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Johnatone

Open World Games with a Finite Populace

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Just as the title suggests, I'm curious if there are any open world games with a population of enemies and NPCs that never regenerate. A game where the deaths matter, and you could ultimately hunt every living thing down.

 

I know there are games with permadeath parameters for player characters, and simulation games with finite populations you have to manage for good or for bad.

 

However, when it comes to open world games like GTA, Just Cause, Skyrim, MGSV, Mercenaries, or whatever the game may be, killing enemies or civilians has very little permanent effect on the gameplay. Soldiers and NPCs respawn like nothing happened, with only the story letting you know things have progressed. (FarCry 2 would have been so much more fun if those fucking outposts didn't respawn immediately and infinitely. The game would still be a slow burning tech demo though.)

 

There are games with morality systems, and this is definitely on track with what I'd like to see. Even then, there aren't many consequences to killing indiscriminately aside from the way NPCs behave around you and a few gameplay choices you may be locked out of.

 

So, assuming this game doesn't exist yet or ever, here's the pipedream gameplay ideas I have for such a system:

 

Remember the first John Wick, where Wick whittled away at the bad guy's henchmen and resources to the point he was willing to give up his own son? Now apply that to a game where you play a criminal.

 

You start killing your own guys, or kill the boss's favorite cousin, and begin a campaign to take over. The boss sends guys at you, you kill them, they get more, but your infamy makes it harder and harder to recruit. The more you succeed, the more wild and desperate the tactics get. They might form an alliance with other crime bosses, or say fuck it and leave town entirely.

 

During this fiasco, you might play recklessly and kill a lot of civilians and do a lot of collateral damage to public property. Because you didn't play it safe, now the cops are on your ass. Since it's gang shit, they're willing to bring in big guns. Had you played it safe, they would have ignored your coup as an SEP*.

 

Get vicious enough in your campaign, and the military might step in. Prove yourself ruthless enough and the city/island/planet government gives everyone the green light to hunt you down.

 

NPCs would start to report your location, shoot at you, form neighborhood watches, or even flee to the outskirts to get away.

 

Eventually, if you wanted to, you could kill everybody. Or, they could kill you and you get an ending that's now considered the good ending because you became the bad guy instead of an anti-hero.

 

Or. Join the police force/military/militia and be a good character, but you're too loose with your gun, too tough in interrogations, and consider yourself Judge Dredd most of the time. So you can be kicked off the force, branded a criminal, and be hunted like a vigilante. Or you can be a good cop and clear the game with honor.

 

Or or. Be a Dexter like serial killer. Be a criminal with a secret serial killer hobby. Start the game with the intent of being a serial killer. You clear with a good ending by retiring a free man, or a bad ending when you get caught or killed. Sick? Sure, but I want my open ended world to be fully open ended and impacted. Not an empty map full of fetch quests and outposts that quickly get boring to capture.

 

Those are just ideas of what you could do with a system like that in my opinion, and I'm probably crazy to think it would be a dynamic game changer. Not to mention I don't wish that kind of a programming task on anyone, as fun as the challenge may be.

 

*SEP = Somebody Else's Problem. Kudos to my fellow H2G2 fans who got it immediately.

 

Please point out any grammatical errors. I'm trying to brush back up on my writing skills. Yes, grammar nazis are very welcome.

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In Morrowind you can kill every named NPC and they stay dead, it doesn't matter if it is a Quest NPC or not.

If you would have needed the NPC, your fault.

 

Not sure about Guards, never tried to kill everyone :P

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mad max, prey (2017)

 

the new hitman games are sorta like this but the levels do reset after you've finished them or if you replay them

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Morrowind and Fallout New Vegas come to mind. Some do respawn (guards in Morrowind and generic faction characters in New Vegas), but in general, all consequences are final. I've played a kill everything run in both games.

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I think with a little modding you can do it in Stalker series.

 

1. There are small groups of roaming stalkers and mutants. Many are one off characters with their own names and won't return of killee however there are a few areas that will eventually spawn new NPCs. Switch that functionally off and you can eliminate life.

 

2. There are a handful of plot characters and traders that can't be killed. Maybe could mod them as vulnerabke, not sure.

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11 hours ago, Dusty_Rhodes said:

Morrowind and Fallout New Vegas come to mind. Some do respawn (guards in Morrowind and generic faction characters in New Vegas), but in general, all consequences are final. I've played a kill everything run in both games.

 

Ahh, the true Lord of New Vegas and sourroundings haha

 

Was a bit disappointing that in Skyrim they just knee down for a while.

