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If too many players die in the upcoming PC game, The Flock, the game itself will apparently go offline forever. That’s either just plain crazy, or just crazy enough to be brilliant.
According to the official website, The Flock is a “university project that ran out of control.” Due out sometime in 2015, the game is billed as an “asymmetrical multiplayer thriller.”
Players take on the role of a Hunter who is on the lookout for a mysterious artifact that can shine a light on the environment. If you possess the artifact, you become the Carrier. As the Carrier, your job is to locate and illuminate special items that appear in the environment, all the while trying to avoid the Hunters. The light is damaging to Hunters, though, whose only defense is to stay perfectly still while you’ve got them trapped in the artifact’s beam.
It sounds like a pretty rad game of hide and seek, and you can now check it out in motion via the recently released alpha gameplay trailer.
As you can see, The Flock offers great opportunities for clever, unscripted bits of horror to bleed in. You remember in the original BioShock when those mannequin moved around the room when you weren’t looking? Well, imagine if those mannequins were controlled by other players who desperately wanted to get their hands on you.
To make matters even more interesting, the developers have built in a system that will encourage players not to just throw their lives away willy-nilly, as a set number of deaths will mean the end of the game. Having that riding on your conscience is sure to add a whole new degree of tension, I’m sure. Apparently when that number hits zero, The Flock will be taken off of Steam and a grand finale will be held for those who already have the game. That’s a pretty mysterious scenario, but it also sounds like a pretty great way to get folks to buy in early, lest they miss out on the game entirely.
According to creative director Jeroen Van Hasselt, it’s this idea of a game destined for extinction that’s driven the design of The Flock from the beginning.
“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,” Van Hasselt said. “In opposition to other multiplayer games, we want The Flock’s experience to inspire a sense of awe, to keep players eagerly anticipating what is coming next and to end with a memorable climax.”
Assuming the game plays well and delivers on the scares, it seems like The Flock is a rather brilliant mixture of Silent Hill meets tag, with an apocalypse waiting just around the corner. To see how that all unfolds, look for The Flock to hit Steam later this year.