In response to a few recent games that appear to be lacking in the criteria. This is a short list and thoughts on some stand out game mechanics that developers seem to be ignoring and need to build upon.
Game Pitch: Mass Effect Liberation for the PS Vita
Game Pitch is a series on Leviathyn where we come up with ideas for a new game for an existing series or title. This could be a sequel, a reboot, or a side story featured a supporting character. Whatever we come up for Game Pitch is all in our heads and wishful thinking. These are not real games! That being said, have some fun with our imagined games and feel free to critique or come up with your own cool ideas in the comments below.
Title: Mass Effect: Liberation
Series: Mass Effect by EA Games
Platform: PS Vita
Following the events of MASS EFFECT: INFILTRATOR, a new rogue faction spearheaded by Randall Ezno seeks to liberate the Cerberus name from The Illusive Man and preserve the vision of humanity the right way. During a mission to take out a secret Cerberus facility containing illegal human experiments, Ezno comes across an experiment not fully completed. He rescues the female subject, has her treated, and takes her under his wing.
Players take control of experimental biotic Violet Reeves as she seeks to take back her life in the form of revenge against Cerberus. Help Ezno’s faction liberate Cerberus soldiers and facilities. Take part in preventive missions to stop the horrible experiments being done. Uncover the truth behind the bizarre happenings within the Cerberus ranks.
- LIBERATE CERBERUS: As Violet Reeves, find soldiers on the field that were kept in the dark just like Randall Ezno. Recruit more soldiers to the rogue faction to strengthen your cause.
- BUILD YOUR OWN FACTION: Take over facilities at your own discretion and build towards what you believe to be the right combination of power, knowledge, and science.
- FIGHT ALONGSIDE MASS EFFECT HEROES: Take the fight online as you build a force to take over a complex. Protect your own facility against the enemy. Unlock heroes such as Aria, Wrex, and more to strength your team!
So the idea behind Mass Effect: Liberation is really two things: an exclusive story for the PS Vita and a new way to play Mass Effect. The Vita is obviously powerful enough to have a low-end version of actual Mass Effect gameplay and I’m sure the gamers that own the system would like to have that instead of some card-based or tactical turn-based bull honky. However, some people would like to see something different and tactical or strategy games can be great if done well. Liberation will have both.
In the single player campaign, featuring classic Mass Effect gameplay, players will control Violet Reeves, an experimental biotic who was being manipulated and tested on by Cerberus. Violet is powerful like Jack but has the ability to use any gun she comes in contact with. She’s a well rounded soldier but with the speed, agility, and force of a biotic. Sound overpowered? Good, that’s the point! Liberation is all about having fun within the realm of what Mass Effect has shown us thus far.
Violet can be upgraded over the course of the game in the following categories: Soldier, Biotic, Experiment. As the names would suggest: Soldier perks/ranks would increase Violet’s prowess with weapons and the damage they do, Biotic perks/ranks would increase the power/duration/availability of Biotic abilities, and Experiment perks/ranks would give Violet more access to the weapons and abilities put inside of her by Cerberus. The Experiment side is very powerful but the drawback is that with each perk/rank put into Experiment, Violet loses a bit of Control percentage. This percentage decides if Violet loses control of her abilities. Whenever a Biotic or Experiment ability is used, Violet’s Control will pulsate and if it triggers then Violet will go on an uncontrolled rampage. During the rampage, the player cannot control Violet. She will constantly lose health at a slow rate but not use cover and run out to kill enemies in horrific ways. After a set amount of time, she will go back to normal but obviously be right in the midst of danger and with lower health than before the rampage.
So even though Experiment powers are awesome, such as the Biotic Blade where Violet spawns a sword-like energy blade from her hand, they have a constant drawback.
Being on the PS Vita, you should expect some gameplay gimmicks for the touch screen, back panel, motion, etc. I loved the motion aiming for Uncharted: Golden Abyss so that will be in Liberation. As for touch controls, I think being able to target enemies for biotic attacks using the touch screen would be helpful. Perhaps you could have an “active” biotic ability and if you want to use it you just touch the touch screen anywhere for a defensive/user ability or tap on an enemy to launch an attack. As for the back panel, I really don’t think that would help much except maybe have the player constantly swipe on it during a rampage to slow down health drain.
As you progress through the story you’ll have the ability to choose which missions to initiate. There are important story missions, side missions, and liberate missions. If you liberate a facility you’ll gain its help and each facility will be labeled as power, knowledge, or science. Power facilities will produce weapons, ammo, and armor for you. Knowledge facilities will unlock new biotic powers and even research existing ones to augment them and make them either cheaper to use or more powerful. Science facilities will unlock more information and available abilities in your Experiment section. You may even find ways to regain Control percentage.
Either way, after each mission Violet will collect Resource Points and can spend them on whatever the available facilities offer. Some facility options may require a certain amount of a specific facility to unlock such a “Requires 5 Power Facilities and 5,000 Resource Points to unlock”.
For the multiplayer we’ll take thing a different direction. As we’re pitting liberated Cerberus troops against actual Cerberus in the single player, we’ll stick to that format. In multiplayer you have two teams: the rogue faction (which would have a name, I just didn’t think of one) versus Cerberus. Each player will create one team which will consist of soldiers they find in the field during the single player campaign, unlocked heroes, and unlocked soldiers won from “booster packs” from multiplayer match wins and tournament victories.
A team would consist of a (1) commander, (2) lieutenants, (2) specialists, and (3) soldiers. That makes multiplayer matches 6-on-6. The main objective in a multiplayer match is to either liberate or take over (depending on which side you are on) the enemy’s facility. During gameplay side objectives may pop-up such as securing a supply drop (which would help the other team if they get it first) or hack an enemy panel (objectives like this put one of the teams into a forced offensive trying to stop the other team from hacking).
Gameplay would be turn-based strategy where players would move their people into place and each soldier has a set number of “tiles” they can move. This would play out almost just like XCOM: Enemy Unknown in a top-down yet cinematic feel with a Mass Effect style.
Each soldier you have has a set loadout, stats, and look. It’s up to the player to come up with a good compliment to go into battle with. The multiplayer match would end when all 6 of the enemy’s soldiers are dead or a team has secured the enemy facility. There would be online tournaments and even scenarios built for single player missions in the multiplayer format set by the development team. These would be like challenges where you go up against Cerberus troops, Geth, Turians, etc., etc.
What do you think about my idea for Mass Effect: Liberation for the PS Vita? As always comment below to let use know your thoughts. As this is the first Game Pitch post and I hope to make this a series with multiple writers doing them, this is our test post. If you chime in with some thoughts, critiques, concerns, or anything we’ll know this is a keeper.