Sunday, January 5, 2014

The AvP Conundrum Part III

In Part II, I discussed the gameplay for each species as well some other nuances. Here, we go into multiplayer and features and finally conclude this conundrum.

In a lot of ways, 2010's Aliens vs. Predator did it right. The game modes are certainly appropriate. Besides the traditional Deathmatch, Species Deathmatch, Domination and Survival modes, they brought us Infestation and Predator Hunt. I think the concept is good for all of these, but the execution was off. The problem with a game like this is that it's hard to design a level where no species has the advantage. The dark, claustrophobic tunnels level, for example, clearly gives the Xenomorph a huge advantage. Moreover, Rebellion, god bless 'em, gave both the Predator and the Alien the "Instakill" ability by hitting the E key at the right moment (ei. behind an enemy or in front of a stunned enemy). The problem with this is that it allows Xenomorph and Predator players to spam the E key. This wouldn't be a problem if the timing window was smaller or the ability had a cool down. This and level design need to be addressed. Larger, open areas where they can keep enemies at range are the Marines' playground. More levels like that perhaps?

Other must-haves: 

Both of these fantastic franchises have always been what those in the movie biz call a "hard R". That's Rated R. Language, sure. But mostly gore. Not gratuitous gore, but not restrained gore either. Again, 2010's AvP got this right. They pulled no punches, but didn't over do it. They were faithful to the source material. These are brutal creatures! They don't slit throats and strangle victims, they disembowel their prey! This needs to stay in an AvP game!
Original Music
The soundtrack for both of these franchises is iconic. James Horner's orchestral score to Aliens is perfect for the material and the setting. Alan Silvestri's suspenseful score to Predator, with the use of bongo-type percussion and jungle-type beats really captures not only the mood but the Predator itself. Both of these scores are laser etched into the fanbase's memory, invoking an almost Pavlovian response when heard, with or without accompanying visuals.This needs to be in-game, whether completely pulled from the films or somehow made into an amalgamation and it needs to be dynamic. Tone and mood is so important for this franchise.

This is the tone and mood setter, just the thought of trekking though the jungle with Predator's iconic score surrounding me bring goosebumps.
Original sound effects
As with the music, the sounds of these franchises are iconic. The Pulse Rifle's almost electronic bangs and the guttural animal-like growls of the Predator and everything in between. Why would you bother to change these, not only are these sounds perfect and loved by the fans, it seems like it would be less work to use these as opposed to making new ones.
Abilities portrayed in the movies 
While the games, over the years, have included many of the iconic abilities of all three species such as motion sensors and cloaking, some are missing or have no implementation in multiplayer. For example, the Predator can record sounds and essentially "throw" that sound somewhere to attached a prey to that location. I'd like to see this ability in multiplayer. I can see players falling right into the trap if you playback the sound of a Xenomorph or Marine being killed.
Additionally, how about being able to place sentry guns as a Marine or spit acid as an Alien? There are too many to discuss, really, but think this would add a lot to the asymmetrical warfare that is AvP multiplayer.
Mission Editor,
I realize this is asking a lot, but fact of the matter is, fans have been imagining and creating scenarios in their heads with these nightmare creatures for decades at this point. Let the players have the ability to create whatever scenario they want. An entire company of Marines with armor and air support assaulting a Xenomorph hive in an icy tundra or stalking a small Marine base in the middle of a desert as a Predator. You think or it, you create it, complete with scripts and triggers. Not only is this feature fun, but it adds to the lifespan of the game by giving unlimited replayability.

Co-op Mode
Need I say more?



I realize much of this is cautiously optimistic to say the least, but as I said in part I, if the game is to be huge, then a huge game needs to be made. These are big-time, AAA franchises and need a big-time, AAA budget and team. Aliens: Colonial Marines failed miserably. While many point the finger at Gearbox (the developer) I feel it's a cautionary tale against publishers (Sega in A: CM's case). This theoretical AvP game would have to be crowd funded and given an open deadline and developed by a team that are fans first. This is why we'll likely never see a truly "great" AvP game (or movie). It needs to be big... big enough to meet the insane standards made by fans that have been in love since day one. This is Game or Die, last surviving blog of this conundrum... signing off.

Forever locked in battle... through subpar games.

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