{Nighthunters}

{Game Idea}

~ art by Yoji Shinkawa

Thesis: A 3rd-person tactical action game where the player takes on the role of a Nighthunter. The Nighthunters are a group of specially trained hi-tech warriors, former black operatives and shadowy assassins. They are joined to fight within the eternal, secret war against the supernatural underbelly of the world. In the near future, these Nighthunters plot high stakes wetwork jobs in order to undermine the designs of werewolf druglords, vampire generals, faerie dealers, ghostly politicians – the individuals who run the global military industrial complex and its associated cabal slowly consuming the surface world into their darkness.

Setting: Near future modern day. The Nighthunters work in a variety of mission locales – bases, buildings, nightclubs, bunkers, fortresses, camps, compounds, plants, towers, etc. All kinds of defensible and well-protected infrastructure in need of infiltration. This world is filled with strongholds where vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural enemies develop their enterprises of death. The Nighthunter’s job is to enter these places and secure their specific objectives. Each mission is located within a larger, free-roaming environment such as: cities, forests, deserts, offshore bases. A combination of natural and unnatural environments offer a varied experience for the Nighthunter operator.

Playable Character(s): The roster of Nighthunters is a diverse mix of highly talents specialists, capable of all forms counter-super {short for supernatural beings} engagements. Some individuals focus upon gun-battling with assault weaponry or long-range sniper rifling. Others use melee weapons such as swords and throwing knives. Some Nighthunters use tech, hacking or controlling computer systems, or fight from within a specialized mech. One is a hybrid-super who wields their own supernatural traits. The player(s) making up the Nighthunter team deployed for a mission choose their individual characters, and together the team forges a mix of these different complementing skillsets. Each character has individual origins and motivations, and their storyline is developed over the course of the game’s chronology, alongside their allies. The more you use a character and their specialties, the more effective they become.

Gameplay & Story Premise:

  • Real-time 3rd-person action – fast-paced & arcade-esque, but remains a tactical focus. There are serious consequences to decisions within engagements. {Operating with the same style and engine as Metal Gear Solid V – the primary inspiration for this game concept}.
  • The Nighthunter player(s) is dropped into a region, where there are objectives to be completed – but often in a freeform manner. The missions are designed to be handled a variety of ways and with multiple equally-effective methodologies available to the player(s).
  • The mission objectives include: assassination, disruption, interception, infiltration, securing intel and exfiltrating with it undetected, protecting allies, defending a location, place an explosive to destroy an object or entire compound, etc.
  • Each playable character, the Nighthunters – Gunner, Sniper, Blader, Sneaker, Hacker, Runner, Fighter, Hider, Killer – represents a different set of skills respectively, and a different playstyle for the player to take on. Each wields different strengths and weaknesses, and limitations. In a team of operators, the collection of different hunters and their styles must be used in tandem, tactically and strategically, to fight against the often superpowered enemies impeding mission completion.
  • Most missions are designed to be completed in less than 1-2 hours. Each is meant to be replayed multiple times, using different Nighthunters and different strategies each time. The objectives can be completed a variety of ways, and the randomness of enemy maneuvers and weapon accuracy always plays a role and provides a fresh gameplay experience. The missions are also designed for an enriching speed-running experience.
  • Over the course of the game, certain progressions are made for individual Nighthunters abilities and storylines, and for the group’s operation as a whole. Nighthunters gain increased skill effectiveness, +speed, strength and damage – and gain access to new gadgets as the group completes mission after mission. The team as a whole operates out of an APC {Armored Personnel Carrier} which houses their suits and weaponry. It upgrades over time as the team succeeds on missions and gains money and reputation within the power structures of humanity and its rebels. The patronage you receive from governments, scientists, and humanity’s own industrial complexes benefits the Nighthunters.
  • The campaign of missions tells a story of the Nighthunters, a prominent team of spec ops freedom fighters in a darkening world, taking on an increasingly impactful and dangerous role within the secret war against the cabal of humanity’s supernatural enemies. All the missions have their costs and not all of the Nighthunters will survive the war.

Endgame: Fight for humanity, as their first and last line of defense against the darkness. Mission progression leads the Nighthunters towards The Masters – the true leaders of the supernatural shadow organizations causing the chaos in the modern world. Discover, locate, and assassinate the leaders and take back the world. Fail, and the world falls to bloodlust; the darkness reigns.

