Not An RPG: Crowdsourced Hardcore Tactical Shooter

By Adam Smith on March 6th, 2012 at 12:03 pm.

So hardcore, there is blood on the word 'hardcore'

Tim Schafer has taught game developers how to dream…how to dream about having piles of cash to work on projects that they reckon people crave enough to pledge some of Earth’s rapidly dwindling stockpile of money for. The latest veteran to pitch to the public is Christian Allen of Serellan. Admittedly I didn’t know the name but it turns out Mr Allen has worked on more Ghost Recon games than I’ve actually played, as well as being lead designer on Halo: Reach. But what does he want from you? MONEY MONEY MONEY. And why? So that he can make a hardcore tactical shooter. And why am I covering this? Read on.

There are several reasons why I find this interesting. First of all, I’m intrigued by the claim that so many people are apparently clamouring for this sort of game. Here’s what sort of game it would be, by the way: “realism and tactics” in place of “cinematic flavor”, including “realistic weapon modeling, outfitting and commanding your squad, objective-based, non-linear missions set in real-world locations around the world, single player, co-op, and multiplayer.”

So we have a developer with a proven track record and the kind of game that people certainly do get excited about. But excited enough to pledge $200,000 before April 1st? Here’s another reason I’m covering this – the project page states that the game will cost more than the $200,000 they’re asking for. They’re not claiming to be after the full amount, instead they’re using the Kickstarter as a way to prove the viability of the project to investors, as well as allowing contributors to participate in development once it begins. Based on pledge sizes, that could include voting for features, designing features or actually visiting the studios and participating in creative meetings. Is that a further step in what Serellan call, citing Double Fine, a movement that is “turning an industry on its head”?

There are also the usual incentives for people pledging larger amounts – actually, they’re not the usual incentives at all. If you’ve got $10,000 to spend, Christian Allen will send you a custom Beretta 92FS 9mm. More than anything, more even than the footage on the Kickstarter page of Allen yelling at bears and grinning in a firing range, the fact that people can buy guns to support development makes me think the potential final result could be more hardcore than even the working title suggests.

Oh yes, that title. Let’s face it, that’s the real reason we’re here. Crowdsourced Hardcore Tactical Shooter. Obviously it’s not what they’re going to call the game, but imagine if it was? I’d pledge $20 if they promised to keep that name. I’d maybe even pledge $25, although no more than that because I’m scared that if I do a canister of tear gas will bounce through my letterbox, intended as some sort of gift.

Wouldn’t it be glorious though? Imagine a world in which every game wore an appropriate label. Alec has already suggested Modern Ghost Rainbow Warfare: Front Of Battle and I’d like to rename this week’s big release Final Part of Space Opera Trilogy. What else could do with a little less imagination?

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61 Comments »

  1. Kevin says:

    The guy behind this, a designer at Bungie, is actually quite a cool guy. Here’s a podcast interview of him.

    http://www.bungie.net/News/content.aspx?cid=13219

    Seeing as he’s a veteran of the first Rainbow Six and a modder for it no less gives me confidence that the project is in good hands if it gets off the ground.

    • lordhughes says:

      I don’t think the game could be in better hands, Early R6 titles and GRAW (1 and 2), fine games IMO. I am going to pledge some cash to this as I want this project to get off the ground!

    • subedii says:

      Well you guys certainly piqued my interest, especially with the mention of the early R6 games (which have well, let’s just say they’ve gone in a very different direction today).

      I’ll have to look into this.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      He was a modder for R6:RS, not a dev. According to Wikipedia he worked on the NATO mod, which was an awesome mod.

      His profile on MobyGames lists:
      Halo: Reach (2010), Microsoft Game Studios
      F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn (2009), Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Inc.
      Halo 3: ODST (2009), Microsoft Game Studios
      Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (2006), Ubisoft Entertainment SA
      Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (2004), Ubisoft Entertainment SA

      According to Wikipedia, he also worked on R6 3:Athena Sword, which was an expansion for R6 3.

  2. JackDandy says:

    The Rainbow Six games were never really my taste, so I think I’ll have to stay away from this one.

