What's next for Otherside?


#1

So, I had a couple bad ideas recently (and the best way to have a bad idea is to have lots of ideas, fyi), and debated posting them, but I wanted to check in to see what was next for the Otherside team.

Also, I would like to open this thread to public opinion–what type of game would YOU like to see Otherside make?

One of my thoughts was a “Survival Stealth” game, which is a hybrid between survival horror, but with stealth mechanics.

Or how about a blobber where each individual party member is controlled in co-op by an online player? Such a game would require mic support, however, so you could coordinate strategies.

What are you thoughts? This thread is open to the public.


#2

What a great question!

I assume we’re talking about OtherSide Boston, rather than OtherSide Austin. That said, some possibilities I’d love to hear announced (in no particular order of awesome):

  • One City Block (do it! DO EEEEET!)

  • New First-Person Sneaker IP (everything in UA points this way)

  • “John Carter of Mars” (at some point someone has to make this)

  • Living World (why not world-simulation fun?)

  • Collaboration with Marc Miller on a Traveller CRPG (I can’t even describe how much I’d like this)


#3

I’ve mentioned it before, but an open-world sandbox based on Dune would be prime material. It even has built-in classes, like Mentat Assassin. And yes, I mean Otherside Boston.


#4

OCB really does need to be done, just to get it out of his system and so people will stop talking about it :stuck_out_tongue:


#5

And so that implementations by random indies can no longer be described as “well, obviously not true OCB…” :smiley:


#6

Ok, get your collective groan headgear into position…

A true Underworld game …i’m deadly serious.

Find a backup copy of the first playable build and source code, and go from there. First person you stumble across…an NPC detailing the brief life and death of Aelita, and the permanent demise of Cabirus. Note, this is only semi ironic.

Possible game titles?

‘Underworld Revisited’… Or ‘Underworld Redemption’ if you like easy schadenfreude…or, errr, ‘undermilkworld’…


#7

THICK AS THIEVES

Space Nugget posted this at the RPGCodex.
https://trademark.trademarkia.com/thick-as-thieves-88046652.html

Sounds kinda youthful to me, I was hoping for something a little more serious.


#8

Hmm… maybe after Underworld Ascendant, complete with Cabirus barking at us and Typhon growling at us and UU grognards griping at everybody (including each other), OtherSide ought to do something where they get to have some fun.

TOON? Give us a Tex Avery world!

Paranoia? Making The Computer fun and clever in responding to player backstabbery would be a great CRPG design challenge.

Or how about some new IP? What about a solid stealth game where you have to steal ever-more-ludicrous objects? How about a god game where it’s your job to repair the damage a bunch of bickering deities do to the mortal world? Silverlock the Computer Game, full of characters from books whose copyright has expired (thank you, Sonny Bono)? Something even weirder, and a bit simpler than UA, to let OtherSide get that taste out of their mouths as quickly as possible?

I’m down for a next game that’s less continuously epic.


#9

This is a great thread, we love to hear from you guys the kinds of games you want to see made. I have a few questions:
[ul]
[li]Should we do a new, original IP to balance out that our other two franchises (Underworld and System Shock)? Or find another existing franchise to work with?[/li]
[li]Should we explore doing more traditional remakes of the original Ultima Underworld games? I ask that mainly because my sense if that people would love to see it–to be clear, I’m talking about likely modest team size and budget, sticking very much true to the original games and just bringing them forward tech-wise 25 years or so . . . (maybe we could add the bit about Typhon, Aelita and Cabirus, lol)[/li]
[li]Single player or co-op multiplayer?[/li]
[/ul]


#10

I think you should do an entirely new IP. That way no one can criticize you for being “untrue” to fans of the original games, and you get the creativity flexibility to create a game to your measures.

A good rule of thumb to ask yourself as a developer is, “Would I enjoy this feature if I were a player?” Then you’ll know which features to cut, and which are obtuse and ungainly.


#11

I think a brand new IP would be the way to go forward. Set the scope reasonable for your budget but I would love to see something similar to the thief series from you guys. I know the story of Garrett has already been told but the world of medieval steampunk is so varied, open and untapped I feel there could be lots of angles to explore within there.

In terms of that market it’s really untapped too, the best we’ve gotten was Dishonored really and that’s been shelved now too. Stealth games seem to be a bit of a dying breed in terms of AAA interest but when done right it can draw in large enough crowds of gamers.

I guess what I’m hoping for is a new first person stealther from you guys as in the gaming world it’s really lacking right now.


#12

Sorry to grognard but I say play to the original strengths…there is a fairly large market to be tapped for re-doing UU, UI and all, the works ;). Or, an approximation, but keeping every mechanic present in the original.

