Lonely Co-Op

I’ve been thinking about Shared Experiences lately as a variation to the standard type of co-op that players expect in games.

I had a cat that always followed me from room to room, just to park himself down nearby. Occasionally he’d jump up on my desk to get himself noticed for attention, but most of the time he was comfortable just being nearby, doing his own thing. As soon as I walked to another room, he’d follow along.

My online friends are like that now. They seem happy to be within the same game world, but not necessarily on the same quests or tasks or level or whatever. Just nearby. Maybe in the same location, maybe just somewhere else within the same game. Enough of a shared experience to make it a water-cooler experience and to feel like the game-world is alive.

I wonder if that’s more natural?

When I think of the way people behave within co-op games, even amongst close friends or games that require close cooperation (IE: Left4Dead) there’s an urge to be the cowboy. To be together, but also to choose your own path, your own targets– Your own agency.

I’m going to try a gameplay experiment with OBSCURON where players will interact directly with a shared environment, but less directly with each other.

(Feel free to comment via Rog's G+ post: lonely-co-op)