    Good luck with it, though! I know the tac-shooter genre didn’t get a worthy title for years now.

  3. Luke says:

    Better Than The Disappointing Second Game, We Promise
    Sequel To Game You Probably Didn’t Buy
    Lazy Film Tie-In 83

    • Wunce says:

      Expensive Map Pack #33
      Snakes on a Plane the Game

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      SEQUEL: THE “We put most money in presentation but had nothing to spend on actual content”ING

    • ThTa says:

      Something Containing the Word WAR: Subtitle
      Current-Day Manshoot 3

  4. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    The Game That Launched a Thousand Genre Definition Discussions
    Sequel With a Numb3r In the Title
    Cute Platformer With a Core of Despair
    Mind Bending Puzzler Only 5% of You Will Ever Complete Because You’re All Thick
    Pew! Pew! Pew! Aren’t Lasers Fun
    “Bang” Went the Explosion
    Oh My Gosh So Many Enemies HELP ME AARGH Game Over

  5. wodin says:

    What happens if you live in the UK? I’d be up for a custom made 9mm gun coming through the post, not sure if Customs or UK law would though due to in my opinion “arm the criminals but not the civilians kind of UK stance we have on Guns law”, law. Still pointless as I don’t have $10,000.

    • Untruth says:

      I think you’ve just managed to invoke an unusual variant on Godwin’s law involving gun control.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Is that like “what are you? some kind of journalist criticising Ken Livingstone”?

    • Mattressi says:

      I hear you. I wish I lived in America; unfortunately, here in Australia only the criminals and police have “high capacity” pistols. Even if I could, I’m not sure I’d pay 10 grand for one though O.O

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      In all of my time at law school, I’m disappointed I missed the

      “arm the criminals but not the civilians kind of UK stance we have on Guns law” law 2004 (as amended)

      :-(

    • theleif says:

      It thought it was obvious that if you gave every civilian a gun, there would be no crime. Better still, all civilians should get an RPG when they turn 18, and every household should be given a low yield tactical nuke as a deterrent. That would lead to world peace, I guarantee you.

    • subedii says:

      I don’t know about you guys, but I get shot twice every day on the way to work. And the last three times I entered a coffee shop it was being held up at gunpoint.

      Freaking criminals and their guns. If I had my LMG they’d soon see what for!

    • Mattressi says:

      @subedii: yeah, I mean, that’s what happens in the US, right? Everyone can own guns, so every step on the way to work involves a shoot-out.

      I love when discussions turn straight to hyperbole and straw man arguments.

    • subedii says:

      I said jack-all about the US. So stop it.

      Can’t say I’m feeling the great pressing need for GUN OWNERSHIP here in the UK though.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Yeah, it’s rather doubtful that you’d be able to get a gun sent to you in the UK. Furthermore, the sender could get in trouble as well due to their own state laws. Not to mention that gun laws vary wildly by state, so he probably wouldn’t be able to send the gun to residents of most states without first doing a background check and other such methods. For example, some states require you to receive a certain number of training and/or gun safety courses.

      @ subedii: I know you’re just kidding, but I have seen shootouts. As in; personally seen with my own eyes in plain view. I’ve been robbed at gun-point a few times (3 to be exact). I know people who have handguns, tactical shotguns, even one guy who has an AR-15, and I own a double-barreled double-trigger 12-guage and am thinking about purchasing a Glock 21 for home protection. (I would never walk around with my firearm, that’s just asking for something to go wrong, IMO)

      And I can tell you, those of us who have guns and know how to use them know that if there is a shootout or if a convenience store you go to is being robbed, you DO NOT USE YOUR FIREARM. You retreat to a safe location and call the police. As a civilian, your weapon is to be used defensively.

      As I said, I know you’re kidding, but the yahoos who always talk about how “if I had my gun…” are the exact ones who would cause the most trouble in such a situation. Turning a robbery into a shootout or hitting someone in crossfire. There’s a reason why you leave those situations up to the police, who are actually trained to deal with such situations, as opposed to the nervous gun-nut who’s watched Rambo: First Blood too many times.