We know this because of the numbers who expressed initial interest, and the scale of the disappointment in the reaction, and the nature of that disappointment with UA. Think of it as a (dis)satisfaction survey that gave you a lot of info, pointed mostly in the same direction.

Even just (just!) re-treading UU would sell well, if you stuck to it faithfully, warts and all. The story, the dialog, the mystery, the sleep, the water - it’s all there. It could also re-establish the franchise on a proper footing (licensing issues permitting) to the point where the chops would be there for a true sequel of sorts.
Or, as above, riff a little on design, but never to the point of water arrows etc

Personally, I think new IPs sound more enticing than they are often are in reality, because there’s so much spadework, and you’re back in a world of budgetary competition and no recognition for the IP. Why both when you have the existing titles you do? They are your gold, as good as it gets.

Otherside are premised on a number of known games which boil down to 2 - 4 ‘brands’ essentially, so you should use the heft associated with that, and those you now have rights to. WHy dilute and go hunting now, especially on a limited budget? PLus, you get to the check the ‘unfinished business’ box with UU.

A tight re-imagining of UU, or thereabouts, might also restore wider faith.

I’d actually put my money where my mouth is on this (though I know KS is now strictly out of favour) and be quite happy to test and get properly involved. I’m sure other old hands on the forum would too.

Single-player, definitely. That is what you are known for,and these games are all about.


#13

That’s not far from what I’m imagining, though I would hardly shove it in Otherside’s face to do another stealther if their heart is elsewhere. Someone on the forums had the novel idea of a vampire stealther where would you could turn into a bat or a fog to escape. A shapeshifting game where you use your powers to solve challenges isn’t the worst ideas. Personally, I find it pretty enticing.

My own vision of a stealth game would be a stealth/parkour game with a lot of vertical movement. The Styx games do this, but the platforming and action is third-person–first person platforming really doesn’t get enough love.

Also, I would propose an artifact & equipment system, something RPG-lite, where you can collect artifacts with different powers to help you along your way, or find items that grant bonuses or talents, such as being able to walk quietly over ground with boots of stealth, or climb walls with climbing gloves like in Thief 3. That’s not to say rope arrows weren’t better, I am just making examples of the types of items the player might be able to find and equip, each opening up new areas to explore in a semi-open, but gated, world-fashion.

If I were to make this game, I would also make it weaponless. Okay, maybe a blackjack, but you get the idea. The new thing is survival horror with stealth elements, and I would very much like to see Otherside make a “survival stealth” game, where you have to avoid horrors while plundering ancient tombs, castles, and crypts for riches or what-have-you.

Also entertaining the idea of a stealther with crowd-control functioning as an active part of the stealth systems. For instance, being able to don disguises to infiltrate off-limits areas, as with the Hitman series.

That’s all for now. Keep this ideas rolling!

P.S: A resounding YES to co-op! And maybe even a guards vs. thieves mode if the idea I’ve outlined interests you.


#14

I’ve already put in more than my two cents (and Flug, for the record, I count myself as an old grognard :smiley: ), but y’all have sparked some more Thoughts I’m Sure Everyone Wants To Read.

The main thing for me is for you folks at OSE to do something you can all enjoy. You started as you had to; you endured the long march through the necessary first product. You built the studio, the team, the processes, the pipelines. I would counsel doing something now that’s smaller in scope in which you can all find something satisfying – something you can enjoy working on with a lower cost (and risk).

At worst, you get a nice little game knocked out pretty quickly. (OK, that’s not really the absolute worst possible outcome, but work with me here.) At best, you get lucky and it’s one of those projects that just clicks and becomes more than the sum of its parts. Either way, you had some fun, you recharged the batteries at a relatively low cost, you got a new revenue source, and your third project gets to build on a success.

So if what y’all do next manages all that, it’s fine with me whatever it is, even if it’s stuff I personally don’t care to play, such as platformers, bullet-hells, timed-survival-roguelikes, or anything multiplayer (including co-op). What I might enjoy could be a puzzle game, or a production game in the Zachtronics style. What would an OtherSide spin on visual novels look like? Or how about a combinatorial-construction game, where the goal is to comprehend the simple but interacting rules behind a complex-appearing universe – it’s always annoyed me that “crafting” in MMORPGs just means using brute persistence to win a mass-production game, and there’s nothing of “craft” or “craftiness” to it to reward perceptiveness.

That’s just me, though. As long as it’s something you (OSE) can get excited about doing, I support you doing it.


#15

I agree with FlatFingers. Make the game you would like to play.


#16

Not to be awkward, but I’m against any more stealth games for the simple reason that they tend to have to bend everything around that mechanic.

In fact, I’m against any single idea that dominates a game, be it stealth, shape-shift, dream-world, whatever.

