Last month I talked about posting examples of co-op game design. Between work and having my new video card crap out on me I haven’t had time to sit down and type up my idea. With some spare time now here is the first of my co-op ideas.

I’m in the camp that co-op can add a lot to design and for my idea I’m combining it with an open world setting. The game takes place in modern day around the world with 2 former thieves/mercenaries. Most of the story at this point is up in the air although I have a good idea of what it will be (but I’ll save that for later), for now though the gameplay is set. The duo wants to perform jobs, both for money and for payback and arrive in various locales around the world. When they arrive in an area they have a target and sometimes a deadline for attempting the main mission, before that they need to go around the city performing jobs that setup the main one. Throughout the city there are missions that will aid the duo in one or more of the three phrases of the operation: infiltration, the job and escape. Missions are rated in difficulty along with what person can attempt them; some missions can be done with either person or both at the same time. The difficulty will affect how much the results will help the main mission. There are two factors that both players will need to keep track of which will affect the world around them.

The two factors are how much the police or security of the locale are alerted to the trouble you’re causing and how well known the duo is in the area. The first determines how strong of a force will come out or is defending an area that the duo wants to hit and will increase depending upon the missions the team does and how much damage they cause. The second factor is how much do they stand out or are recognized in the city and as this increases it will be harder for the duo to be stealthy and avoid suspicion. One of the two can fill up and while making the game harder won’t be considered a game over, however if the duo spends enough time in the area to fill up both variables then the mission will become impossible to achieve and the duo will fail. Eventually the players will have to attempt the mission before the two stats fill up and to make things interesting; there is no way for both players to accomplish all side objectives before the mission starts.

When the mission starts the game will create a plan based on what objectives you completed beforehand and after a briefing you and your partner will have to complete the job. I’ve always had a love for simultaneous actions as two or more people work together to achieve a bigger goal (one of the reasons I enjoyed the Ocean’s Eleven movie series). As both players work together but separate from each other, they need to complete the objective and then make their exciting escape. Imagine a GTA like car chase through a city as both players either in the same vehicle or in their own must get away from the cops and make it out of the city before they are caught.

As the game goes on the duo will take on bigger and harder jobs with different constraints. Such as completing the job before X days are up, or before one of the stats reach a certain point. I think the open world genre and co-op gameplay are perfect partners in game design and with the success of Crackdown I could see more games developed to allow players to work together to achieve something.

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“Combined arms in an open world setting.”

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