    • subedii says:

      Look, Let me make this real clear here:

      I have NOT been shot at twice every day on the way to work. Or ever.

      Every time I have been to a coffee shop here in the UK, it has passed without incident barring that one time I accidentally dipped my sleeve in the milk.

      Generally speaking, criminals armed with guns in the UK is extremely rare, and as a result I do NOT feel threatened by not owning a firearm, nor do I believe circumstances in the UK would be improved by doing so. The biggest weapons the news constantly cries about these days is knife crime, and statistically, that is not only low but is still on the decline in itself.

      And all of this has said NOTHING of the US and has nothing to do with the US. Or Australia if you’re going to take offence at my comments from there. Grief.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      @ subedii: If others did not know, I do know that you’re kidding. However, I honestly do know people who have that “criminals better not rob the gas station when I’m filling up!” kind of mentality, and that frightens me more than an actual criminal with a gun.

      An armed populace does not necessarily mean a safer one.

      If you don’t mind me asking, how bad is knife crime in the UK? I would imagine that there’s probably not as many homicides, most just wind up being assaults? I’ve heard varying degrees of severity and I really don’t know, so that’s why I’m asking.

    • subedii says:

      Well apologies for the angry post on my part.

      Regarding knife crime, I haven’t go the time to search for official statistics, a quick glance at the wikipedia page for crime in London (which is where the highest levels are), puts the current rate is (this is not stabbings, just knives involved in crimes) at 16.8 per 10,000. I couldn’t tell you how that compares to the US or other countries, but that’s the highest level in this country, elsewhere it drops of rapidly. Gun and Knife offenses make up 2% of all offenses in London.

      Speaking anecdotally, it’s rare enough that a knife crime that is considered “news-worthy” (like someone is killed and the victim was fairly unassuming) by news makers happens every several months, and then gets an absolute blitz of media coverage for the following few days. Any additional information or advances in the case or trial typically make page 1 news or prime time segment on the news for months afterwards. It can often be followed all the way until a sentence is passed, which sometimes means years of on-again-off-again coverage.

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      Aninhumer says:

      The common “only outlaws will have guns” argument is flawed for two reasons, firstly it suggests that gun control doesn’t beneficially reduce the number of criminals in possession of guns, and secondly it assumes there is some benefit to arming civilians. For the first point, it’s not “arm the criminals” it’s “arm the subset of criminals who have the money and connections to acquire a gun, and haven’t been caught in possession yet”. I’d much rather criminals had a hard time getting hold of guns, even if they’re not completely prevented, rather than every pretty mugger being able to buy one. For the second point, as has already been said, in the majority of gun crime situations, a civilian trying to defend themself with a gun will only make the situation far worse.

    • Kommander says:

      Rather than attempt to engage in an argument that will waste everyone’s time I’ll just leave this here.

      http://gunfacts.info/pdfs/gun-facts/6.0/Gun-Facts-v6.0-screen.pdf

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      Aninhumer says:

      @Kommander
      Ugh that document is almost entirely statistical misdirection, vaguely defined assertions and logical fallacy. There are a few facts buried among the strawman “myths”, and endless correlations (which do not imply causation), that might merit a look at the source, but the level of rigour in the rest of the document does not earn that effort.

  6. diebroken says:

    Hmm, time to start a project, a “work of art”… reward: “signed autograph”

  7. Khemm says:

    I’d love to see more games like Rainbow Six 1-3 or SWAT 3-4, both series are dead, so I think I’ll support this.

    The problem with modern shooters is that there’s no variety. STALKER and ArmA 2 aside, all shooters come down to “press A to do sth awesome in corridor-like environments”. We have neither skill-based FPS like Quake nor hardcore one-shot-one-kill FPS like RS, SWAT or Ghost Recon 1. Not to mention level design has seriously regressed, what happened to big, complex levels from Blood, Duke 3D, Quake, Unreal 1 and so on…

    • Mattressi says:

      Khemm, I’m sure that I must have hit my head, but I agree with you for once! I’d love to have a game along the same lines as Rainbow Six. I’m not sure about putting money down for a game that may or may not happen (I’m new to this whole Kickstarter thing), but I’ll look into it.

