Back in 2005 when I was hating my job and casting about for meaning in life, I wrote Crecente and asked him what the process was for writing up and selling a game concept. Was it at all comparable to, say, pitching a book proposal or a screenplay? Not really, because there is plenty enough work generated by in-house creative teams, and outside licensing deals.
That said, even though I have zero coding skills and no game development acumen, I thought I had a few good ideas. So, in the first of what I hope will become a semi-regular feature (which means, I'll do more, but maybe not each week) here is the Kotaku Video Game Pitch for a concept I call "Noise." Yes, it was inspired somewhat by true-to-life events, from a time when I really thought I was going insane.
Working title: Noise
Genre: Third-person shooter, action-stealth
Setting: A sizeable if nondescript North American city, its suburbs and an office park; neighborhoods and buildings of varying density. Quasi sandbox with confined environments and some freeplay/side mission capabilities.
Probable ESRB Rating: Let's go ahead and say M, for violence, language, adult themes and chihuahua punting.
The story: You are Eugene Twerpley, a scrawny, geeky, whiny computer programmer who has just taken a new job in a big city after years of working out in the middle of nowhere. You were raised by cartoonishly loud parents in a home that doubled as the family business — a combination 300-dog kennel and trap-shooting range out in hillbilly country. Thus you have a painful sensitivity, both psychological and physical, to loud noises, which make you jumpy, tense, and prone to extremely — extremely — irrational behaviour. And you have just moved in next to the worst neighbours, in the worst neighbourhood in a total dump of a city.
Game progression: Noise is a mission-based game. You'll respond to provocations and attempt to work out solutions. Essentially, you will be taking revenge on people and things that piss you off — always passive aggressively. Missions will be triggered in "Noise" not by a traditional in-game notification, but by, literally, a noise. As you move about your environment, you'll hear certain things — nearly all of them annoying to your character (if not to the gamer, literally). Moving closer to the source makes them louder and more obnoxious. You'll have to find a way to shut them up, with the game providing expository help on how to do it. But asking someone to keep it down never works, just triggers a humorous/insulting cutscene.
Among many possible missions ideas, you'll sabotage construction equipment, cut power to loud neighbours, sic the cops on other people for completely bogus offenses. Best of all, you will blow up a car whose alarm won't shut off. With a rocket launcher. That's gotta be a cathartic experience for everyone. As your exploits get more grandiose and destructive you are evicted, forced to move (changing the game environment) before finally you have to move back in with your parents ...
Unique gameplay: The noise-meter affects your character's attributes (and, ultimately, his descent into madness). The longer a noise goes on, the more frustrated your character becomes, which reduces (or zeroes out) options for completing a mission via stealth. But it also boosts his physical characteristics (a somewhat limited rage mode) that allows him to get the job done by brute force.
Selling points: Humor, music, realistic sound, unique level design, story.
Platforms: Consoles/PC. Not a good idea on handhelds, I think.
So, feel free to comment on the viability of this concept. You can also vote in any of the three polls below. Maybe it's a little rough, maybe we can make it better. Maybe someone will buy it and make us — oh shit, I think Gawker owns this work product. This might be a short lived feature.
Next concept: "Rad"