As games for the most part have clearly defined player interactions, be they competitive or cooperative, a new project on Kickstarter plays with participants’ self-interests like few games do. OBEY, launched yesterday by its sole developer, Daniel Dez. The game has players interact as helpless bunnies, but it’s much more complex than it looks.
A gigantic tower armed in machine guns looms at the end of the map. Monkey-faced, it has all the tools of destruction it needs: Flamethrowers, rockets, and a menacing light that shines on any bunny it spots. But this tower of power is not controlled by a computer or a player for the entire playthrough. Its controlled by a bunny, and since every player is one, whoever gets to the turret first becomes the one to dictate the flow of the game.
There’s a couple of conditions to know: First of all, the bunnies are completely helpless against the tower which can decimate them in a second. Once spotted, there’s not much they can do, unless they have found cover in the form of a hill or trench. Whenever a new player assumes control of a turret, the remaining bunnies get collars that digitally identify their position for the “turret governor.” The bunnies can take them off, but when they’re on the cross-aim and threatened with death, it may be better to comply. And that’s how the player in power can start to get the bunnies to do the dirty work by using a variety of items present in-game. A bunny can use a flashlight to help the turret spot other bunnies, set invisible mines, build fences, and provide rockets and flamethrower fuel, which the turret by itself cannot supply. Why would the bunnies help the player in power? They can be gifted with money, and well, not shot. It’s not long before temporary alliances, betrayals, and power struggles all start to emerge in OBEY.
The goal is to have the most money, and the most money is earned while sitting in the all-powerful turret. At an opportune moment, a bunny can sneak in to a small door at the base of the turret to oust the current one.
You might be wondering, “how does this really work?” There are two conditions that should be in play for a good game in OBEY: Voice communication and at least four players. As the game stands, it is almost half-way done, and the developer is open to letting YouTubers get in on OBEY play sessions in a build that displays the gameplay propositions described (contact here).
With the Kickstarter campaign, Dez hopes to finish OBEY for late 2015. There are only a few aspects that remain to be finished: Sound and music, an alliance system, destructible environment, AI players, in-game voice-chat, and accessories for bunnies (invisible to the turret, so it can’t identify who is who). Map-making, leaderboards, and achievements are also in talks, depending on the funding and feedback.
Pledgling $15 dollars for OBEY nets a DRM-free copy for Windows, Linux, or Mac. Now, go forth and follow this link in order to check out the details on the Kickstarter for this multiplayer-psychological game, and look for further coverage on IGM as OBEY develops.
Update: Dez reached out to us about a change on the Kickstarter tier rewards for OBEY. Now $11 is a new, lowest tier to get a DRM-free copy and game key for the game.