth RPG. It's set in Seattle, has an 18-year-old female protagonist, and mixes human enemies with infected. There's on-foot stealth action and vehicles for transportation. It takes place in the future, roughly in the 2030s, and has a feel that's like today except when noted. I'll break this down, starting with story and then gameplay

Story - Pre Events

The story starts roughly 9 months before events of the game proper. The main character is Alexandria "Alex" Wells. She's Seattle-born, though she's spent some time growing up in Canada with her mother. She's the daughter of Keith Wells, originally from Dover, Delaware, and is a military type who is the head of Lightwatch's Seattle division. Her mother is Kayla Holloway, a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and worked as a nurse, specifically a medic for Canada who assisted the US overseas in a war, where she met Keith. She also has a younger 9-year-old sister, who means the world to her, named Karissa "Kris" Wells. This becomes important immediately. 

As you can tell, Alex is half-Canadian, and is more proud of her Canadian heritage than her American one, being disillusioned with how things have gone in the US. Her parents have been divorced for years, not long after Kris was born, and as her youth she spent time in both the US and Canada swapping between her parents. As mentioned, her father works for Lightwatch, which is the biggest private military organization in the world. After winning many victories against terrorists and revolutionaries, Lightwatch has a seat on the United Nations, and has set up in many major cities, which includes Seattle. Keith being a major hero before joining Lightwatch and leading the Seattle division, he is highly respected by just about everyone. Except Alex, that is.

Kayla died three years before the story began, forcing Alex and Kris to live with their father. What has soured her view of him is the fact she knows that he knows how Kayla died, and he refuses to tell her. There were shady circumstances behind Kayla's death, Alex is certain of that, and if her own father can't tell her what it is, then he's not much of a father at all. Naturally, they've had many arguments, and Alex can barely stand look at him in the face. She plans to take care of Kris herself when she is able to, as she has basically been doing when her father was away at work, so Kris won't be alone with someone Alex can't stand.

Before the story begins, she attends high school in Seattle. She's not one of the most popular girls in school by a long shot, but she has her friends. These include Evan Jonas, a nerd/geek who has a not-so-secret crush on Alex but still acts as her friend, Kasumi "Sumi" Asano, an intelligent and kind girl originally from Japan who Alex speaks to about her issues, Kenny McGlynn, a popular jock but also a nice guy open to anyone, Malcolm Hill, an African-American with an equal interest in both hip-hop and geeky things, and Stacy Rose, a rich girl who still has a good heart (though Alex secretly envies her perfect life). But for her friends, there are enemies. There are those who tease her for being the daughter Lightwatch's Seattle head, for not being with the "in crowd", for driving a crappy pickup truck because her father refuses to spoil her, and for not having a Drone (a small, highly expensive supercomputer that projects a hologram). The biggest enemy is the #1 queen bee of the school, Tilly Maxwell. She's rich, enough to tease Stacy for not being on her level, and has made Alex her personal enemy for no apparent reason than to feel better about herself. There is nothing off-limits for what Tilly will do to get under Alex's skin, and that fateful day she takes it too far when she insults her mother. She says Kayla died because Alex was such a bitch that she killed herself to get away from her. Depending on what the player does, that can prove to be a BIG MISTAKE

Story - Current Events

Now, this is where the story begins. Just after her confrontation with Tilly, she's either in her classroom or at the principal's office. It starts with the school being invaded by zombie-like creatures of an unknown origin. At first, it just seems like people limping around, but then they begin enter the school, and in more-and-more numbers. They start biting and infecting those who try to keep them away. This event forces the school to evacuate, and naturally there's a massive panic as students begin scrambling to find an exit as the zombies, or the Infected, as they are known in game. If Alex attacked Tilly, the player controls Alex as she guides her way through school, as she sneaks her way through the hallways, avoiding Infected, and makes her way to the classroom. Alternatively, if the player chose not to attack Tilly for what she said, it starts in the classroom, and the game continues in a cutscene. Basically, the whole class is under lockdown but that won't do them any good. They make their way around, trying their best to avoid Infected, and make a run to the buses. This is where the gameplay really starts. The driver is attacked, and killed, leaving Alex as the one to drive the bus. Alongside her classmates is the teacher and school nurse, who make their way inside.

