Time is ticking . . . .
The other day, I was reading about how we are experiencing a sort of renaissance for horror video games. Watching the industry turn away from simply trying to incorporate bits and pieces of the horror genre into first-person shoots (Doom, F.E.A.R.) to focusing on story-telling, mood-setting, and actually making you feel afraid for your over-powered character has been very cool. It must have been risky, deciding to shift from super-human heroes with an arsenal of destructive tools at their disposal to protagonists who often had no weapons at all, but the risk has paid off thanks to the Amnesia and Outlast franchises, to name a few.
But indie developer Vogelsap is about to take the biggest risk of all by releasing Flock, a game that will actually cease to exist once all of its monsters have died.
Think about that for a moment: the game will literally be taken offline and will cease, never to be played again.
Here’s the set-up: when the game is released on Steam in the third quarter of this year, players who purchase the game will play as members of a group of monsters called The Flock. All Flock members are chasing The Carrier (there’s only one), who is in possession of the Artifact, which is able to shine light on objectives around the world. Also, Flock members are vulnerable to the power of the light, and must stand perfectly still whenever the Artifact’s light is shined on them.
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When the game starts, the Flock will have a clearly-defined number of members. As this number is gradually whittled down, the number of members left will be displayed in the game’s menus, on Steam and the game website, and in the sub-reddit of The Flock. Eventually, when the number of members in the Flock hits zero, the game will be taken offline and will no longer be available to play.
However, The Flock experience will not be completely finished, as Vogelsap has promised a grand finale, a climactic ending to the story that all of the people who played the game will be invited to enjoy.
It’s hard to predict how gamers will react to the idea of playing a game that has exactly no replay value; a lot of us enjoy going back into a game and trying to either beat it on a more difficult setting, or to see if there are any hidden items/side stories that we might have missed the first time through.
Even so, I am excited by the idea of playing a game in which you are trying desperately to keep your race from becoming extinct. Imagine what it will be like once the number of Flock members hits single digits – that’s going to be wild!
And it’s hard to argue with Jeroen van Hasselt, the creative director of The Flock, when he explains that he would rather see the game conclude with an ending that everyone will remember, rather than having people gradually lose interest with the game.
What say you – after watching the trailer, will you flock to The Flock? Or will you sing, “And I Ran” as you head off in another direction?