‘Wishful Wednesdays’ is a weekly series of ideas for video games that I would like to exist but as yet, to my knowledge, don’t. Each week I’ll detail a short game idea or concept. If I happen to mention an idea that’s already out there, let me know so I can play it.
Ten years ago The Sims: Castaway was released and with it an itch for all things survival. Despite it’s light-hearted nature and confusing conversations with monkeys it was a successful survival game. All of the games in The Sims series are essentially about survival; fail to feed your Sim or give it the rest it needs then off you pop, hand in hand with the Grim Reaper. But The Sims: Castaway goes a little further, stranding you on a remote island, tasked with foraging for resources to feed and house yourself. Since its release I’ve been scratching that survival itch with Minecraft, Miasmata, The Forest, and a multitude of other survival titles, yet all I’ve been left with is a huge unfulfilled shaped rash. Don’t get me wrong, the games I’ve played have all been fantastic in their own right and obtain some of the elements I’m looking for but somehow they’re not quite right. I’ve yet to find that perfect salve.
So I thought about the different elements I enjoyed from all the games I played and tried to come up with my own idea.
Firstly let’s get the setting out the way. A plane crash lands in the sea and as the unlikely sole survivor you make your way to a nearby tropical island. Lost and unsure if help is on the way, you seek shelter as night-time descends. Now, survive!
The first thing you’ll need to do will be to scavenge for food and find shelter for the first night. Failing to do so won’t result in your death (unless you don’t find any food or water for 3 days), but will weaken you and make the next in-game day even more difficult. After the first night you should set out to craft your own tools and eventually build your own shelter. There will of course be wild animals, and maybe even indigenous populations, so you’ll need to craft your own weapons and create defenses against these, too. But those won’t be the only dangers, weather will also be a factor. So creating a suitable home is key.
The main aim of the game won’t be too dissimilar to Tom Hanks’ Castaway, in that you’ll need to survive long enough to either build your own means of escape or until you’re rescued by a passing boat. The former could make your stay shorter depending on how successful you are, but failing to flag down a boat to pick you up can extend your stay. It should also be possible to not leave at all; to resign yourself to your new-found home and pitch up as it were. This could be a different end game experience.
I think in order to make this game different to others and more interesting is to not focus too heavily on the dangers. Yes, they would be there but they won’t relentlessly punish you. In Minecraft, dark spaces and night-time are things to dread as that’s when the threat of the Creepers come. There should be dangers throughout the whole night and day cycle, but not all the time. Some days you may not come across any of the wildlife that seem so ready to tear you limb from limb or poison you, sending you on a mission to patch yourself up or find a cure, but just have a peaceful, and productive day. This would help to make every day a surprise and to keep you on your toes in order to make it through the day. Eventually, due to your efforts, you could end up creating a huge fortress, discover secrets and treasure, meet other survivors, create a family or just some sort of life.
The game should also be photo-realistic, so that full advantage is taken of the scenery. Sitting on the beach and watching the palm tree leaves sway in the wind, while the sun gently sets on the horizon, or walking through a dense and beautiful forest and stumbling on a majestic waterfall should give you serious considerations to your actions. Do you stay or go?
So there you have it, a brief idea for a survival game just for me. Short and sweet but it’s the seed of an idea. If you fancy making it, please do and let me know when it’s done. I’ll be buying it right away.