Dutch indie developer Vogelsap wants you to remember its upcoming assumetrical multiplayer game, The Flock, long after you finish playing it.
When The Flock launches for Windows PC, Mac and Linux in a few months, there will be a set player count. Every time someone dies the player count will go down by one, until it eventually hits zero. When it does, the game will be taken offline forever. The length of time The Flock is playable for will therefore rely on players’ skill and ability to stay alive.
Vogelsap says that the number of lives left in the pool will be publicly stated on the game’s Steam page, official website, the game’s menus and the official sub-Reddit, ensuring that there’s no ambiguity about how many lives are left for the community, and that the team has a solution in mind to prevent players from simply killing themselves over and over again in order to make the communal pool run out faster.
Despite being a strictly time-limited game, The Flock isn’t going to be free. How much Vogelsap is intending to charge for it is something that hasn’t been announced yet, though creative director Jeroen van Hasselt hopes that people will be interested enough to pay to be a part of a one-off experience.
And it will be a one-off: when Vogelsap says the game will no longer be available, they’re adamant that they mean it. There won’t be any offline mode, and no additional seasons. Once that pool of lives runs out, that’s your lot.
As a member of The Flock, a dying race of gargoyle-like monsters, your goal is to obtain The Artifact. Take possession of it and you’ll be transformed into The Carrier and become a target for other players eager to take the Artifact from you. Shine the Artifact’s light on a member of the Flock when they’re moving and you’ll kill them, but as most of the game is spent in near-total darkness and you’ll die the moment you’re pounced on, you’re still vulnerable.
Members of the Flock have two more advantages: they can make decoys of themselves, and transform themselves into statues. As a statue, a member of the Flock is immobile, but they can’t be harmed – eerily reminiscent of the creepy Weeping Angels from Doctor Who.
Vogelsap also has a surprise in store for gamers for the ones that still have The Flock in their Steam library. The developer wants to give it a big send off before the game is taken offline, but is keeping the details of that send-off under wraps, planning to make an announcement after release.
Vogelsap’s aim is to create a truly unique multiplayer horror game. The Flock was originally created as a university project, but it’s grown more popular than they had hoped – winning Best Student Game at the 2013 Dutch Game Awards, and being voted Most Promising Game at Casual Connect last year.
Whether The Flock manages to live up to those accolades once it’s released remains to be seen, but it’s certainly one of the more interesting – and ambitious – horror games to be shown this year.