Syndicatering To Desires: Hostile Takeover

In the alternate reality that exists in my memories, Vanilla Isometric had several hugely enjoyable chart-topping hits

ISOMETRIC ASSASSINATION/STEALTH GAME INSPIRED BY X-COM AND FALLOUT. I do believe I just heard the sound of a thousand necks cracking like dry twigs as people walking past their workmates’ monitors were drawn to that opening. It was followed by the soupy bubble of eyes bursting from their sockets in an attempt to absorb more quickly the evidence that such a thing is in development. That’s the last time I ever write in caps. Hostile Takeover is indeed in development, however, and it might just be deserving of those capital fellows. Onward to videos and information.

Laserbrain Studios, which is not several studios but rather a single man, is behind the game. Christian Knudsen is that man and his work so far looks fascinating in all the right ways, being a sort of isometric, tactical hitman simulator that takes its inspiration from all the right places. The emphasis seems to be on infiltration and meddling rather than killing sprees, with mechanical interactions in place that remind me of Gunpoint’s mischief. Simple things like switching off lights and stealing security cards that could create complexity and multiple diversions if they alter routes and reactions.

This is the latest developer diary, although I’m going to share another as well so don’t go away!

Knudsen admits to drawing from Project Zomboid’s graphical treatment of the isometric space (which sounds like a really terrible university lecture) but his self-acknowledged “elephant in the room” is AI, which is going to have to be a lot smarter than zombies. The whole game could succeed or fail based on the reactions of targets and ordinary folk alike to the player’s attempts at breaking, entering and murdering. There are some ideas related to that shown in the video below, which dates back to January of this year.

There’s lots more detail in the development blog but obviously there are still crucial elements that aren’t finished or ready to share yet. Plenty of strong possibilities here though.


  1. Richie Shoemaker says:

    Ah yes, this is by the chap who made that excellent Ascii Sector.

    • Harlander says:

      ASCII Sector was sweet, I’ll keep an eye on this

    • Reefpirate says:

      Aha! THAT is where I’d heard the name before… Ascii Sector was quite fun for a while.

  2. Jake Albano says:

    I’ve been trying to remember this studio name for weeks now! Thanks RPS. <3

  3. MaximKat says:

    Why is Stephen Hawking narrating the videos?

  4. wccrawford says:

    My neck didn’t crack, but my eyes did lock onto the news story in my RSS Reader. lol More intros should contain phrases like ‘inspired by Fallout’. And by that I mean that more games should be inspired by it.

  5. Unaco says:

    Who the f*ck are the Knudsens?

  6. Stromko says:

    The walk animations reminds me of ASIMO trying to cross an ice rink, but that’s obviously just nitpicking at this stage. It’s hard to judge anything at what’s clearly an early stage of development, but it’s an intriguing concept.

  7. Torgen says:

    (insert “this is relevant to my interests” cat picture here)

  8. Guhndahb says:

    Sounds like my kind of game.

  9. LTK says:

    Interesting that you mention the reactions of ordinary people to crime. From what I can remember, non-aggressive NPCs usually react to crimes commited by the player with ‘please don’t kill me!’, ‘help!’ or something like that, which raises the alarm of the NPCs that are aggressive. What if you tried to model the way civilians react to nonviolent crime more realistically?

    What you’d probably see in the real world is that most people who hear a suspicious noise somewhere not in their home or workplace will act as if it’s probably nothing and can be ignored, rather than investigating it and risking to actually catch a criminal, or risking to finding nothing and feeling stupid about being paranoid.

    So, in a stealth assassination game, it would be interesting to be forced to anticipate the reactions of being detected by civilians. Will this particular guy be paralyzed with fear once you enter the room with a gun? Will he run out of the building to save his own hide? Will he call for help? Will he pull his own gun out of a desk drawer? I don’t know of any game that implemented NPC AI like this anywhere.

  10. Cross says:

    Every time i hear a Danish accent, i feel more and more embarrassed.

  11. Solidstate89 says:

    The art direction (or at least the buildings) remind me more of the original Sims than anything else. And considering that’s the last good Sims game in my book, I like it.

  12. BobbyDylan says:

    This looks pretty slick. Chalk me up as interested.

  13. Shandrakor says:

    I think I just squeed. Strong probability of Day 1 purchase.