Theme For a Co-Op Stealth Game

I started thinking potential themes for my co-op proto (ninja is of course pretty cool, but since I’m so in the beginning now it might be a good idea to brainstorm the theme a bit.) Here’s some of the themes that came to my mind:

  • Dogs stealing food
  • Fox(es) stealing chickens, avoiding farmers
  • Supernatural aspects for ninjas: ki powers that help transform the ninjas into animals, appearance of ghosts, and adding other supernatural things.
  • Jailbreak, like escaping from Alcatraz (although this has been done many times – remember the old C64 game where you needed to escape from a nazi camp?)
  • Cavemen: scavenging for food and tools, while avoiding T-Rex and other known animals that always eat human beings. Camp building and things like that.
  • School: kids avoiding teachers, classes, and stuff that kids do. (Not very inspiring to me right now, but I’m listing this idea here anyway)

Any other ideas to add on the list? Comments on these?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. [thief]
    I have thief demo lying somewhere… and now I finally got the idea I think.


    [team play]
    Those are all good ideas.

    Hmm, I wonder if they have a youtube video. Hate checking .avi videos.

    “Subversion is going to be set in a modern High Tech environment, with you taking “mission control” over a team of skilled operatives in a hostile High Security building. You will be using Sabotage, Social Engineering and Grifting, custom Electrical and Mechanical devices, Distractions, Hacking, Stealth, Acrobatics, Precision demolitions, Trickery, whatever gets the job done.”

    Sounds pretty interesting, and probably different from where I’m heading to. Thanks again for this link too.

  2. Thief: Hide your own icon, and have guards watching the place. So first you have to find where it might be, then get rid of the guards, and take care of traps, of course. Do you have Thief playable? I could point you to the mission I’m taking about…

    Commandos: somehwat small maps, but later on, they are larger and even more difficult. Managed to play through until mission 14 or so, couldn’t get the timing right for that one. Haven’t played Commandos 2 yet, maybe maps are larger here.

    Team play: Sounds absolutely good. Maybe team players should each have an area of specific expertise, so one is stronger and the other better with arrows or long range weapons, while another one can find traps more easily? But all players have basic skills in all areas…

    Which reminds me of one of the things that make Thief such a good game. When you play it, you learn how to hide, how to aim and all that. So after a while you become a better Thief, and it’s your very own skill, not determined by some artificial system like in most RPG’s. I like that very much actually.

    Got a hint to Subversion today, which is an upcoming game from the makers of Darwinia etc. Seems that it will be a stealth-tactics game, so it might be interesting to have a look at what they do?

  3. thief – heh, totally lost me now… confused how the multiplayer and teams and stuff works. :) like, how you protet the own icon?

    commandos: good point on multiple characters, that might be one reason. Also one reason might be the fact that in Thief you are free to move to places you want, in a large area. In commandos, you have a relatively small map to complete. (At least in the demo I tested, if I recall correctly)

    team play:
    I’m thinking something like where both player characters could contribute to the stuff needed to get out of the prison, and so that in certain places one guy needs to stay alert while the other tries to find a key from a restricted area…

  4. Thief: Misunderstanding… all teams are enemies for Garrett (who is the last of the white team), so the other teams are all just differently skinned guards, with different properties. This scenario just reminded me so much of multi-player… where the goal is to capture the other team’s icons and protect the own icon.

    Commandos: Maybe you’re right, somehow… it might be the different perspective, or the fact that you control several characters in Commandos vs. only one in Thief.

    Imagine you have to complete your goal without killing or knocking out more than a few guards, then it’s about timing, sneaking to the next dark spot, maybe distract one guard to pass behind another. That kind of gameplay seems quite similar in Thief and Commandos (except for one vs. a few characters). Commandos (apart from perspective) might be a model for team play, somehow.

  5. [thief]
    What’s the goal of each team? How many players there’s in multiplayer? Is there computer AI/NPC?

    In my mind it’s more puzzle than for example Thief. In Thief I have this feeling “am I going to get spotted.. and I even hold my breath”. But in Commandos it was bit more like “guards go there, I go here, solution is like this”. To me it felt a different experience.

    Prison thing indeed works pretty much in any setting. That’s true.

  6. The different teams are in separated locations, seomtimes with only a door or a ladder between them. There’s only one fight between teams which is a scripted event. The story tells that some teams work together against other teams, like silver and black, which explains why they don’t fight when they guard the same place.

    Yep, Commandos is much like a puzzle. But nevertheless I think that if you make a stealth game hard (difficult), you’ll end up with puzzle-like situations… forcing the player to think about viable tactics to get past some guards or traps or whatever.

    Medieval is sort of a pet-peeve for me, but excape from prison or infiltrate a castle can be done in almost any setting. Greek mythology for example, or you find a way into the ancient Rome to find and assassinate Caesar.

  7. I start to like more about that prison escape idea.

    Regarding Thief:
    “I’m playing a mission which has several teams and you steal their respective team icons, with increasing difficulty to find and gather those things.”

    How the stealth aspect works in this? Is it so that each team members need not to get spotted by NPC guards – or do teams interact with each other?

    Regarding Commandos: to me Commandos always felt some sort of puzzle game rather than a stealth game.

    I had forgot Desperados, good point.

    I’m open to hear about medieval setting but since Thief has done that (and I know one other indie team working on medieval stealth game) I feel I’d want to do different. Perhaps.

  8. Just was thinking about Commandos… which is quite close to a MP stealth game, but played as a single player, sometimes with a split screen, because you really need to time your actions with different specialists in different places. Theme is WW2, but the same has been done for Robin Hood and Western (Desperados). Could be great fun in a medieval setting, of course, and the missions are indeed often such as infiltrate some sort of castle (or occupied village) and do some sabotage or kill the leader and escape.

  9. Infiltrating a castle sounds great, as does escaping from a prison. Guess that’s the type of missions I like most in Thief games… currently I’m playing a mission which has several teams and you steal their respective team icons, with increasing difficulty to find and gather those things. The silver team can’t even be knocked out, and you start with no equipment at all, first task being to recover your equipment from the gold team.

  10. @MrK: The Great Escape, damn, I never managed to win the game (I think), but played many many times. It was such a cool game.

    @Sargon: I was under the impression that cavemen hunted them to extinction.

  11. Juuso, didn’t the dinosaurs got extinct long before mammels developed much?

  12. I remember fondly the c64 game The Great Escape.. I vote for a jailbreak theme :)

  13. @mikeful: I had this idea about indians (that’s the correct word?) with tomahawks and stuff… avoiding cowboys/hunting food/stuff.

    Bandits, bandits… what would they be stealthin?

    Heist thing is done in Monaco, so I think I’ll avoid that.

    @Sargon: Cavemen and T-rex co-existed the same time, and T-rex looks just like in Jurassic Park (no feathers). Well known fact. >:) It was the same time when (bon) fire was invented.

    Kids: I don’t know what they do nowadays at school. Play iPhone? :)

    @Andy: Thief-ish? Sounds quite clever.

  14. I don’t think cabeman were living in the time there were T-Rex. I think it’s something games\hollywood made us believe is true. ;P
    I like the kids idea, I don’t recall many games about kids having to avoid teachers. Could be a really fun idea.

  15. Medieval Assasinations

    where you have to infiltrate castles, avoid guards (or dispose of them) and kill the king/lord of the castle.

    Each team member could have a special ability based on weapons from the thief series maybe (eg, grapling hook, water arrow to put lights out, etc…)

  16. There is never too many games with western theme. Maybe bandits trying to steal gold from bank?

    Or modern version with diamond heist and hi-tech security/gadgets.

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