There’s also the possibility that we might never know the answer, since “not even sure it will work” means what it says.
Which is likely a large part of why they haven’t gone the kickstarter route of telling everyone everything about it, and are instead developing the sensible way, without revealing stuff before it’s baked.
Most of the areas less trodden that I can think of in game design relate to NPC AI. Shodan is certainly one where the AI could be played with, but in general, as a bad guy, Shodan would not be present: rather, off in the shadows, working the strings.
Instead, there is a plethora of other enemies: robots, cyborgs, mutants, et al.
My dream for NPC AI is to have it realistic: not just fight or flee, but a far more complex and nuanced system of decaying levels of aggression, with many mechanisms to de-escalate, including natural decay; combined with every beating or death having repercussions. But that’s not likely to happen (not be at all acceptable to players) in a SS sequel.
But what about an AI where it is assumed that most mobs can inter-communicate at all times, because they’re robots/cyborgs, and are on a network? They would not all bum-rush you, but also wouldn’t stand in convenient groups of three separated by just slightly more than their own aggro-radius. They would instead set up co-ordinated attacks, use flanking and surrounding and ambushing maneuvers, attacking to drive you forward into a trap, or if you attacked them, pulling back towards an ambush.
Unfortunately, done right, even the weakest fully-coordinated defenders would obliterate the player, so again that might not be acceptable to players.
How’s about having systems actually hackable? Like, you would need to do legitimate hacking on computers, real rewiring of circuitboards to bypass security, disarm bombs, and so on?I know of many hacking games, but none who’ve actually done it right.
But I think the most likely is that it’s an incremental move in the direction of immersive simulation. Extra levels of freedom in some way. Other than having the structure of the level completely destroyable/modifiable by the player, though, I can’t see anything that hasn’t already been done in that space. Perhaps, a more complex web of interactions and repercussions of the player’s emergent actions?