The Flock, Diminishing Returns?

Every video game has some level of obsolescence built-in. No developer expects their game to last forever. Even games like World of Warcraft have an expiry date on them. The Flock, Vogelsaps first-person asymmetrical multiplayer horror game takes this concept and makes a feature of the game out of it.

This is a game with obsolescence at its core. When you die within the game, one is deducted from the flock, once this count drops to zero you’ll never be able to play The Flock again. That’s it, no more Flock no more game.

Although, there is a phase two, that is only available to those with the game already in their Steam library.

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Is this simply a marketing trick to get everyone interested, where Phase two is nothing more than a non-limited version of the game? Have Vogelsap spent time and money developing something that could ultimately have a ridiculously short lifespan? What if large amounts of people bought the game and committed virtual suicide just to deliberately lower the count?

These are all good questions that to me are far more important than what the game is actually about. Although you can read the Press Release below, or visit the official site to find out more information.

I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on this; I am very keen to find out what the deal is.


The Flock

Coming to PC in Q3 2015 with a Depleting In-Game Population, Eventually Never Playable Again

Playable at Gamescom 2015 in the Indie Arena Booth

Vogelsap delivers their first-person asymmetrical multiplayer horror game The Flock to Steam in Q3 2015, in a way that has never been done before.  Time left for people to buy the game depends on the death rate of the players within The Flock.  Developer Vogelsap commits to a hands-off approach and puts the longevity of the game into the player’s hands.

The Flock Screenshot Survival Horror 1With each death in the game, one life will be taken from population.  When the Flock reaches zero, the game will never be purchasable again.  Only players who have The Flock in their Steam library will then be able to partake in the yet to be announced climactic finale.  After the ending, the game will go offline permanently and no longer be playable.

The population countdown will be embedded in the game’s menus, Steam store page, Vogelsap’s website and The Flock‘s sub-Reddit to make sure all gamers are aware of the amount of lives left.

Gamescom attendees will be able to play The Flock in the Indie Arena Booth.

Indie industry luminaries behind Indie Fund such as Ron Carmel, John Graham and Kellee Santiago have provided financial backing to flesh out what started as a student project into a full commercial release.

The Flock are a tragic race as they are doomed to extinction.  The titular abominations are irrevocably attracted to the light of the Artifact which will lead to their death or transformation into a whole other being.  Trying to convey this story into the game as well as the team’s aspiration to find a solution to the anticlimactic ending of multiplayer games, resulted in the idea of the Flock’s population countdown.

“A multiplayer game can take players to incredible heights, but at some point gamers will start to play less, get disinterested and stop playing altogether,” said Jeroen Van Hasselt, creative director, Vogelsap.  “In opposition to other multiplayer games, we want The Flock‘s experience to inspire a sense of awe, to keep players eagerly anticipating what is coming next and to end with a memorable climax.”

Set in the year 3000, an unrecognizable Earth is in ruins.  Centuries of devastating pollution have blocked out the sun, blanketing the planet in darkness.  No longer able to support human life, a horrifying race of monstrous creatures known as the Flock is the world’s new dominant species.  That is, until the emergence of the Carrier.

The Flock Screenshot GameplayEach player begins as a member of the Flock, when a strange light emitting device known as the Light Artifact will suddenly appear somewhere on the map.  The first player who touches the Light Artifact will transform into the Carrier, who then becomes the hunted.

Equipped with the Light Artifact, the Carrier can defeat the Flock by using the Light Artifact to illuminate the creatures.  The Flock can in turn avoid the light’s lethal effects by remaining motionless when caught by the beam.  When a member of the Flock successfully lunges at the Carrier, it seizes control of the Light Artifact and becomes the new humanoid hunted.  The previous Carrier then respawns as a member of the Flock just arriving at the scene.

The only way of winning a match of The Flock is to survive as the Carrier while keeping the light lit or to capture certain objectives.  Objectives can be captured by directing the artifact’s light towards these key points.

About Vogelsap

Vogelsap (Bird juice) is a Dutch indie studio dedicated to developing immersive and tense multiplayer experiences that are unconventional and surprising in every facet, from gameplay to availability.

Established in 2013 by a group of near-reckless ambitious students who had a class project to develop a game, the co-founders selected their most talented and determined class members to complete the team.

Vogelsap has recently moved its offices from school into the Dutch Game Garden, cradle for many successful Dutch indies such as Ronimo, Abbey Games, Game Oven, Digital Dreams and Vlambeer.

Jim Franklin

Jim Franklin

Jim Franklin is a freelance writer, living in Derby UK with his wife. When time allows he likes nothing more than losing himself in a multi-hour gaming session. He likes most games and will play anything but prefers MMO's, and sandbox RPG's.

So what do you think?

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