Inspired by ~ 

Metal Gear Series

Related image

Devil May Cry

Legacy of Kain


Concept & Story

The Nighthunters

The Nighthunters are a well-organized group of black operatives, working for humanity to fight back against the underworld. Led by a mysterious man named Ghast with a storied past full of demons, of both the figurative and literal kinds. Ghast leads the Nighthunters, training them and mentoring them in the ways of military special forces operations. Ghast knows them all well, having personally recruited them. It is his job to harness their strengths, bolster their weaknesses, and align their personalities into a cohesive and productive unit of persons. It is through Ghast that the will of the organization is orchestrated. And it is through the missions that he sends them on, that they come to better know one another as a family, as well as the darkness facing humanity if they should fail.

The Nighthunter godfather, Ghast

Gunner ~ {Polish GROM} Solves his problems with bullets and beers. He also enjoys grenades. Gunner fights against the denizens of darkness so that he can finally go home and end his personal war.

Sniper ~ {French Gendarmerie} Long range marksman, specialized in the art of the silver bullet. Sniper is looking for her mother, who fell to the forces of darkness long ago and lies somewhere in her wait for her, awaiting her to make a misstep. When the opportunity comes, she doesn’t plan to miss.

~ art by dustsplat

Blader ~ {???} A swordsman who was born and raised in the underground, surrounded by beasts that wished for nothing more than to turn him or eat him. He survived by the blade alone. ~ Blader fights for more than survival now. He hunts for his master – a vampire who taught him his skills, and the meaning of true cruelty.

Sneaker ~ {British SAS} A hyper-vigilant infiltrator and acrobat. Sneaker is mute. He finds solace only in shadow. That is until Ghast took him in and put his skills to use in the field, among a team. Sneaker would do anything for his team.

Hacker ~ {German BND} a world class black hat computer hacker and street artist. Everything changed for Hacker the day his group was overrun by supers. He joined the Nighthunters with revenge on his mind and sorrow in his heart; in them, he found a replacement for the family he’s lost.

Runner ~ {Italian 17º Stormo Incursori} A supreme athlete, parkourist, and escape artist. Runner and her best friend, Wolf, ran the streets growing up together. Having barely escaped death a hundred and one different times, everything changed when she joined the Nighthunters. She found something she never carried before. Now she and wolf run with purpose.

~ art by Yoji Shinkawa

Fighter ~ {Swedish Life Regiment Hussars} A former marine who survived the rest of his unit’s demise in a raid gone wrong through sheer guile alone. Now gifted with a supersuit from Ghast, Fighter looks for a second chance to change his squad’s fate through him.

Hider ~ {Israeli Maglan} A person who wishes to remain anonymous, who wields a hi-tech bodysuit capable of going completely invisible – and who wishes to prove to Ghast their loyalty through actions alone.

Killer ~ {The Macedonian Revenant} A hybrid being, half-man / half-super. Killer is the Nighthunters’ greatest asset, and potentially their downfall. He needs blood to live, but through a sacred vow, he limits himself to only the blood of the wicked, and of fellow supers. Killer’s presence among the Nighthunters is sporadic and volatile; but Ghast believes he gives them their best chance at winning their shadow war. Killer is on a personal quest to slay The Keeper, emerging leader of the supers, for personal reasons.

~ art by Yoji Shinkawa

Enemies & Supers

Shadow agents ~ The different shadow organizations within the underground opposing the Nighthunters, and humanity’s efforts, may be run by Supers but the foot soldiers are often still humans. These agents have been corrupted by promises of power. Formerly with the perspective of the feeling powerless within the world, these persons have been given the equipment and mindset to rival the Nighthunter’s own, just in the opposite direction.

~ art by amirul hhf

Vamps ~ Vampires are the fastest enemy type – they work in the shadows and hit when you least expect it. They can steal a non-lethal portion of a Nighthunter’s blood quickly, weakening them and making them temporarily less effective in combat. Vamps must be eliminated using the power of the Sun. Fortunately for the Nighthunters, Ghast has long ago been able to harness and store sunlight, imbuing it within their weapons temporarily and precisely for this kind of opponent.

~ art by phil-cho

Werepeople ~ Werepeople are those capable of transforming between man and beast – wolves, bears, tigers, and others. Some have less control over it than others. Were-creatures are the strongest of the supers, and the most primal once in their beast form. They wield heightened senses and can track Nighthunters with ease when trying to stealth. All were-people are susceptible to silver weaponry and ammunition, in either form they take.

