In my previous life, I lived as a Ph.D. student. One of the constant themes concerned throughout my doctoral studies was how our research fit into the overall conversation. In other words, how did the research reflect what other people are talking about and how does it extend this dialogue. What they were teaching me was the importance to know dialogue behind a certain topic, how people are approaching it, and how my research could be a part of this dialogue to the point that it could possibly further the area of research.
Fast forward to a year later. I am learning to use this perspective as a producer and as a game designer. As a result, a question I am beginning to ask is how our game fits into the current state of games. In other words, how does it compare to other games and thus how does this influence our decisions as designers. This idea ultimately leads to the game becoming a part of a dialogue.
For example, and one that will ultimately lead back to one of our thesis prototypes, the game Titanfall has become a huge conversation within the shooter community. The reason for this dialogue is because the game is challenging how we understand and consume contemporary shooters. Since the developers formally worked on Call of Duty, they’ve taken the many ideas from their previous franchise. However, what makes Titanfall standout from the crowd and the shadow of CoD is how it borrows mechanics seen in many platforming games. For instance, they uses the ability to run on walls, double jump, and being able to scale large structures. This in turn creates new strategies for the player. Because of this, Titanfall has become a part of a larger conversation regarding the shooter genre and how it can be pushed into newer, exciting areas.
Taking this understanding, we have been approaching how we can become a part of the larger conversation through our own multiplayer shooter game, Hostile Territory. Taking the creative lead on HT, in addition to my duties as a producer, I have been doing my best to reflect how the game is a part of the larger conversation. We are ultimately taking the knowledge of the game’s genre and showing how the game compares to other similar games so as to become a part of the ongoing dialogue.
To be specific, HT is a shooter game similar to many current games such as the CoD or Battlefield franchises. Nevertheless, the game takes the core aspects of the genre and expounds upon it. The game extends the core by creating a vastly dynamic environment and at the same time allowing players to utilize the entire three-dimensional space. Our reasoning for using these mechanics is to create new strategies for the player and to lessen the opportunity for exploiting camping, which I hope will drive the need for stronger teamwork. Our game, therefore, takes what we have seen in recent shooters and like Titanfall, it communicates ideas about the state of the shooter genre.
Ultimately, when others play the game my hope is they will easily understand how HT is reflecting deeper ideas behind the shooter genre. My desire is for the game to extend the dialogue for how we can find new ways of designing shooter games that employ mechanics unique to the current field of games. And my hope is to show how shooter games can become more exciting and engaging for the player.