By Nathan Grayson on November 15th, 2012 at 12:00 pm.
Eli Piilonen – he of clever (and admirably top-hat-clad) time-echo puzzler The Company of Myself, among many others – has plans. Big plans. He’s making a stealth game – of which, happily, there are roughly a billion of these days – but his is different. Very different. Excitingly different. But also worrisomely different. Different different different. There. Now you probably hate that word. Anyway, the still-untitled sneaker sees players heist their way through increasingly complex procedurally generated levels of a sci-fi office building. And if you fail? Well sorry, friend. No do-overs.
Granted, that’s just a brief look at the tutorial. Another video (below) gives a far better – not to mention lengthier – impression of what the game will be like once the training wheels come off your strange baseball-bat-on-rollerblades main character.
It’s an interesting mix of elements, too. Your central objectives generally involve stealing as much furniture as possible and navigating to a key that’ll lower the gate on your exit. However, both are double-edged swords. Furniture, you see, also acts as your central source of cover, so the more you take, the less you’ll be able to hide. Meanwhile, wrapping your sticky fingers around the key switches enemies into a state of heightened awareness and – apparently in some cases – teleportation.
I’m of multiple minds about this. Mainly, I’m a bit worried that margin for error could be an issue. After all, even the best stealth games tend to focus on pattern recognition and occasional trial-and-error. So adding enemies that can randomly teleport and the inability to ever try that specific level again to the mix could create a cauldron-bubbling formula for frustration. That said, those constraints might also force Piilonen to take the emphasis off precision puzzle-solving and move a bit more in the direction of on-the-fly improvisation. Honestly, I’d quite like to see more stealth games strike a good balance with that approach, so more power to him if that’s the case.
For now, check out the longer walkthrough video to see how Untitled Procedurally Generated Stealth Game With Permadeath Elements And Some Kind Of Segway Monster For A Main Character (definitely not the final title, but I kind of wish it was) is coming along.