Flashpoint Marathon – “Why isn’t this a video game?”

I can’t get enough of the show; since the finale, I’ve been just watching this chronologically whenever I want to watch to watch a straightforward cop drama. I watched stuff like CSI and Law & Order, it never appealed to me because it was a rinse and repeat method of television with names changed and subtle generic plot twists.

Flashpoint is still the only cop drama I’ve enjoyed because it was live action. The camera work was up close and natural which put the viewer into the situation. The story arcs were mixed and compelling in terms of exploring secondary characters and personalities of the primaries. Revolving around an elite team of police officers similar to SWAT, the show follows the internal and external struggles of law enforcement and the effects it has to the individuals in the team. Fundamentally, the writers did a good job on challenging TV character and item tropes like infinite ammo for the weapons and the good or bad cop. Most surprisingly is the intricate gunplay. When I first watched the entire series, I was on edge wondering when they would shoot someone throughout the series after seeing the first episode. After awhile, the show put you into the frame of mind where there is a grey area where you start to understand when they should use their firearms. In the entirety regardless of whether it was the first or the latest time I’ve watched it, the back of my mind wants this to be a video game.

Let’s assume the best that I was a programmer and I could pull it off, lets visualize this. The pacing should be fairly episodic like you play a character in the story; when you die, that’s the end of the character. So we can assume some extent of character customization like facial customization, body height, voice and maybe character traits. For the episodic pace, likely a mission progression system with key NPC’s reappearing in later content. With that said, I think players would get bored of playing the same missions over an over in a set mode. So probably have some procedurally generated mission system to increase difficulty and positions of NPC’s to offer different scenarios. To make it interesting the levels would have to have a lot of walking room. In my head, it would make sense to have a first person perspective to put the players into their characters. That takes care of the gunplay; the contained scenes where characters negotiate, meaning in game it should have some aspect of that. So an advance AI system that can distinguish combat and negotiation mode and a system that doesn’t necessarily provide right or wrong answers excluding right and wrong answers to diffuse the current situation. There should be a listen and respond component. At the same time, there should be animations to signal mood and behaviour to the player to and respond in a timely manner. Which brings out the animation and the detailing to it. Mostly sticking to face like facial features and body language. In terms of gameplay mechanics, the animations should include things like takedowns seen in Halo and Battlefield 3. Maybe get deeper to that to have a takedown and struggle mechanic where takedowns are more to slow progress and the struggle forces players to go into QTE’s (Quick Time Events) to disarm weapons or escape headlocks. Establishing that, let’s examine the various scenarios which can be in this imaginary game we can make!

In the show I’ve seen a bunch of hostage situations as well as just mentally unstable individuals which can display the AI mechanic, in terms of combat there could be scenarios where players would have to confront situations where it’s non-negotiable. Example would be the player would have to resort into shooting a hostage taker when they feel negotiations aren’t working or have failed. Bomb disposal was part of show in bits so probably have items and mechanics to deal with bomb disposal. So definitely snipping wires could be a thing.

In terms of multiplayer, a lot of games are mostly multiplayer with either a small single player campaign or a tutorial. In this case I think it should be a tutorial and multiplayer to get the basic controls and teach basic game mechanics. The multiplayer would have to co-op since there can be more content and gameplay than just multiplayer for this. The best I could personally see if this was going to be a player versus player would be some sort of deathmatch, Counter-Strike like demolition, or a capture game mode. So not much in terms of being accurate to the show but would remove the AI component. In a cooperative setting, it would likely yield more content in terms of procedural AI spawns, traits and situations. Also allows the character customization to be more important for the player to humanize their character rather be an expendable player especially with certain gameplay traits. Also it opens up opportunity to do things like have AI attack wave after wave.

I wouldn’t be too sure if I would play this but if someone built it and had my attention, I might give it a shot. It would definitely be a change from guns blazing to taking things slow with opportunities to use the weapons and items.

Until next time, keep on daydreaming!


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