If I ask, would it come? In dire need of a co-op game!

The topic has landed more than once on my blog, but I really wish I could stop saying “oh, it’s like the other game”. Perhaps someone from the game industry could stumble upon this and maybe be inspired to make it happen. Though most games have a teamwork concept and commendable it is; needs more than just zombies, powerful AI and grouping systems.

If I could, I would do just more than provide a mediocre stamped on experience in coop. In fact, I would throw challenges in there as a reminder there’s x amount of players and much overwhelming horde wanting to rip them up. Though I can understand the pointin a casual coop and it’s fun and all, but considering all obstacles and the only change is the NPC; I would want it feel like a multiplayer rather a lean back with people who knows what will come next. Unlikely an indie studio would pick up AI programmers to make them super smart, but ambition breeds possibilities. And rather one ultimate goal and all you would do is shoot your way through, random challenges or game events that slows the players down. Harder wouldn’t mean more fun but it a set up to more ideas like puzzle elements in a shooter and not just any puzzle. Something to give the brainy and brawny players, puzzles that would require thinking or working as a cohesive unit. Having players pushing a blinking button is not really engaging, it’s just a game mechanic to have someone watch your back. However if the button broke and the player had to figure out a bypass to make the button work makes an interesting play. This could expanding to have various puzzles or events linked for a larger grander puzzle. Sounds like I’m leaving the shooting out of this, I am; the combat mechanic is not really affected. Sure making the puzzle to require a set of actions to work, but have the team split to cover the buttons isn’t really teamwork; that’s cannon fodder. If that would be the case, it is better to have it as a singleplayer game.

By designing systems to change up the base would keep players moving and not just remaining stationary unless the game wants them to defend something. There has to be more than that; in terms of combat, zombie games like Dead Frontier has it right. Limitations for players to overcome but it shouldn’t be too overwhelming restriction or advantage. Limiting ammo is one thing, but too little or too much would just turn into a DPS-fest or a shoot or scoot mentality depending on ammo count. It is acceptable, I like the idea but like cooking, needs more salt. Of course, restricting the use of certain ammo over the rest is a start and weight to prevent a Doom scenario (carrying more than you could compared to real life). I was thinking something inspired by America’s Army, weapon jams. They would be random, but it forces to player to find cover to fix it. Far Cry has something similar for weapon deterioration, but only great if you had an MMO with a repair system. Just weapon jams; imagine you firing away taking everyone then…click, weapon jams. While we are at it, the jams would require the use of an unbound key and the key would be difference. Not necessarily a QTE (quick time event) but more a tactical event where the player would have think quick to find cover and then resolve the malfunction. And maybe for a sci-fi game, weapon malfunctions would be different in terms of sounds or handling to notify the player of a malfunction. Of course this is a puzzle, but probably the easiest compared what I listed below.

Since we are on the subject of combat mechanics, low health. I’m talking, you could die even at 100%. A couple good shots in the right place could incapacitate requiring players to be revived by teammates. This is very common, not new; but now the ballsy thing I would like to see, self revive actions. Say everyone is down and no one can revive, game is over. Now the proposal is more than just have an item to self revive, a QTE where the player fights a death timer while rapidly hitting a button rapidly, kind of like getting injured and you bandage yourself. In this case, players would have time against them before having to deal with a failure. However for this to be a challenge, the timer would be extremely short to prevent easy self revives. Most annoying thing in games that I tolerate is debuffs and permanent debuffs until an action is taken. That is not fun, but it provides a workflow challenge where you have to consider healing up or try and fight them off. Simples example and likely common one, poison to drop health. Now permanent debuff is a bit of pain where players would take more damage or slows them down. Maybe idea for FPS’s is hitbox specific debuffs like shot in the arm, or bruised stomach. And these would involve debuffs to either lower overall HP or hinders performance or both. Would make sense to bleed to death than tanking a lot of damage.

Like I promised, here are some ideas I have for puzzles.
-wire cutting, think of old school “red wire/blue wire” but with tools to help determine which to cut
-puzzles where one end must be connect to another
-hidden tools that could be made to do something else though removing it would be a puzzle in itself without injuring your character..so a puzzle within a puzzle
-anything utilizing the player’s environment; build towers of debris to get high places, using a wall panel likea shield, able to connect objects with duct tape to make a long pointy stick etc.

If you have ideas of stuff that would be great in a co-op game, feel free to leave me a comment. What would you want if a game solely on co-op?

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