James Portnow's Game Design Challenge is an exercise in becoming a game developer, asking you to look at games in a new way -- from the perspective of a game creator, producer, marketer, businessperson, and so forth.
Each Wednesday I'll propose a design question. You'll have one week to answer it (see below for how to submit your answers). The following week, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted along with some commentary.
Design a World War II shooter game.
Your lead designer comes into your cube and collapses on your beanbag.
"We need to think of something quick," he says. "We have to pitch a World War II shooter to corporate in a week, and if they don't like our pitch," he pauses, "we have to make My Little Pony Ice Cream Birthday Extravaganza for the DS." A moan the likes of which can only come from a man who sees his soul departing issues from between your lead designer's lips before he continues:
"Here's what I know. They want something new. They want to revitalize the World War II genre, but they don't want anything tacky. Vampires and zombies are going to be a hard sell (though if it's good enough, we might just do it). They are also concerned about budget. If we can find tricks to cut costs, we'll stand a much better chance. They already have a license for the Unreal engine and want to put it to work making a shooter, but all that really means to us is that the camera has to be first-person or Gears of War style third-person perspective (though the latter option is more expensive). Got any thoughts?"
Kick this one around with the other designers on the forums. (And there's nothing stopping you from forming teams via the forums and putting together a collective submission.) If you fail, you will be designing pony ice cream eating mechanics. When you're ready to submit your proposal to corporate, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Design Challenge: WWII."
Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, May 14, 5 p.m. PDT. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title. Please try to keep your answers to 500 words or fewer -- unless they're really good!
The responses for this challenge will appear the week of May 19, 2008.
The next Design Challenge question will be posted Wednesday, May 14, 2008.
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