Game Idea A Week: Alpha Lion
Week Fifteen (16/01/2010)
In the idea for this week, you are a lion in a pride. Starting as a cub, you progress by fighting individuals and hunting well with others. Eventually, you rule the pride and become the Alpha Lion.
PC or Wii
Why it needs to be made:
Children would enjoy the challenge of fighting and hunting games, but parents may not be happy with them fighting and killing humans. Since this game is based on nature and animals, it is not so confrontational. In this game, when you fight another lion, you do not have to use twitch reflexes or remember complex button combinations, which makes it easier for a greater range of people to play.
At the start of a game, you are one of a few cubs in the pride. You learn how to fight by play fighting with your siblings, and you learn how to hunt by catching insects first, then progressing to larger prey. With each success your standing within the pride increases, so that you progress and are given more responsibilities in the hunt.
Fighting is done by tracing shapes on the screen. Your draw the shape with your mouse or Wii remote (e.g. a triangle or a circle), and then your character on the screen interacts with your opponent depending on how well you drew the circle. This continues as both you and your opponent loose strength. When one of you runs out of strength, the other one wins.
Hunting is done as a group. At the beginning you have to do what you are told. So the current Alpha Lion tells you a direction to run. To run in a direction you must press keyboard buttons quickly, or shake the Wii remote a lot. If your instructions told you to pounce, then you will need to press the pounce button at the correct time. Depending on how well you follow the instructions, you get a larger share of the food available, and more points so you can progress more. As you progress, you get to have a greater say in the manoeuvres. To begin with you are told the pride is executing a flank, hare, etc.. move. Later, you get asked what you think would be a good move, but the Alpha lion does not necessarily agree and will tell you why not. Finally, once you reach the Alpha Lion spot, you get to choose what the others will do in the hunt by selecting the manoeuvre from a list. Once the manoeuvre is selected, you still must run and pounce, just as you did when you were not the alpha lion. However, it is more likely that you will be the one who brings down the prey, rather than just contributing.
Why it will be a compelling game:
Since you gain more responsibilities as you progress, the player will want to keep going so they can find out what new abilities they will have next. The fighting and hunting sides of the games require the player to use diverse skills including strategy, speed, and precision in drawing and pouncing.
In the real world, male lions often do more of the fighting than the hunting, and lionesses are the opposite way around. However, both males and females do contribute to the hunt and defending territory, so the player should be able to choose whether they are a male or female lion at the start of the game without the gameplay changing. Lions in the real world do tend to have fixed roles within their pride, which means that the game is well suited to a level progression model.