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      thedosbox says:

      A follow-up to Raven Shield or SWAT5 would get me to chip in a few currency units. However, I get the impression he’s going for something closer to the original Operation Flashpoint, only CQB.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      Red Orchestra is pretty much one-shot-one-kill and I have yet to play a game that offers more realistic gunplay.

    • Mattressi says:

      @thedosbox: that would be awesome too. Honestly, anything that is a little realistic is a nice change from the generic CoDs of today. Arma is realistic, but can take a while to get into (and I still feel like I’m control a truck on ice; not sure why :S). Red Orchestra is a great series, but it’s multiplayer only (no, RO2′s SP does not count at all as SP). I’d love a primarily singleplayer tactical game. Something like armour, but with the feeling that I’m controlling a person. And without a button for every possible action a soldier could ever make (and the necessity to learn and remember them).

    • nyarlathotep-88 says:

      I so miss those days :(. Grew up playing Doom, Quake, and Rainbow six Rouge Spear. Best of both worlds in my opinion. The fun frantic shooters of Doom and Quake, and the tactical realistic shooter of Rougue Spear. You can only imagine how interested I am to hear this :)

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      A buddy and I were actually talking about Vegas2 a few days ago. Vegas2 played great and was a lot of fun, but the maps were all very linear and the bad guys two rooms down didn’t happen to hear all the grenades and gunfire? Really? Because, with Rogue Spear, they’d hear that commotion and either retreat and hole up somewhere to ambush you or they’d try to rush you.

      I can understand why some didn’t like the heavy amount of planning that Rogue Spear required, but even if you take that away, Rogue Spear still had better maps and better enemy AI.

  8. Premium User Badge

    AmateurScience says:

    I think it’s interesting that they’re taking a hybrid approach to funding: using a kickstarter to generate large scale investment from the people with all the money. This could be a great approach.

    Although if I was a large-scale investor I would worry that all the sales the game would get are represented by the people who have already paid through kickstarter.

  9. LuNatic says:

    I’m not a fan of Advanced Warfighter, but if he can bring the feel of Island Thunder back, I’ll be very interested.

  10. DaftPunk says:

    Doesn’t sound promising at all,i mean whats with GRAW 1/2 and tactical shooters,they were arcadish run and gun everything that moves,same shit with Halo games…

    • theleif says:

      Hence the kickstarter. To get money to make something else, because of the difficulty to get funding for something not like Halo.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      I think it has more to do with his experience. As in, he’s not just some dude in a garage, he’s actually worked on serious, big-name titles that had very successful multi-platform releases.

  11. Suits says:

    I can’t see this working, but good luck to them.

  12. Chris D says:

    This approach to naming games reminds me of one of the classic series of gaming history, now sadly almost entirely lost to obscurity. Some games strive for originality, creativity and innovation. They aspire to make money by delivering a quality product, but another school of thought holds that this overcomplicates matters and only one of these steps is necessary. The Generic Manshoot series was starkly uncompromising in pursuit of this philosophy and perhaps does not receive enough credit for succeeding on its own terms.

    Generic Manshoot 1: No! Not the Face! was followed only six months later by Generic Manshoot 2: More Shiny, More Blood! In interviews on how they managed to achieve such a rapid release schedule the publisher expressed their creative vision with statements such as “We feel there’s a gap in the market for a quantity product” and “Kids really like shooting men in the face. For as long as they’re willing to pay we aim to give them that experience.”

    It was not always plain sailing for the franchise with Generic Manshoot 7: The Boobs are Ironic receiving criticism from some, or indeed most, quarters.

    All good things must come to an end, and also this series. By Gen37ic Manshoot: Who’s Overcompensating? it was felt the franchise had allowed itself to become too defensive and it’s creative vision compromised. Despite being almost universally forgotten the series has left it’s mark in gaming history and while publishers follow that dream of making easy money for the least creative input the spirit of Generic Manshoot lives on.

