So, a one sentence game brief. Sounds easy, right? Except, of course, it wasn’t that simple.
For one of our pieces of homework, our tutor told us to come up with a single sentence game brief that would become our project for the next 6 weeks. However, we couldn’t just pluck one from thin air, oh no, it had to be inspired by a piece of real world media. This piece of media could be anything, from a book, to a film, to a piece of music, but it could not be a game, and could not have been turned into a game before.
Well, as you can probably guess, this immediately discounted many of the popular (and obvious) pieces of media that I have seen or read in the past, like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, even The War of the Worlds. However, there are swathes of media that have been entirely untouched by the video games industry. So in order to find a suitable piece of media, I’d have to think a bit more… outside the box.
The Search for Media
This stage of the task was much more difficult than I had originally anticipated. Although I am fully aware of the fact that through my (hopefully) future career in Games Design I am going to come across a project that is about something that I do not enjoy, I thought that I should probably start with something that I am interested in. In my head, I began to list off some of the things that could inspire my one sentence brief. However, I almost immediately ran into an issue:
- The Hunger Games series (Books + Films) – Not bad, but already has a mobile game, and plenty of survival horror out there. Next.
- Top Gun (Film) – Hmm, sounds a little too like Tom Clancy’s Hawx, better try again.
- World War Z (Book + Film)- Left 4 Dead clone, here we come. Better not.
- Die Hard series (Films)- Every FPS ever.
- … see where I’m going with this?
This is supposed to be an original game based on an existing piece of media, not a game that disappears into the already massive collection of games that are available. In order to find a suitable piece of media, I had to look a little wider than just popular media.
Immediately I thought of a book that I had read called “Mortal Engines”. It is a steampunk book where cities are built on large tracked bases, levels stacked upon levels. They attack and consume smaller cities in order to grow larger and more powerful. Although I found the book difficult to get through, I really liked the steampunk technology that’s portrayed.
However, I have always found steampunk to be a style, rather than a genre, as the story tends to be able to survive without the steampunk elements (though I’m sure this isn’t true for all steampunk media). If I wanted to make this game, I needed something that would be the main component.
It took me a while to come up with the other element, to trawl through my memory to try and find the right piece of media to go with the steampunk elements that I wanted to include. Eventually, I found something that I thought was right. A television program called “Legend of the Seeker”, which is based on the “Sword of Truth” Novels by Terry Goodkind. They are fantasy novels set in a fantastical world, where the central character, Richard Cipher, must use his skills, knowledge, and the sword of truth, to defeat whatever evil arises.
These two pieces of media, although entirely unrelated, seemed to fit together as two suitable pieces of media. I am not going to copy from these items, just draw inspiration from them. The parts of inspiration that I draw will hopefully be amongst a host of original ideas within the project.
So, a sentence to sum all of this information up, a sentence to construct a game around, a sentence to build an entirely unique universe from. The sentence is:
“My game will be a 3D immersive RPG, based in a medieval fantasy world, with elements of steampunk.”