Idea for a psychological horror action-RPG:

Total posts: [4]
I had an idea for a video game. Now, I'm not that well-versed on the horror game genre, but I'm 99% sure this hasn't been done before (if just because of potential controversy):

You play as Magdalene (aka YouTube user demoncleaner97, aka Scratchy-chan, aka the Devourer), a mentally unstable 14-year-old girl that has sudden emotional outbursts, difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality, an obsession with indiscriminately reading fantasy and science fiction books, a tendency towards unknowing self-mutilation (both direct self-harm and also starvation), and a very poor grasp of what is or isn't socially appropriate (e.g. talking about peeling out bloody hangnails in front of a another kid's parents). One day, you're approached by an attractive young boy claiming to be an angel and saying you're destined to also become one as well in order to fight back the demon hordes. To do so requires actively seeking them out, killing them, and drinking their blood. The goal of the game is to ascend into angeldom with a pair of wings all your own.

You, the player, are presented the world exactly as she perceives it and the game requires you to play into her sickness. Your power, resources, and the quests you can undertake are tied into your "mood" (this game would have no numerical stats available; everything is shown through your appearance as well as your verbal and body language), which is raised by actions such as reading books (anything not speculative fiction is a negative and that includes your homework), acting up in class, creeping people out, recording YouTube video logs detailing your progress (under the mistaken assumption a fake name is all you need to be anonymous), self-harm, collecting weaponry, killing demons, and drinking their blood. Anything that counteracts those behaviors decreases your mood and once you reach certain thresholds, you go into depression, have panic attacks, and upon hitting rock-bottom, have a black-out that can result in anything from forcing your way into a library to murdering an actual human being.

Of course, your actions have consequences from the authority figures around you. You're already under supervision in a special education program and there's always the looming threat of being put on medication, having your freedoms restricted, and/or getting institutionalized altogether. Such restrictions impede your ability to hunt demons and if you go too long without drinking their blood, you eventually go catatonic and die. Thus, you have to balance between indulging your sickness, hide evidence of your activities, and present just enough of a mask of sanity to keep the teachers, psychiastrists, and police off your back. As you get further to your goal of ascending, the needs of both demon blood and your psychological compulsions escalates as well, making it harder to appease the authorities while also forcing you to hunt stronger demons.

What does everyone think? Would you play it? Has it been done before? Think it would piss off the moral protesters?
2 DrStarky28th Mar 2012 10:36:57 PM from Corn And Pig Land , Relationship Status: Staying up all night to get lucky
Okay Guy
I think this opens some fun gameplay ideas. I'd try to avoid homework because it would lower my mood bonus and probably cut into my demon-slaying time, but then the authority figures will start riding my ass for it. Maybe I can try to convince somebody else to do my homework for me.waii

Typically a good horror game (or at least a Survival Horror game) won't focus on a little girl slaying hordes of demons. Combat is usually something that that the player should avoid, to give a feeling a hopelessness. Now, it sounds like your game can be scary (or at least unsettling) anyway because of it's subject matter but it's something to consider before applying labels like "horror game".

It sounds like you want your game to be offensive, which makes sense. A game like this really needs to make its audience feel uncomfortable. But just remember that you're making the game offensive because you really think it's best, not because you just want to stir up a little cheap controversy.

I wish you the best of luck into bringing the game into fruition.

Also, can I try to guess the Twist Ending? The "angel" and demons are actually imaginary.
Put me in motion, drink the potion, use the lotion, drain the ocean, cause commotion, fake devotion, entertain a notion, be Nova Scotian
Is this based on anyone you know?
While I'm sure not being a shallow archetype implies that she has to be a real person, she's entirely fictional. This is a spinoff idea from a novel that doesn't star her (in fact, her rather gruesome death is what starts it; yeah, one of the bad endings is the canonical one). She's mostly a culmination of the kinds of mental illness that sections of internet geek culture tends to propagate and in-universe, her video logs become an internet meme amongst the darker subcultures.

When I say "psychological horror action-RPG", I don't mean it's a horror video game in the tradition of Silent Hill or Eternal Darkness. I mean it's a largely nonlinear action-RPG that takes the tone of psychological horror. Magdalene is clearly mentally unstable and the narrative focuses on her psyche. The player perceives what she perceives and that changes depending on her mood and health. For example, when she's happy, the color palette is bright and colorful while when she's depressed, it becomes dim and muddy. Even the appearance of both humans and demons shifts depending on her mental state.

The horror elements stem not from the traditional "helpless against unknown terrors" (although the demons are unknowable, unreasonable, physically-impossible Lovecraftian monstrosities and the odds are stacked heavily against her; the player should be forced into running from most encounters after taking a few down), but from creating a climate of paranoia, self-doubt, and cognitive dissonance along with a heavy helping of body horror from self-mutilation and her not-at-all-glamorous metamorphosis into an angel. It forces the player to think with a damaged psyche and experience what it's like to be compelled into self-destructive acts. I guess one way to phrase it is the unknown terror is lurking in her mind and she is helpless to fight against it.

Also, one element I should have mentioned in the original post is the game will have news media reporting terrible local events such as arson, animal cruelty, industrial sabotage, and even murder. Bad things happen where demons appear and choosing to do nothing only makes it worse. The reported events don't line up with what the player perceives when out demon cleaning, again going towards the paranoia and self-doubt.

And while the obvious twist ending is the old "it's all in her mind", that interpretation would only work by separating the game from the other works I'm creating in this continuity.
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Total posts: 4