Game Design Documentation: Feral Politique
Game Design Documentation was one of my favorite classes during my Master's program. As you might imagine, it involves planning out every nook and cranny of a video game from its visuals to story and level designs, all coalescing into a plan of attack for how to make the game.
I had created some preliminary work for Feral Politique as a portfolio piece for entry into the program, so the class offered me an opportunity to refine the vision for the game as well as flesh out a lot of the nitty gritty details.
The story behind Feral Politique surrounds the adventures of three ordinary individuals, Archie, Rachel and Curtis and their quest that begins as an escape scenario, which evolves into a survival against the feral political extremists and ultimately comes down to thwarting an aspiring, psychotic tyrant.
Feral Politique is an RPG set in the Washington DC Metro Area.
The game features a unique take on the horror genre as the game mechanics themselves are a play on the irony between the heavy inventory management of most modern role playing games and the lack of inventory resources that games in the survival horror genre force onto the player.
To check out the full design document, click here.
It goes without saying that planning every single aspect of a video game, no matter how big or small, is a monumental task. There's a large amount of research that goes into making sure you, and pardon the cliche, "get everything right." This is especially true when your game takes place in a real world setting, such as Feral Politique does with Washington DC.
Naturally, much of my research surrounded the ins and outs of the Metro area, which was supplemented by my background of living in the area. However, I needed to add elements to the environment to make it feel more totalitarian. Hence the picture of the Ryugyong Hotel, also known as the "Hotel of Doom" located in North Korea.
Growing up, I always felt like the underground stations that dot the DC Metro System would make for an incredibly atmospheric place in a video game; particularly if they were empty. They are filled with dark corners and sound reverberates through the cylindrical ceiling in a way very few places can replicate. If someone was chasing you, you'd have a hard time trying to hide in there. Scary thought, right?
Of course, the typical thing to do would be to create a super natural horror game that leverages an atmospheric environment. However, I wanted Feral Politique to feature a world where ordinary people driven to the brink of the political spectrum could be just as scary (if not moreso) than any gore-engulfed creature imaginable.
Like any game, Feral Politique is influenced by other games. Dead Space (pictured) thrived on atmospheric gameplay by eliminating the use of a traditional HUD, instead putting all pertinent information (health, ammo, etc) on the player character itself.
Other games that played a role in shaping Feral Politique include Freedom Fighters for its Squad Mechanics and Resident Evil 5 for how it manages its inventory.