Shattered Horizon, Lead & Gold, Cult of the Wind, Super Monday Night Combat, the list just goes on and on of games that have been pretty fantastic, only to eventually run out of people playing them.
In The Flock, an asymmetrical multiplayer thriller, the inevitable death of the game is a feature built into the game. Play begins with an item called the “Light Artifact” being dropped into the map and the goal of the Flock players is to collect this artifact, transforming them into the “Carrier”.
Players will roam a gloomy world as a member of the titular Flock, agile hunters that scramble around the vertical environment. Each virtual life lost brings the overall population down.
Of all the unique business models that I have seen for games, this one is probably the one that intrigues me the most.
“A multiplayer game can take players to incredible heights, but at some point gamers will start to play less, get disinterested and stop playing altogether”, said the game’s creative director, Jeroen Van Hasselt.
“We want the game to have a climactic finale after which people will fondly remember the game, instead of it to slowly wither away”, the developer told Eurogamer. The population will be announced before the title’s launch, but van Hasselt did say that the number would be “substantial”. You make a cat and mouse shooter where light is the only weapon, and then try to make it stand out with a shocking meta-mechanic. Now, the light needed to have meaning and power, so what if you had to get to the person with the light, but are not allowed to move in the light?
It’s a sad fact that even the best online multiplayer games peter out over time. “However it’s also bigger than the game itself”. As developers, we’re committing to a hands-off experience, which means we fully put the lastingness of the game in the players’ hands; we have no control whatsoever over the time that the game is playable. It was only when we tried to come up with a solution for a multiplayer games’ often anticlimactic ending that both ideas clicked.
To be honest, it sounds like a completely ridiculous idea and I’m not sure how it will result in anything other than the game going offline nearly immediately upon release due to trolls and idiots. Well, that’s where the interesting part comes in- you can’t buy the game any more after that point. These things don’t last unfortunately. This being their first release, The Flock has a lot is riding on its shoulders.
The Flock is an interesting concept.
While The Flock will already be an MMO like no other, Vogelsap has revealed that the game will have an unheard of sense of finality.