The great games that came out of the original studio/s were games: they had a balance of elements, a whole imagined world (created or implied) and a story. It sound so simple.

But if we look at UU we find survival, food and drink, fire, light, sleep, running water, NPCs and conversation, a detailed back-story, a realised world with progression, developmental stages, key twists, skills, magic, flying, re-birth,and asimple redemptive arc. It goes on and on (and we haven’t even mention unobtrsive Newtonian physics that work almost flawlessly, and a work of art for the UI).

I think that ideas are almost the last thing you want for a company and a game-style that was defined by its debts to older established play-styles, but married to cutting edge technology and a willingness to experiment around coreconcepts. This is not a purist-snobbery nostalgia fest, just recognition of what was already done. It was variety, essentially, within a pre-existing world.

I know everyone’s exhausted and bored to death of UU discussion just now, but unfinished business…

As for the enjoyment factor, well yeah, but that also comes from doing something cleanly, and with a clear head and sane goals, with realistic expectations.


#17

Flug, I think you’ve put your finger on a critical question: should the Next Game be a generalist’s playground, or should it pick a particular mechanic and rings lots of changes on that?

If time and money were no object, I would absolutely go for the Do Everything option. Seriously, it is not possible for me to describe how much I’d love OSE to implement my Living World idea, or collaborate with Marc Miller on a new Traveller CRPG, or build some other game where individual choices add up to important large-scale questions.

But if time and/or money are limited, then maybe a game that rings some fun changes on one particular mechanic is the right way to go.


#18

Make the game I want to play. :stuck_out_tongue:

Working with an old franchise is essentially like lowering an enormous grand piano out of a skyscraper
the best result you can get in the end is that you didn’t crush any bystanders and didn’t break the piano.

I guess that’s great if you want to be trusted to move other peoples pianos all day everyday for the rest of your life.

I know if I was tasked with creating a new IP I’d want to create a World-IP like Thief had with its city rather then a narrow one which is where I think both Underworld and System Shock fall victim. I look at the City as a macro setting (Star Wars) which allows for a really large number of micro settings (Genres/Aesthetics) for each level and each game.

Give yourself some room to explore.
DO NOT ADD fucking time travel to a non-time travel based macro-setting!!!
I like this interview with Terri Brosius and Dan Thron https://youtu.be/Er3WkWVs66A?t=1736
somewhere around 27:09 or 28:56 they start talking about source material influence.

What I’m looking for is what I’ll always be looking for:
Give me a world of Darkness, Strangeness and Beauty
Give me the covers of magazines like Creepy/Eerie/Heavy Metal (My Pinterest Addiction)
Give me the rustic world I’ll never know: Rough hewn wood shutters, witches, ferocious animals and foliage,
labyrinthine alleyways leading to misty skyline vistas.

Don’t give me:
Zany Curb your Enthusiasm/Monk bullshit
Superheros I don’t know or want to know wtf Thanos did!! (How the hell did Blade Runner 2049 tank?)
Drugs I don’t know why thi4f thought it was a good idea to plaster poppies and golden syringes all over its game in the midst of a heroin epidemic, but that’s not the kind of macabre I’m after.


#19

Uninterested in a remake: we’ve played those plots, we know the stories, and fans have already remade them with modern tech. An indie house wouldn’t do any better than has already been done, and could be taken as dumping on the work of those fans.

A sequel, “sticking very much true to the original games and just bringing them forward tech-wise 25 years or so”, is what I think most people hoped UA was, so obviously would have a great market among us.

Basically just as if it were a standalone DLC for the original Underworlds, that added a new story, characters, puzzles, quests, and map. Literally the only things that’d need “modernizing” are; 2D billboards replaced by 3D characters; grid-based map replaced by kit-piece map; viewscreen enlarged while still keeping the UI as faithful to the original as possible. Anything beyond that would likely be a step too far. “Ditching” anything from the originals would be ill-advised, whether it’s dialog trees, bag-in-bag inventory, weapon repair, lockpicking, object interaction within the inventory…

I think that would be a game for a different team, though: one interested in complex scripted social interactions and worldwide repercussions, rather than dynamically generated player/physics interactions.

For this team? I’d play to their strengths. Original or existing, doesn’t matter: Thief-likes, System-Shock-likes. There’re few companies better placed for a great one-city-block style game. Procedural game generation from the physics engine means small-grained events. You can’t do anything in UA that will still affect you if you leave the level, and most physics events are limited to a few minutes’ interval in a location small enough you could escape by running three seconds. That’s no good for an Underworld successor, but for a stealth-em’up, it’s the strength to build on.


#20

That would be my take. Keep it simple for the next project. UU3 was overambitious given team size and game scope.