The Ultimate Video Game – Later Levels Question of the Month Results, February 2019

Welcome!

Friends! Romans! Countrymen!

… and all people from the wide world of the blogosphere, welcome to February’s wrap-up post for the Question of the Month: Year of the Ultimate Video Game.

As you might know, we’ve shaken up the format of QOTM this year, and in short our aim is to create a different element of an awesomesauce blogger-made video game each month, until at the end of the year we have one Megazord crowdsourced ultimate game of all time. (We’re not currently planning to actually make the game, but who knows what might happen?!)

For a little more context, see the initial announcement here, and last month’s results post here (there’s some more info on the format therein).

Entries This Month

This month, we asked the community to devise a protagonist for the Ultimate Video Game! Last month, Hundstrasse emerged victorious by coming up with the Ultimate Setting: an ancient spaceship, forgotten in the wide emptiness of space, filled with a bizarre ocean ecosystem. We picked this one because we thought it was really unique but also had huge potential for all sorts of different and unique ideas to flesh it out further.

The protagonist, then, had to be similarly memorable and interesting but maintain the possibility for future months’ entries to take new and exciting tangents. The winner, of course, gets bragging rights and the knowledge that their entry will form part of the Greatest Game That Might Ever Be Made Or Not Made – plus entry to the judging panel’s Discord server and a shiny badge for their blog if they’d like one.

Hundstrasse and I, despite being ineligible to win due to already being on the panel (we still think we’ll only allow previous winners to win again if there are no non-winner entries), both came up with our own ideas just for the fun of it.

I suggested an adorable little robot, while Hundstrasse’s concept needs to be read in full, really. Like his setting, his protagonist idea is presented in what’s basically a short story all of its own, and it’s really rather good!

Other than us boring judging lot, we had three entries overall.

Kate from Musings of a Nitpicking Girl decided to expand on her own, very cool, setting concept from January – I hope she’s going to keep developing a world all of her own, and perhaps by the end of the year we’ll have both our crowdsourced Ultimate Video Game and Kate’s fascinating IT-room mystery!

We then had Nana Marfo with another robot concept! I was pretty stoked to see somebody else investigating the robot-in-space idea: Nana’s robot is well-equipped to survive the difficult conditions of not only space, not only an ocean, but an ocean in space, and there’s some great thoughts in Nana’s post as to what kind of themes this protagonist might allow the game to explore.

It was a tight month: votes were initially swaying in favour of Nana’s robot, when suddenly! a friendly and wise judge swooped in and made a rather good argument in favour of the submission which became our overall winner. We thought the robot was a great concept just because it would be able to survive this strange setting and could be open for all sorts of plot and gameplay elements – there was some great discussion about the kinds of game that we immediately associated with each submission, and whether the winner should be the one that had a clearer vision or the one that left more possibilities open for future months to explore.

The Winner of Greatest Victory

Ultimately, our winner was decided by Ian (he of Adventure Rules) making the great point that this character concept could be really thematically consistent with the strongest things about the setting: the untold mysteries that could lie within.

As such, our winner is Brandon from That Green Dude with the space detective concept! The setting’s so very mysterious that a protagonist with the skills to investigate seems to be a great fit – and there are still a lot of things left open like what those mysteries might be revealed to be and what the gameplay might involve. Brandon has a few ideas in his post about the directions this could take, but future submissions don’t have to stick to the letter of this month’s entry. As long as it’s an ocean in a spaceship and a detective, we’re happy bunnies.

Brandon does specify, though, that he wants the player to be able to pick either a male or female detective, and we think we’re gonna say that that’s going to be an element of the Ultimate Video Game. It allows for slightly different content to be unlocked, Dishonored 2-style, depending on which character the player picks. That said, how the gender of the character affects things is still something that future entries can shape for themselves! Personally I’d like to see the female detective be the combat-proficient one and the male one be the stealthier one, just because it’s always fun to turn a trope on its head, but perhaps you can come up with an even more interesting way to create branching paths for our two protagonists.

Ultimately, we just think the idea of ‘space detective’ has so much broadness in its potential that it opens up all our future elements to some really interesting and varied possibilities. And that’s what we want!

That’s all, folks!

There we are, then! The Ultimate Video Game now has its setting and its protagonist. We’re beginning to see the shape of this unique game take form, but there’s still a lot of scope for unique ideas to put their own spin on this. For future submissions, we want to stress that you should forget all your preconceptions about any of the ‘usual’ tropes that accompany space stories or detective ones, and keep taking these broad strokes in new and interesting directions.

Your idea could be the next winning submission, so check out Later Levels very soon for March’s element of the Greatest Video Game Ever To Never Exist.

Peace.

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