July 20, 2015 5:30 AM | Joel Couture
In games, our conflicts can return with the press of a button. We can call back the eight robot masters of Mega Man 2 or any of the iterations of Bowser any time we choose. Those games, and our enemies in them, are immortal so long as the cartridge reads or the disc doesn't break. But what if there was a counter that slowly ticked down to oblivion with every defeated enemy? One that counted down to a conclusion only a handful of people would ever see before the game faded away, permanently gone? The Flock, a multiplayer horror game where players endlessly seek the light, promises such a finale, where every player death slowly leads to the game's destruction.
The Flock sounds fun on its own as a multiplayer horror experience. Players must constantly vie for ownership of an artifact that sheds light, shining it on objects throughout the game world in order to win. Your enemies, known as The Flock, all want to possess this for themselves, so the other players in the game will attack the light bearer (known as the Carrier) mercilessly and constantly. The Flock are much more acrobatic than the Carrier, so holding the artifact becomes an exercise in paranoia as you watch every surface for an approaching monster. When the Carrier dies, whoever killed it gets the artifact, and the cycle continues. If you catch a member of the Flock with the light and they don't stand still, though, they'll quickly die.
This death wouldn't mean much besides a lost match in most multiplayer games, but The Flock keeps track of the deaths that occur in-game. When enough players die, the game will no longer be available to purchase ever again, coming down from all storefronts. Then, the game will start to count down toward a climactic finish, after which point it will become unplayable, leaving only a handful of players with a gaming tall tale to pass on to others. It's a wild concept, one that will create a genuinely unique experience for the few players who get to partake in it when the game releases in third quarter this year.