Ghosts ~ There ethereal beings must be exorcised from our reality. They are the spirits of the dead and are especially dangerous because of just how challenging they are to ultimately extinguish. Ghosts are slower and weaker enemies compared to the rest of the supers, but can inhabit the bodies of weakened Nighthunters, controlling their actions for temporary periods. Ghosts are exorcised with a combination of light, sound and religious imagery; all of it must be well-timed and used in tandem to take them down.

Faeries ~ Beasts from the wilds of the fey, a rip between their world and ours. Faeries are nothing like their mythological counterparts. They are ferocious and violent beasts; not unthinking ones though, faeries are quite clever and are able to shift between their reality and ours nearly at-will. They can teleport around the battlefield, and do so periodically. They are defeated by closing off their access to this plane via the use of electromagnetic energy. In their weakened state, they can be gunned down or otherwise slain.

~ art by Wen-M
~ art by akakuma

Daemons ~ The most mysterious of the supers and arguably the most dangerous. Their powers are seemingly limitless. But they work alone, and only appear where they are most needed by the underworld. They make up the highest forms of leadership within the shadow orgs and are feared the most by other supers. Ghast is still working on a method of taking these bastards down…

~ art by Iren Bee

~ Supers are intelligent, resourceful, and make use of the same technology and weaponry available to the Nighthunters {often superior versions of it}. As a result, they are difficult foes to deal with in the field. The Nighthunters rely on one another – and the strategic directives of Ghast – to be able to succeed in their missions facing up against these foes. Their survival depends on equal measures of good planning, good instincts, and the good flame of the human spirit never going out during their campaign, in spite of setbacks.

~ The supers are collected into disparate shadow orgs within the underworld, sparring amongst themselves for ultimate power within it, not unlike mafia crime families. Ghast uses the rifts within their own nefarious orgs as opportunities to capitalize upon.

~ There is one individual – known as The Keeper – who seeks to unite the underworld under his own singular power. Following this move, he plans to take the surface world with their unified and focused power. To do this would be to usher in a new, darker world, from whence humanity could never return. Ghast and the Nighthunters’ mission, they soon find, is to stop The Keeper from creating his dark world.

The Keeper – art

Design / System / Mechanics

~ {Nighthunters} is meant to be a spiritual cousin of the type of experience evoked within Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece series of Metal Gear. This game is meant to directly emulate the kinds of experiences found within those games. The best aspect of the Metal Gear series, from my observations of the other games and my personal experience from playing through Metal Gear Solid V, is the game’s optionality. I use the word “sandbox” to describe the Nighthunter experience for good reason. With a combination of excellence within level design, character action, and enemy reactions, a new kind of gameplay experience should arise within each and every play session. The emergent outcomes of the stealth maneuvering and battling within MGSV – and the impeccable control scheme – are all points that {Nighthunters} wishes to hit on in its systems and mechanics. The variability, and sheer player control, over the game’s experience is the hallmark of the Metal Gear games, and the intention within this concept.

Sandbox stealth action: The game plays like Metal Gear with multiple operators who fight against a combination of common foot soldiers with capabilities similar to human special operatives, and a handful of Supers within each mission area. The Supers provide the greatest challenge and require good teamwork to defeat. The game can be played solo, with NPC allies {or no allies in the highest difficulty}, or can be played multiplayer with each Nighthunter being played by someone online or split-screen.

Metal Gear (1987)

~ Each Nighthunter operator fills a different role, but all require the use of stealth, timing, and precision within their tactics, strategies, and shots. Missions often will come down to being able to efficiently eliminate hostile units, while moving against the environment, and time.

~ Every stage must be completed within a certain time period, or objectives will become more complicated or difficult, or simply result in mission failure. Time is an important factor because it forces the Nighthunter(s) to work fast, but remain stealthy and smart in their maneuvers.

~ Once alerted – via sight, sound, or evidence of a Nighthunter’s passage {e.g. footprints in earth, hacked computer, dead body} enemies will search, call for backup, and attack any exposed Nighthunters. Enemies move from 1) suspicious, to 2) alerted & searching, to 3) attacking.

~ Nighthunter operators are all capable of a common set of maneuvers necessary on every mission – running, climbing, using weapons, marking enemies, and issuing communications or commands amongst one another.

