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Hypothetical Gaming: Design Reboot

I want to see this game right away.

Design Reboot is a site that pitches hypothetical reboots, redesigns or sequels for games, along with descriptions for how it might work, accompanied by some beautiful concept illustrations. It’s the work of independent games developer Jack Monahan, who is both a level designer and a concept artist. What would Half-Life have been like if Valve had stuck with their first protagonist, Ivan the Space Biker? How could Unreal be reimagined today? And who exactly is Deus Ex’s Gunther?

The site’s been running since March, but Monahan has been keeping it under wraps, wanting to be sure it was an idea with legs. It really is. With eight months of content to plough through, beginning with some deep thoughts on level design before evolving into the rebooting concept, it’s pack with some extraordinarily good ideas, presented with wit.

“This is a Darth Vader story,” the site explains, introducing us to Laputan Machine, Monahan’s hypothetical Deus Ex prequel. “Skip the part about the screeching kid and the Oedipal overtones and the retroactive ruination of a classic film trilogy–skip all of it save the image of a man in black, eaten up with machinery. That’s Gunther.” What follows is a description of a game that follows Gunther as he becomes the monster we meet in the original game.

There’s many more of these – it’s an exciting project, whether the ideas are pure whimsy or eventually become the inspiration for something that’s created. I heartily recommend giving it an explore.

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John Walker


One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I tried to leave, but they won't let me. If anyone reads this, please send help.

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