Then it transitions to the player controlling Alex driving the bus as she goes through the streets of Seattle, ramming any infected along the way. When she gets to a certain point, she realizes that Kris is also in danger at her school, and shifts the bus over to her school (at the protest of some of the classmates, but she's not going to let those people dictate her from not saving her sister). Then she drives to the elementary school, and right on time Kris and classmates run outside. She gets them to get in the bus, and she immediately sets it into high gear. This is when it becomes clear the whole city is under attack by Infected, and the only safe haven is the countryside west of Seattle. One of their relatives has a farm out there, where they can take refuge. The bus drives all the way out to the farm, where all the 40+ residents of the bus take refuge in. It's here where she gets a call from her father. Keith tells her to stay out there, that it's too dangerous for her in Seattle and it would be best to wait until it's declared safe. Western Washington as a whole is put under quarantine by Lightwatch, until it's considered safe. Until then, there's a forcefield set up along with troops with their weapons ready to keep anyone from coming out.

Everything picks up 9 months later. The conditions are miserable, as they've ran out of food and must turn to hunting and gathering to survive. People are going crazy from being unable to leave the place, there are many fighting with each other, and all the while Alex is trying to keep Kris safe and comfortable in the conditions they're in. Then, it all changes one night. The farm is raided by Lightwatch agents, who shoot anyone standing in their way. It's not known why they're doing this, it's just a senseless slaughter. While they kill the adults they find, the children are kidnapped. Some manage to escape during the chaos, either by running away, faking the dead, or flat-out surviving from getting shot. Alex was knocked out during the attack, just before than she saw Kris getting taken away.

The next day, Alex awakens in a bed that was set up by school nurse Margot Page, who managed to survive the raid and is taking care of the wounded. Alex speaks to Margot, realizing in horror how many were killed, and that Kris was kidnapped by the same people who her father worked for. But there was one degree of relief, she learned that all of her friends had to have survived, as none of their bodies were found. Alex gets dressed, wearing a blue jacket with jeans and boots, as well as a scarf around her neck. Her only weapon she can find is a hunter's bow, which she would have to do. She also gets a hold a Drone, which was one of the rich kid's before they were killed. She takes it, realizing it could be useful. Alex takes the keys to the truck the family owned (who sadly did not survive the attack), and sets out to Seattle, torn from the Infected, the people turning on each other, and the corrupt Lightwatch organization, and plans to find both Kris and way out of the hellhole Seattle has become.

Gameplay

The game is an open world stealth game with RPG elements. As there is a mix of both human and Infected enemies, the player often cannot take them head-on. Obviously, an 18-year-old girl from high school with no background in combat isn't going to be much of a fight against a bunch of trained soldiers straight up. But with her trusty bow and arrow, and her patience in stealth, she can pick her enemies off from the shadows. As previously mentioned, her primary weapon is the bow and arrow, which you'll primarily be using. Though you can use guns, you're often advised not to. With a bow, you can silently dispatch enemies while making the perfect shot, and you can retrieve your arrows from the ground after they're used. You'll have to stick to cover, and in the shadows, to be able to survive. There are several kinds of arrows apart from the standard. There are explosive arrows to give enemies a big surprise, poison arrows to deploy a shroud of toxic gas that'll make short work of enemies groups together, and smoke arrows to provide visual denial, for instance. When you sneak up on an enemy, you'll be using your bow to choke them to death. You'll also be using it to make ziplines that'll allow you to get to different places.

The RPG elements comes in with you choosing what kind of skills you'll have, and you'll upgrade your weapons. There are various secrets located in the map for you to find, and sometimes they can provide a nice reward. It takes inspiration from the original Mass Effect trilogy, with options that are like Paragon/Renegade, here called Wish/Fate. A Wish is the good option, a Fate is a bad option, that will decide what you do, which also affects the story. However, it's not always cut-and-dry, as you'll find it easier sometimes to choose Fate than Wish, and going with the good option isn't necessarily going to give you good results.