    Readers will perhaps have their own fond memories of installments in the series.

  13. Premium User Badge

    VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    This is brilliant. If you pledge $100, you “will be able to submit game content to be included in the final game if approved”. You get to pay to have your stuff included in the game. Instead of the usual nonsense of the people making the content being paid for it, you get the people paying the money also making (some of) the content. More money and less work for the developers.

    Sucks for those naïve enough to fall for it, however.

  14. Morcane says:

    So now every developer is going to put up a Kickstarter page to fund their project….

    /yawn

    And oh…2D adventure >>>> tactical squad shooting game

  15. Vjaas says:

    Waw.. first person shooter, albeit tactical.
    Talk about catering to a niche audience :S

  16. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    Yes. That last picture was enough to know this isn’t for me.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Joshua says:

    Should the title not be “Not a RPG” instead of “An”? Or does the a/an rule work differently with acronyms?

    (Not trying to be a grammar nazi, but looking to extend my knowledge in english grammar)

    • Adam Smith says:

      Depends if you choose to verbalise the abbreviation or the word. I often tend to write out loud, if that makes sense, so ‘An arr pee gee’ makes more sense to me than ‘a arr pee gee’. But it’d be equally valid to have ‘a rpg’ if you were verbalising the word ‘role’ in there.

      Either way, it probably looks wrong to some people. I never really think about it!

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      In the sense of RPG, you would use “an.” When using “Role Playing Game” you would “a.” The reason is because the sound is different when pronouncing the abbreviation versus the actual words that make up the abbreviation.

      As Adam points out, RPG is pronounced “arr pee gee.” Because it phonetically begins with a soft vowel, it is preceded by “an.” However, “role” has a hard consonant sound, so you would use “a” instead of “an.”

      Here’s a decent link that might further help. It is a bit of a confusing rule and even most native English speakers mess it up, too. :)

    • andytt66 says:

      A role playing game is only a RPG if you pronounce it “ruh-puh-guh”.

      A ruh-puh-guh
      An arr-pee-jee

      It’s all about how you verbalise the letters of the acronym.

      • Faxmachinen says:

        It’s also “a RPG” if you pronounce it “a roul-plain-gaim”. And I’m pretty sure “ruh-puh-guh” is illegal in several counties.

  18. TT says:

    I´m all for the first Rainbows and Ghosts games… but not sure I would trust a guy giving out hand-guns to do it.
    Almost got me until the kid holding a toy rifle shows up. Not sure why but found it hum.. mistrustful distastfull (is that a word!)

    Anyway hope they get the game done.

  19. AdrianWerner says:

    if people can’t hit 200K mark on this one then it means there’s really no market for such games anymore and everybody who whines about them not being made should shup up.

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    LTK says:

    This is… interesting. So they’re trying to kickstart development on a tactical shooter, not by crowdfunding it, but by gathering funds and THEN pitching it to a publisher, saying “It’s a great idea, just look at how many people are supporting it!” But what if they fail? Suppose there still isn’t a publisher who sees profit in it – which is not inconceivable, considering that 1000 people supporting a project is insignificant for a modern military shooter – and the kickstarter is already funded, which is definitely going to happen. Then they won’t have anywhere to go, will they?

  21. PitfireX says:

    Should we be worried that this guy is willing to give gamers a Beretta 92?
    (Insert joke here about us being safe because 92′s jam alot)

  22. cassus says:

    All About The Story: Dated Gameplay XII-2
    The Single Player Campaign is a Tutorial for Multiplayer
    Space Themed Overpriced RTS Remake 2

  23. JackShandy says:

    Why do we get so worked up defining what can and cannot be an RPG? I say this hardcore tactical shooter has as much right to be a role-playing game as anything else.

  24. Radiant says:

    Serious Hardcore Interactive Tactical Shooter

    ACRONYMS YO.

  25. Turbobutts says:

    So Ghost Recon 1 was the only truly good tactical shooter he worked on? Why would I want to give this man money?

  26. rockman29 says:

    I shall fund if it is anything like Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield.

  27. Baggypants says:

    Robot Walky Shoot Gun