Stealth & Spotting

How important to you in a stealth game, is the phase after you’re spotted? Do you think a stealth game should ever give you an instant game over if you’re spotted? Monaco is really the only game to satisfy me, with it’s gameplay, after you’re spotted. In other games, I prefer to restart afterwards.

Honestly, I think most stealth games should have decent checkpoints and european extreme mode as an option. I’ve come up with several ideas for alternate ways to build stealth games without the running away portion because that portion isn’t very fun in any game except Monaco, which focused its whole system around that component of the game, to great effect.

Some ideas include, a fast forward button (someone on here suggested that), a time rewind similar to Prince of Persia, with limited stocks of rewind that function as your health effectively, locking off the way(s) forward until alerts clear, or having “stealth health” that you lose every time you get directly spotted, and maybe you flash invincible for a bit, and the guards continue patrolling in investigation mode, or time could stop, allowing you to move out of their line of sight, or you could just be shunted to the side where they can’t see you. Maybe guards could have vision attacks that have differently sized vision cones and deal more stealth health damage? Obviously that last idea is pretty ridiculous in terms of theme or setting, unless you’re fighting medusa I guess, but it could be a good game dynamic.

Ideally a good stealth game has an interesting patrol phase, an interesting investigation phase, and an interesting escape phase, but no game has quite come together on all of those, so a way simpler solution is, cut out the escape phase.

Some more notes from another file I’ve been working on include: How can clearing phases be made more interesting? How do you force people to pick good hiding spots, then move from them regularly? How do you give people options when they’re cornered? How do you give people options to get the guards to not look where you are currently hiding versus the other hiding spots in the room? Rather, how do you make selecting a good hiding spot a fuzzy heuristic evaluation instead of a binary right or wrong?

Does most of the enjoyment you derive from stealth games, come from self imposed challenges?

I usually get more enjoyment from stealth games when I don’t need a self imposed challenge, when the checkpoints are well regulated, when getting seen is a clean death/reset or a fun getaway.

In Thief 1, I can easily run away from guards, way more easily than actually trying to stealth.

In Dishonored, I can kill everything without effort on the highest difficulty, so I don’t really need to stealth.

Mark of the Ninja, I generally enjoy it more when I try to play each area in the trickiest way possible. NG+ keeps the difficulty at a reasonable level and it’s pretty well checkpointed. I enjoy the game most when I limit myself to bamboo darts and caltrops only. I think MOTN does pretty well without self-imposed rules though.

Deus Ex HR, I like speedrunning it stealthily. I’m sad the speedrun route isn’t very stealthy anymore.

Monaco I don’t need to do anything.

But yeah, usually I feel like I need to impose either ghost rules on myself or do some other measure to enjoy the game and that’s kind of a niggling frustration. I don’t really like getting caught and being able to just say, “fuck it, I’m killing everything and achieving the objective” or having to savescum because I need to pick up a billion tiny trinkets that are a pain to redo every checkpoint load (Thief needs this unfortunately, it’s a source of challenge to get something and get out, so my proposed fix is loot-boxes that are persistent across deaths, so you need to get in, steal, get out, deposit to lootbox, which are spaced throughout the level, so you can have real checkpoints and die without needing to recollect too much shit).

I’d like for the game to just enforce the best ruleset without me needing to manually impose it.

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