Nighthunters are also capable of using three types of maneuvers custom to their class and role. Offensive / Defensive / Utility. These special maneuvers can only be used so often during the course of a mission, and require cooling down before they can be utilized again. These moves are the most powerful resources a Nighthunter has at their disposal and make the difference in the mission.

  • Gunner ~ Assault! – fires a barrage of unblockable bullets / Grenade cover – uses explosives and flashes to escape an attack / Slam – rush an enemy and slam them into a temporary stun.
  • Sniper ~ Snipe! – fires a single powered up shot for massive damage / Covering fire – next shot deals extra damage to the environment / Mark ’em up – all enemies in Sniper’s view become marked and take additional damage for a temporary period of time
  • Blader ~ Slash! – Blader slashes the enemy with a combo attack for massive damage but becomes vulnerable right after / Slicing Defense – Blader can block super attacks, even bullets, if well-timed. / Jump – jump far and high
  • Sneaker ~ Stealth! – Sneaker is able to sneak past small distances without Supers becoming suspicious / Allyship – from short distances, Sneaker can guide along other Nighthunters with their own level of stealth / Smoke – use a smoke grenade to distract enemies or hide allies
  • Hacker ~ Hack! – using electromagnetic equipment fused to his body, Hacker can short out or overcharge any tech in sight from distance / Shield – put up an energy shield capable of blocking a small area from fire for a short period / Glide – using a pair of wings fashioned from scrap metal, Hacker can glide down from heights safely
  • Runner ~ Run! – Runner sprints through the battlefield alongside Wolf, startling enemies and setting them on a confused hunt / Man’s Best Friend – Wolf runs to an ally’s aid, helping them fight a single enemy / Scale – Runner can scale walls and jump between buildings easily
  • Fighter ~ Mech! – Fighter uses the full offensive capabilities of his mech for a short time, then has to recharge for a longer period of time / Defensive Mode – Fighter becomes slower but much harder to kill / Movement Mode – Fighter becomes fast, in a short burst
  • Hider ~ Invis! – Hider becomes completely invisible / Camo Wall – Hider can deploy a wall of camouflage as they move, allowing allies to follow its trail / Trap – Hider can use various traps to slow or kill enemies
  • Killer ~ Kill! – Killer can stealth kill enemies in one shot, even supers with the right weapon and timing/precision / Bold Action – Killer becomes enlivened with his super blood and becomes able to perform all actions better for a short period / Blood Gift – from short to long-range, Killer gifts an ally with his own blood and empowers them in combat.

Campaign & mission design: The game’s campaign is made up of missions that cover a wide variety of locales, enemy types, and objective types. The maps are designed to be approached from multiple perspectives, and the missions accomplished through of a variety of means and team comps.

~ The missions differ on difficulty, escalating over time as the campaign progresses. Each mission ends with a mission score – compiled from the actions and inactions of the group of Nighthunters working it. Eliminating enemies vs. avoiding them contributes to mission score, as well as number of alerts, types of abilities used, damage taken, and so forth.

~ Additionally, depending on the type of mission, the number of Nighthunters deployed differs – some missions will be 4, some might have 6 or more, and some might only need a duo. Every mission type can be accomplished with any mix of Nighthunters – although some might be less-suited to different types versus others. Determining the right mix of hunters to use on a mission, and against the enemies faced off against, is part of the fun of the game.

Nighthunter progression: Each Nighthunter is able to grow in skill over time; the more they are used to complete missions, the more they grow in the effectiveness of their particular skillset. Missions can be replayed and experienced gained, but it features diminishing returns over time – to prevent the player from simply farming old missions to gain the highest skill levels with each Nighthunter before progressing.

Synergies & Relationships: Some Nighthunters naturally work well together on the same battlefield. As a result, individual Nighthunters also have ally scores with each other. The higher these scores, the more their synergies are highlighted and the more effective they work together. In the game’s storyline, conversations are unlocked between characters.

Conclusion: As the player progresses in the game’s storyline, inroads are made in the fight against the underworld, as well as setbacks experienced along the way. The Nighthunters eliminate Supers and take down sects of the shadow orgs making up the underworld, slowly achieving Ghast’s mission and undermining The Keeper’s. In the end, the success of the Nighthunter’s operation will come down to their ability to work together and light the way of darkness.

It’s night. Time to hunt.