First of all, I must say what a delight it is that Max was allowed to announce the return of the finest adversarial challenge ever born to console. Thanks Ubisoft for listening, and Zack Antoine for more interactivity from the start.
This thread is about protecting and insuring the legacy of the SvM experience we know and love. Primarily, I would like us to discuss the solutions to the evolved gameplay style in multiplayer until we know more about how Toronto are approaching this rebirth.
Most significantly, I want to go with the assumption, as I think it is all but inescapable with games being developed under pressure and with a view to consistency of experience, that the two following gameplay elements WILL BE PRESENT IN MULTIPLAYER
So what I want to know is, how can we theorise the game we want, and include these features which I'm certain will be present? Can we make it work to our satisfaction? I'm hoping that through discussion we can inform the devs as to our minimum expectations. There is after all a lot of recovery to do here. In Conviction, adversarial was reduced to one vs. one spy matches, where both could AUTOMATICALLY see in the dark, with no objective aside from killing, and with ALL of the meta-layer of hacking interaction gone. SvM is adored today because to me it represents the deepest action multiplayer experience ever conceived, and my worry now, is that accessibility will only allow us a shadow of the former game, to please the quick-fix crowds.
- Mark and Execute - we need to face it, I think there is no chance this core feature will not again be present in multiplayer as in Conviction.
- Automatic Nightvision - again, much as many of us preferred control, I think this is too large an accessibility change for them to regress.
Here are my favourite parts of SvM which I won't feel has returned to us uncompromised if they are absent:
- THE INTERACTIVITY LAYER - tension building and authentic feeling, to have players interact with their environments was critical to the depth and pressure of the competition. I think this should be extended for both archetypes, so have Spies once again have to observe and respond to the tactical challenge of their environment I.e. Avoid sensors / detection (more varied than powering down cameras or shutting off lasers), actually interact with objectives, again in a more varied way than waiting for a meter to fill. And on the Merc side, having all of this information feed into their awareness was beautiful. I want to see the return of sensors they can place to aid their detection. The Merc side of SvM was one of the most unique experiences you could find online. Having the feeling that you were being attacked by a quick and deadly force, but that the security network around you was your eyes and ears. I want a stronger sense of connection and responsiveness between Merc and his digital fortress. It was amazing to have detection alerts triggering, have one check the cameras (exposing themselves to sabotage) and another rush the objective.
- SHADOWPLAY - no high like it, to slip by a human controlled opponent just by working the shadows.
- CUSTOMIZATION - one thing Conviction enhanced, and being a Ubisoft game, will be improved on in spades I'm sure. I would like to see not only a wardrobe and a tailoring of our gadgets, but ways to make BOTH our Spies and Mercs more distinctively our own. So suit abilities or gadgets all with gameplay effects. Ranking appearance. I know how much that top Merc suit meant to me, and that was only one of three.
- LONGEVITY - with a game this deep, longevity is almost guaranteed. But to support that, I think we have waited long enough to have some evolution of this engagement. I would like to see a richer social level. Ways to see and challenge our friends, perhaps gambling against one another on certain outcomes for the mission. There are lots of other great ideas here. For Maps, I would love if the security elements could be dynamic. So sensor placement would vary, and always change the awareness of a spy rather than it becoming routine. Laser gates say, could spawn on one of three configurations. The maps should be more sophisticated than Conviction's. More layers, more light changes, more air ducts, or usable elements. I also think it would be great to see more of the cinematic developments recently to multiplayer. A fly through of the dynamic map to start? Random spawning from a range of locations for the infiltrators? A cinematic camera to replay the best moments at the finish, or show of the actual avatars when the accolades are listed? More ways for us to see and engage with the development of our hopefully unique characters.
Ways in which all of this hope could disintegrate. I'm sorry to say that after Convictions multiplayer effort, Blacklist is the first in the series, I will be waiting to experience before buying. Too much trust gone. The replay ability of the Deniable Ops was worth the ticket price, but missing competitive was criminal. Now that they've figured out a way to do it justice, and have announced it to us, I'm glad they waited
- MARK N EXECUTE - how will they be integrating this. I think they'll take Conviction's lead and awkwardly not have us able to m&e each othe, but that means the inevitability of a new AI component in the mix., and these, logically, will have to be support for the Mercs. How do you feel that affects the atmosphere and tension and balance? If we can m&e each other, how willl that ever work? Surely a spy would do a handtohand takedown, and then wait until completing an objective, to execute any approaching Mercs. I just can't see the balance working. If it is to be only for the AI, then will their presence make the spy's task too obstructed? I don't know that they would. If anything I felt 2 vs. 2 to be a little too lonely at times. If m&e is in, can it be sparing, harder to earn, and reward with a slow motion killcam calling out both players gamer tags?
- MAPS - maps in SvM need to be living entities. They are fortresses, alive and aware. I think for them to survive, they need limitless pathings, and dynamic elements to challenge and surprise the spies. EDIT : just thought some more on this, and realised how great it could be if each map were a key secure site on a map, and each map had its own stats and identity. So high/low security, high/low guard presence, and then the value of the data, maybe even high/low encryption. All of these elements could be dynamic to keep the playlist feeling fresh. So you might target a high security facility for a challenge if the reward was higher, and likewise as a Merc you might defend where the AI are stronger today as you want an easier time, or there are rewards for keeping more of the human detail alive? Also they could show user ratings. So times hacked today. Favourite objectives. Mini leader boards for each location? All would suit the airborne base where we access our missions..
- INTEL - that they are leaving this layer out for ease. It will be run and gun action acrobatics, with a Merc with a single weapon, endless neck snapping AI, and no patience required. If it is a third person action experience with stealth elements, then it is no different to uncharted or ghost recon. It is these additional layers of sophistication which make it SC. Conviction denied a lot of this information level, to return to form, I hope they have catered to the hardcore. I got trained how to play SvM by great players, and no it wasn't easy to learn, but kept me thrilled. A similar way for veteran players to introduce novices is all it needs not to have to compromise the core game into a samey accessible shooter.
Thanks for listening everyone. Zack, keep the channels open, so that what you're reviving isn't some Frankenstein that nobody expected.