Game idea, stitched together in eight minutes with roommate:
The game opens on a picturesque vista of a lush and sweaty-looking alien planet. Far in the distance the player can see the streak of some kind of spacecraft as it comes roaring down through the atmosphere. The camera is steady and unmoving as the crashing ship disappears out of shot and lands with a crash.
The player controls a solitary space marine who’s landed on the planet in an escape pod. The reasons for this can be alluded to in the game, possibly leading to a twist (he… ran away from battle!! he is… the saboteur of his ship!!). What’s important is that the landing goes fine and all of the pod’s survival equipment is intact. There’s your ridiculous armoured power-suit, multiple guns, climbing equipment, computer, radar, cutting torches, food-purifiers, air-purifiers, grappling hook, portable turrets, jetpack, everything. It’s all yours from the very beginning of the game. But the batteries, ammo, filtration sheets and so on that are in the pod when you start are all the supplies you ever have access to. You run out of jetpack fuel, you’re grounded.
There’s a contradiction in the design of most videogames- they feel the need to offer a more intense, complex challenge as you progress, yet in the name of keeping the game from growing stale they drip-feed give you new tools, toys and abilities which make the game easier. These two trends conflict. We propose a game where the player starts with everything, and it all gradually gets taken away.
It might start with the player running out of ammunition for the auto-aiming smart gun, followed by them breaking their radar by going for a swim with it. Quickly they’ll start looking at all of their equipment in terms of the power-drain, going into their battle-suit’s menu and shutting down the amplified strength on the arms and legs. But it’s just putting off the inevitable. Eventually your suit will stop working, and you’ll have to take it off and leave it wherever you were standing.
The player would be constantly re-examining his environment and enemies in a reverse-Metroid style. Instead of “OK, I have this item now, what can I do with it?” you’re thinking “Argh not NOW, okay, no more of that, but how am I going to get up that cliff/survive those horrible predator aliens now?” You’d also have a game in second-guessing what it’d be worth keeping in the name of finding a way off the planet. Have the otherwise-useless communicator use the same kind of battery as the food purifier, or hint at an abandoned and locked research facility somewhere on the planet while making the cutting torch a badass melee weapon that doubles as a torch.
I also really like the idea of an incredibly lonely protagonist talking to himself throughout the game. Have him swearing alongside the player as equipment sputters and fails, and have him emit a whoop of joy followed by insane giggling as the player stumbles across a new power brick for the battlesuit they left behind so long ago. Have him talking rhetorically to his wife and children. And probably have him bitching ceaselessly about the horrible planet he’s stuck on, about the humidity and the weight of the cutting torch and the stupid fucking idiot creatures that keep trying to bite his knees off.
Yeah. I think it’d all work.