It’s no secret that videogames and power fantasies are a perfect match. If you want to blast your way into a heavily-guarded fortress, leaving nothing but red stains and widows, videogames have you covered. If you want to be the ultimate race car driver/future soldier/fighter pilot/dancer/farmer/truck driver or princess, then there’s a game for you.
What they’re not so good at is subtlety. Take a typical, well-made AAA game like Bioshock Infinite, for instance. Infinite paints an incredibly rich and detailed world, but if the only way you can view that world is down the barrel of a gun, then everything is reduced to threats and scenery. If it moves, shoot it. If not, then move on. It’s a shooting range, and they’re only targets.
The problem with that is, within the context of the game’s fiction, they’re not just targets; they’re people. By treating them as nothing more than targets, you’re basically playing a psychopath on a killing spree. The narrative attempts to cater for this, mainly by playing on the moral ambiguity of the character, but if the only stories we can tell are about psychopaths, what does that mean for gaming?
I’m not trying to say that we should stop making these games. First-person shooters can be immensely fun, the stories they tell can be entertaining and rewarding, and a virtual killing-spree can be the catharsis that gets you through a hard day. But is that really it? In the evolution of the first-person shooter, have we already reached the end of the road, as far as narrative goes?
I think not. I believe we have a long way to go yet, and many different directions we can travel in.
Which brings me back to The Hit.
In The Hit, I want you to hesitate before you draw a weapon. I want you to be aware of who is around you, and having assessed the risks, and made your decision without perfect knowledge, I want to make you breath faster and your heart quicken when you reach for your pistol. I want you to feel it.
These guys are going to be a big part of that.
Police in The Hit will be smart, fast and deadly. Firearms and damage will be fairly realistic, and you won’t be a bullet sponge. If you do find yourself in a shootout with the cops, you won’t have anything like auto-aim, magical shields, infinite bullets or regenerating health to help you, but neither will they.
There will be a few more twists to this system, but I’m not ready to reveal those quite yet. I’m aiming to make the game as entertaining as possible, but I’m not making a power fantasy, and I won’t be encouraging you to play a psychopath. Those games don’t interest me as a developer.
So just like in real life, if you’re up against the police, the best thing you can do is drop your weapon. The second best thing to do will be to run and hide.
Of course, the absolute best thing to do is find out who your competition is, and make sure the police are after them instead.