 An example of a Wish has you sparing or saving someone from dying, while a Fate has you either executing them or leaving them to die, just as an example. The first time the choice comes up is when Tilly insults Alex's mother. She grips her fist, and her friends try to tell her that she's better than stooping down to her level. Here, you either choose Wish to refrain from attacking her and listening to your friends, or Fate to beat her within an inch of her life. Another Wish or Fate option is when you arrive at the farm. You gather a bunch of hormone-filled teenagers in a farm after a crisis, and guess what they do? Of course they have an orgy. Choosing Wish will have her disgusted by it, and instead keeping Kris and her friends company. Choosing Fate will have her basically say "Eh, what the hell" and join in on the action.

You also have an open world Seattle as your playground. It's been run-down over the 9 months since the Infected, and a portion of the population has died off. There are various human factions trying to survive at any cost, often at your detriment. You'll be going through Seattle trying to meet up with your lost friends, and get to the bottom of what exactly is going on. The idea is that you'll want Alex to win as she goes through an intense journey, and you'll be guiding her along making difficult decisions and having to live with the consequences. There are vehicles at your disposal, to make traversing the large areas easier. You also have access to music, which you can collect at various spots to add to your library. There are groups of Infected, various hideouts full of crazies, and Lightwatch outposts full of soldiers. There are of course, non-threats out there you can talk to and get quests from to help out the lives of others, for a reward of course.

 

Well, this is basically what I have in mind and something I've wanted for a while. If there's any questions or suggestions, let me know!

Edited by TRock

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The story seems fun, and very ambitious.

On 6/26/2017 at 0:21 PM, TRock said:

If there's any questions or suggestions, let me know!

My first suggestion is to reduce the scope significantly.  You've described an ambitious project that would take far more work to implement than you probably realize.

As for the design, I'd spend some effort evolving how you want your skills and abilities to work.  In most games that provides most of the depth and variability.

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open world stealth RPG. It's set in Seattle, has an 18-year-old female protagonist, and mixes human enemies with infected. There's on-foot stealth action and vehicles for transportation. It takes place in the future, roughly in the 2030s, and has a feel that's like today except when noted.

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Can you describe the game in one sentence? Here's my attempt: An open world stealth RPG set in a post-apocalyptic future city with a zombie invasion.

 

Now if that is the case some of the stories is irrelevant. ie. UN fighting terrorists. Also, does the game being open world add absolutely anything to the gameplay? Unless you have some kind of aspect that makes doing the extra effort of creating an open world worthwhile I'd advise against it. And even if you do unless you have about 20 people to make this game I'd advise changing it.

 

2ndly what is the focus of the game? Will it be the story? Or will it be the stealth? Or will it be killing your enemies? Or perhaps survival?

 

In any of these cases does it make sense to have RPG mechanics? Do features such as levelling and complex dialogue system and a looting system (I'd say you need all 3 to make it an RPG) add anything to the game? If I were you I'd pick one specific RPG mechanic and just focus on that.

 

ie this would be my game from your idea.
 

Spoiler

I would make a stealth game set in a post-apocalyptic future city with a zombie invasion that focuses on a procedural weapon and armour looting system, that revolves around 5 stats, damage, piercing, armour, dodge, stealth. Additionally, their are three other stats, health, Sleepness, and hunger.(Sleepness and hunger only affect the player)

All characters have a unique default of these stats above to some degree. Zombies tend to have high damage, health, and piercing, but low piercing, armour, dodge, and stealth. Scavenger humans have low health, and armour, but high dodge and stealth, while dad's guards have good armour, damage, and health, but low stealth. Each character has unique stats though. And the player knows these stats.

The main character is an 18-year-old girl whose mother died a year before the outbreak. Her father a big government contractor, who is very aloof never told her how her mother died and instead buried himself in his work. Now 8 months into the zombie outbreak she is running low on food and water and has no choice, but to venture further into the city to survive.

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Edited by mfgcasas

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