Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design


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August 6th, 2006

Game Idea #32: Berlin

This is another idea that’s been brewing all year…

High Concept:

Berlin is the ultimate game of espionage and political intrigue set on the backdrop of post-WWII Germany. One third of Berlin has been destroyed, and what’s left has been split by the Allies into four territories. Everyone wants a piece of one of the most important cities of Europe and the world over. You play as an agent for the newly formed CIA, and it’s up to you to gather intelligence and protect America’s interests as the Cold War begins…

Platform:

Home Console

Why it needs to be made:

I really want to see an open-world game that isn’t set in modern-day America. Even though you play as an American, you’re interacting with people from all over the world, and to be “done right” the game would have to feature all four languages: English, French, German, and Russian. It would be really interesting to try to make a truly multi-cultural game.

Description:

Life started getting back to normal after the war ended. But one fateful night you receive a phone call informing you that your services were needed once again, and that you’d be returning to Germany. But this time you’d officially be working for the State Department… and unofficially working for the CIA. Your job is simple: become a part of the Berlin scene, become friends and confidants with the leaders of the various factions, and report back. Of course, every now and then you have to steal some important documents, sneak into a foreign embassy, or extract information from a fellow agent.

Your primary missions come from headquarters, but it’s all of the side-missions and favors you do for the different factions that actually get you ahead in the world. While the diplomats and military leaders are posturing out in the open, the real action happens in the seedy underbelly of the city, complete with a Black Market where you can find and forge almost anything.

Why it will be fun:

Stealth and espionage games have always been a favorite on modern consoles. There’s something very rewarding about feeling like you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be, or that you know something you shouldn’t know. I think a 1950s Berlin would be a very strange, almost surreal setting for a game, which would add to the mystery and intrigue of the experience.

Final thoughts:

Letting the player pick the gender of the main character could really add another dimension to the game. It’s one thing to be a James Bond type character who is cool and suave in every situation. But people react differently to women… and the characters in the game might be more forthcoming with information and secrets when trying to impress an attractive young woman. And besides, this game really calls for a ballroom dancing mini-game.


4 Responses to “Game Idea #32: Berlin”

  1. linead commented:
    posted August 7th, 2006 at 1:17 am

    Finally another good idea, the past few weeks have been a little bad.

    I dont know if you ever played Covert Action by Sid Meier but it covered some of the espionage ground that you mention here, with the obvious limitation of being made in 1990.

    It would be interesting to see how well something like could be made in the current day and age. Especially with things like free-roaming 3d engines now steadily increasing in performance and style.

    Though it certainly seems video games are currently built around shallow plotlines, wow factors and the “one or two new concept” rules. No one seems to be interested in developing something as politically motivated and deep as this idea could turn out to be.

    Perhaps as the average age of gamers increases we’ll see a new age of video games in which this kind of game is embraced, rather than just producing another mindless shooter.

  2. Boon™ commented:
    posted August 7th, 2006 at 1:59 am

    Patrick Curry,

    I think this is a great concept. We just do not get to see enough (I feel) stealth / espionage games on the shelves these days. Splinter Cell series is a great one, while I know they are not done by Midway, its not as if another development studio can not do the job or do it better.

    I really enjoy the talk about including the multi-cultural and languages in the game, and it would be nice to have the actual languages (voice) in the game. Should not be that hard to get voice actors from these various countries to participate in a video game!

    One last thing, I noticed you said Home Consoles does this include the PC? Alternatively, are more and more developers considering the PC a dying device for video games? Do you feel some of the other game play elements that you did not write down would not translate well to the keyboard?

    Keep up the great ideals, and I wish you all the best in making some of these ideal become fun and entertainment for others to enjoy.

  3. Craig Fergus commented:
    posted August 17th, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    Sounds fantastic
    I have been wondering why a game like this hasnt been put together already at least of the kind of open world spy variety. I mean I really havnt seen any games were I can feel like Jason Bourne let loose. I think your game could come close if applied to a modern time period plus maybe a little more muscle but I think your idea as it stands would be a more engaging game if maybe not a viscerally fun.

  4. Fletch commented:
    posted January 7th, 2007 at 6:58 am

    If you want a basis for an awesome WWII espionage story, have a look at the life and times of Eddie Chapman - a british criminal turned double agent. What a champ!

    http://www.amazingben.com/arf0132.html

    I do like a bit of espionage and getting to feel really clever for outwitting guards, but I feel like there has really been a massive glut of WWII based games in the last two years, and the trend is still continuing. Prisoner of War a couple of years back was at least a bit espionage based, since you had to sneak around and collect information to make your escape. Still, I’d like to see this a few more years from now when we don’t have yet another damn Medal of Honour or Day of Defeat or Battlefield whatever.

    Massive bonuus points for the multicultural communication, etc. IIt would be great to see a game where people speaking a different language actually speak the other language rather than putting on a bad fake russian accent. Gender selection also a nifty idea, gives great scope for differing storylines or methods of play. Could make the game a little more interesting for a female audience too.

    Good stuff, keep it up.


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