Thursday, October 10, 2013
Game Translation: The Last of Us
Doing a bit of research into disaster situations and what might happen to a given city without human maintenance will also add greater richness to your game. Think about your setting. Is it a place like The Last of Us where you can conveniently steal their environmental conditions? Or is it in a desert-like place such as Las Vegas? Or the scrublands of Australia? Do some research into what the area was like before people arrived there and then do some reading and ideally some brainstorming on what it might be like after twenty years of neglect.
A good way to do this is to run some scenarios in your head. If the drains get blocked up, what would happen? What would that mean to the wildlife? The buildings? How might that impact on your PCs? After all, it's all very well to know everything there is to know about the neglected sewers but unless that affects your PCs in some way then it simply doesn't matter.
Which might be true.
Anyway, a campaign based around The Last of Us, or including elements of it, should appeal to just about everyone.
Tacticians will enjoy figuring out the right way to take down the enemies unseen and with a minimal loss of resources. They may also get a kick out of improving settlements, setting up barricades and traps, and otherwise settling in. Ensure that there are enough surprises to keep them motivated but not so many surprises that all of their hard work becomes worthless.
Action Heroes may enjoy the odd tactical moment but they really do live and breathe the occasional fistfight, sniping, and riding away fast in a ute as zombies throw themselves onto the bonnet. Let them live large occasionally but remind them every so often that this is still a survival horror game. It might be worth establishing some in-game cues as to whether this is one of their kinds of moments by pointing towards a gassed up car or a lone zombie for them to pummel.
Explorers will love this. Here is a world so similar to their own and yet so different. They will want to explore these similarities and differences. They will want to luxuriate in it. What would a city look like without people in it? How would it feel? How might a person survive without modern technologies but with modern knowledge? This is truly an experience for them.
Investigators will want a mystery. They will want the chance to uncover something. Ideally something ghastly. It might not be the reason behind the zombie outbreak, though that will doubtless be a passion of theirs, but there must at least be the odd hidden secret or interesting location that harbors some odd question in need of answering. Remember that there's no reason there couldn't be an out-and-out murder mystery in the apocalypse. Just think of a husband purposefully infecting his wife in order to murder her.
Communicators are an odd bunch. They love the richness of character development and are inspired by the intrigues that arise between people but sometimes they get so swept up in getting to know people that they forget the goals behind that knowledge and so grow bored. Give them space to ensure that there's enough development but push their characters out of their safety zones and force them to confront real changes beyond their sense of control.
If you want to check out the trailer, you can find it here. If you want to read up on the TV Tropes you can find them here.