This article by the designer of an upcoming 2D stealth videogame is insightful about the fundamentals of stealth gameplay and also discusses credible solutions to some of their design challenges. This paragraph near the beginning caught my attention:
“Why are stealth games interesting? The core thing that makes stealth games different is the flow of their gameplay is all “pull,” where in nearly all other 1st/3rd person avatar-based games it’s all “push.” Nearly all action games are actually about reaction, at least on the encounter level. The games unfurl by pushing encounters onto the player, which the player must then deal with. Stealth games, however, have the player pulling an encounter to them, at their own pace. It almost has to be this way by necessity, as opposition is unaware of the player and thus it’s up to the player to begin perturbing the game world.”
One of the great joys of Bioshock was that it provided both pull and push gameplay. The various slicer encounters were mostly push while the Big Daddies were always pull. While I understood this concept I didn’t have good terminology for it, so I’m grateful to these guys for thinking it through.
When Ben asked us to mind the shop while he’s away getting his brain melted by the pounding bass and sweltering heat of the E3 show floor, I’m not sure he realized I’d seize the mic to prattle on about one of my favourite game genres. Or maybe that’s exactly what he wanted. Either way, that’s what i…