The Flock Is A Horror Game With An Expiration Date

Conrad Zimmerman

New member
Dec 24, 2013
588
0
0
The Flock Is A Horror Game With An Expiration Date

Available for a limited time only.

It's a sad fact that even the best online multiplayer games peter out over time. Maintaining a healthy population of engaged players to keep them going is a monumental challenge that only becomes more difficult as games age. Eventually, entropy (or progress, depending on your perspective) claims us all.

Dutch development studio Vogelsap seems to get this, and is taking an unusual approach to multiplayer game design with their debut project, The Flock [http://www.vogelsap.com/theflock/]. A first-person horror game set in a ruined Earth, players assume the role of wretched creatures roaming the surface (known collectively as "The Flock"), drawn toward an artifact which will either transform or destroy them.

The game is, in essence, a scary version of the children's playground game, "Red Light, Green Light." Play begins with an item called the "Light Artifact" being dropped into the map and the goal of the Flock players is to collect this artifact, transforming them into the "Carrier." As the Carrier, they must then try to retain possession of the artifact and use its light to capture objectives on the map. The artifact can also be employed to destroy Flock players, who can only survive its light by remaining motionless.

Every player death in every game session will contribute to depleting a pool of lives which represent the total population of The Flock. Once that population reaches zero, Vogelsap will cease sales of the game entirely and only players who purchased The Flock prior to this point will be able to participate in its finale event, after which the game will be taken offline permanently.

[gallery=4425]

It sounds like an curious experiment, both in terms of design and sales approach. More studios (such as Robot Loves Kitty with their supremely strange Upsilon Circuit [http://www.upsiloncircuit.com/]) are starting to consider a multiplayer game as an event, rather than a product that limps on until the audience loses interest or a new iteration arrives, and it will be interesting to see what (if any) impact these ideas might have on multiplayer gaming in general as time goes on.

The Flock is currently expected to release on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux later this year, and a playable demo will be available at Gamescom next month. When it ends, it seems, will be up to the players to decide.

Permalink
 

Bazaalmon

New member
Apr 19, 2009
331
0
0
Sounds like an interesting idea, but whether or not it'll take off depends on how much they charge. I wouldn't pay $60 for a game that will not exist in a few weeks/months/whatever, but $10? That could be more reasonable.
 

FalloutJack

Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
15,489
0
0
Nope, sorry. I don't like time limits. If this game is aging like milk instead of fine wine, I can't see myself working up the pressure to buy. Expiring games sounds like something other studios will try to do in order to keep up the act of selling games as services. Fuck that noise.
 

Gearhead mk2

New member
Aug 1, 2011
19,999
0
0
I really like this as an experiment, and it'll be interesting to see how the player base reacts. Could get people determined to save lives, could get greifers killing everyone, could get people acting peacefully and never reach the endgame. But as a product you have to pay for, I'm really sceptical. It'd have to be quite a low price, and if they miscalculate how many lives people need the game could be over really quickly.
 

Covarr

PS Thanks
May 29, 2009
1,559
0
0
If their gimmick is that it stops working forever, they really should call it PT 2.

P.S. Thanks
 

klaynexas3

My shoes hurt
Dec 30, 2009
1,525
0
0
I...haven't watched the trailer but I'm honestly very interested in playing this now. Because a multiplayer game based around once in a life time events sounds much more interesting than the endless repetition of other games. If it's 10 bucks, it's a buy for me. 20 and I might get it. Any more and probably not, but still, if they get the price down, the premise alone has sold me.
 

jurnag12

New member
Nov 9, 2009
460
0
0
Random factoid only somewhat relevant to the game, but the studio's name translates to "Bird Juice".
 

Made in China

New member
Apr 2, 2013
40
0
0
Remember Peter Molyneux's Curiosity? Remember that up until now, no one talked about it because it was very simplistic, and faded to obscurity the moment it died?
Thank God we've learned from our mistakes so it will never happen again!

P.S.
Stop with the stupid gimmicks. You aren't being meta, you're being a clickbait that's prone to trolls.

P.P.S.
I hope this game never dies and the creators will have to run the servers indefinitely, draining them out of money.
 

Hagi

New member
Apr 10, 2011
2,741
0
0
I don't see anything that could possibly go wrong with this, it being on the internet and all.

There's no way anyone would spend 10 bucks or whatever the price is just to die over and over and over again to ruin this for other people, right?
 

MysticSlayer

New member
Apr 14, 2013
2,405
0
0
I just see this as an idea that will eventually blow up in everyone's face, provided it becomes reasonably popular. Well, I guess if you like the idea of EA and Activision getting a hold of this idea and doing with it what they want, then I guess there's nothing to worry about, but I personally just don't trust AAA publishers if they learn that they can start treating multiplayer as a timed event.
 

Often

New member
Apr 18, 2010
36
0
0
Wow, this sounds... spectacularly stupid. I don't like games with NORMAL time limits, let alone one that will literally stop working eventually.
 

Scarim Coral

Jumped the ship
Legacy
Apr 30, 2020
18,157
1
3
Country
UK
Interesting concept. I'm guessing if it turn out to be an excellent game, the players will played as long as possible like those PC Halo 1 or 2 players did when they close its server.

In saying so if they wanted to end their online game asap, they should had work for EA!
 

RJ 17

The Sound of Silence
Nov 27, 2011
8,687
0
0
The game itself seems like a neat concept, but I'm with those that don't like the concept of it being a "limited time built-to-die" game.

What's the price-tag going to be? I'm certainly not spending more than $5 on something that I know for a fact likely won't last more than a year.

Beyond that, as others have pointed out: if this game is successful it could set a dangerous precedent for AAA devs to follow and supports the notion of "games as a service."
 

Johnlives

New member
Dec 6, 2009
151
0
0
That's an interesting concept. It could be applied to encourage cooperation. Take a typical post apocalypse and fill it with a finite amount of required resources food, drink etc. which when gone the players can no longer survive, once all dead game over forever. More resources can only be generated by the players themselves on farms for example. Yeah there will be those looking to just blow stuff up, but then others might band together to protect resource generating areas so the life span of the game increases.

Hitting the right price point will be difficult though.
 

Bat Vader

New member
Mar 11, 2009
4,996
0
0
This is an interesting idea but charging money for a game that you already plan to take offline just seems incredibly crappy and anti-consumer. I know someone could try and group this with MMOs but at least with MMOs the devs try and extend as much life as they can out of it.
 

Conrad Zimmerman

New member
Dec 24, 2013
588
0
0
Bat Vader said:
This is an interesting idea but charging money for a game that you already plan to take offline just seems incredibly crappy and anti-consumer.
If they weren't being forthright about their plans, I can see how it could be viewed as an anti-consumer practice. But they're not only on the level, they're pushing the limited nature of the game as a selling point, an experience that you can only participate in for a limited time before it's gone. Whether consumers respond positively to it or not is one thing, but they certainly aren't taking advantage of anyone with this.
 

sonicneedslovetoo

New member
Jul 6, 2015
278
0
0
Now the question about the game is: is the lives system balanced? Because if the game is over inside of a day because there were only 15,000 lives there isn't a point, because all you'd need to happen is for 3000 people to bumble around in the game and die five times each and BAM game gone forever.
Or if there are 350 million lives it's pointless because eventually people will stop buying the game and the lives system won't matter at all because anybody who cares about the game after a wile can die as much as they like without taking a significant portion of the remaining lives away.
How is the spawning system? Is it predictable enough that griefers are gonna be able to camp it? Is it too unpredictable in that people will glitch inside of walls?