We've nodded approvingly a few times over the years at The Flock [official site], a multiplayer FPS where monsters yearn to hold a glowing artifact that transforms them and gives them the power to kill their misshapen former brethern. The version I played back in 2013 was fun, but I wondered how much longevity it'd have. Turns out, a limited amount - by design. As people play the game, they will contribute to it being taken permanently offline.
Every time someone dies, the game's death will tick nearer. When the death counter hits its target, first the game will be pulled from sale then, following a "climactic finale", it will turn off. Huh!
Vogelsap plan to have the counter displayed all over the place so people can see how many lives are left. Once they run out and it goes off sale, (obviously) only bought it will be able to play, and that'll end once the finale event wraps up. After that, The Flock is gone. Your game becomes inert.
"A multiplayer game can take players to incredible heights, but at some point gamers will start to play less, get disinterested and stop playing altogether," creative director Jeroen Van Hasselt said in the announcement. "In opposition to other multiplayer games, we want The Flock’s experience to inspire a sense of awe, to keep players eagerly anticipating what is coming next and to end with a memorable climax."
Sure, I'm up for that. "A game which destroys itself" will be a hard sell for many people, but I'm curious enough to bite if it's not too expensive. As Van Hasselt says, my interest would only peter out and I'd stop playing either way. Better to burn out than fade away. I wonder how long Vogelsap expect the game to live for.
It's not the first self-destructive game either, and unlike some others at least it won't delete files from your computer. I'm ill today so my memory's a bit hazy, but I know Sophie Houlden's FileKiller would delete random files if you were brave enough to play.
The Flock is due to launch by the end of September.