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In gothic 3, you can kill anyone and if you liberate too many towns, then the other faction starts to hate you.

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I don't remember where I read this but a concept I would love to see in an open world game would be that of an enemy army with an actual number of soldiers, not just 'infinite' faceless goons you get to kill in droves.

For example let's say you need to clear an outpost, kind of like in a Far Cry game, this outpost contains about 20-30 enemy soldiers, the death of said 20-30 enemy soldiers would actually have an impact on their army, maybe using some sort of widget on the map that displays the number of enemy soldiers left in a region or section of the world map. Even the 'random' soldiers running around the map would be counted in this widget, this would also mean that you could attempt to kill off the main villain at any point, even at the beginning of the game but instead of having to deal with next to no opposition you'd have to face his whole army, also there would a recruitment or a draft system of sorts, basically if you're not quick enough to free a region, or you start to get a bad reputation more people would join the enemy,  I don't really know how this could be pulled off nor how this concept would impact the game as a whole but I think it's a very interesting concept, especially when it comes to immersion, because you could actually feel the impact of your actions on the enemy.

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5 hours ago, Azuris said:

 

Ahh, the true Lord of New Vegas and sourroundings haha

 

Was a bit disappointing that in Skyrim they just knee down for a while.

I forgot to mention, Fallout 1 and 2 don't have regenerating enemies at all. Kill as you please and face the consequences.

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3 hours ago, Dusty_Rhodes said:

I forgot to mention, Fallout 1 and 2 don't have regenerating enemies at all. Kill as you please and face the consequences.

 

Ahh absolutly right, how could i forget?
Love those Games. Great Atmosphaere.

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1 hour ago, Azuris said:

 

Ahh absolutly right, how could i forget?
Love those Games. Great Atmosphaere.

They really are fantastic, the art style and music alone make such a lonely, deadly world. I love it.

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I forget if it's permanent or not but in The Outer Worlds you can just out-right kill off main character NPC's for the shits and giggles and I think you can still continue playing the game (never tried it all the way but does seem interesting).

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Demon's Souls and Dark Souls come to mind in a way. If you kill any of the npc characters they're gone for good, and you can no longer buy items/level up/etc. depending on who you killed, but they do drop items when they die so it can be a choice of whether you want to keep them around for the items they sell or kill them for a good weapon.

 

There was some Lord of the Rings game (Shadow of Mordor?) where enemies would remember their encounter with you or another enemy would attempt to avenge the death of someone you killed. I don't know the specific details because I didn't play it, but I recall it having some sort of permanence to the player's actions.

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On 1/22/2022 at 3:17 AM, Lippeth said:

Demon's Souls and Dark Souls come to mind in a way. If you kill any of the npc characters they're gone for good, and you can no longer buy items/level up/etc. depending on who you killed, but they do drop items when they die so it can be a choice of whether you want to keep them around for the items they sell or kill them for a good weapon.

 

There was some Lord of the Rings game (Shadow of Mordor?) where enemies would remember their encounter with you or another enemy would attempt to avenge the death of someone you killed. I don't know the specific details because I didn't play it, but I recall it having some sort of permanence to the player's actions.

Yup the nemesis system, a cool idea hopefully other games implement. You badly wound them (or you think you've killed) and they're remember you and how you did it. They may get traits for it, e.g. if you threw an Orc captain in fire and if he survives he may get a grudge and try ambush you at very inconvenient times. You'll see his flesh is all burned and he has developed a fear of fire that you can exploit.

 

But that game is a massive grind, despite the huge variety in orc characters the populace is far from finite. Everyone gets replaced no matter what, even very unique Orcs just might eventually reappear (or similar to) if you play enough.

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1 hour ago, Chezza said:

Yup the nemesis system, a cool idea hopefully other games implement. You badly wound them (or you think you've killed) and they're remember you and how you did it. They may get traits for it, e.g. if you threw an Orc captain in fire and if he survives he may get a grudge and try ambush you at very inconvenient times. You'll see his flesh is all burned and he has developed a fear of fire that you can exploit.

 

But that game is a massive grind, despite the huge variety in orc characters the populace is far from finite. Everyone gets replaced no matter what, even very unique Orcs just might eventually reappear (or similar to) if you play enough.

 

Unfortunately, Warner Bros. Interactive took out a patent on the Nemesis System that somehow got granted to them. So, unless it's a game published by Warner Bros., you will not see a system like this again until that patent runs out.

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