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The Flock dev: It's better to self-destruct than fade away

"Most indie multiplayer games lose their player base within a year...We want to tackle that problem, and make sure The Flock ends with a climax after which the game will be fondly remembered."
"Most indie multiplayer games lose their player base within a year...We want to tackle that problem, and make sure The Flock ends with a climax after which the game will be fondly remembered."

- Vogelsap explains why its upcoming game's self-destruction system is more than just a marketing gimmick.

Dutch student developer Vogelsap is promising to launch its debut game The Flock with a unique mechanic: when enough players die, the game will be shut down and delisted from Steam forever.

"We always had this story that the Flock are a tragic race that is doomed to extinction," Vogelsap chief Jeroen van Hasselt told Gamasutra last month. "During development we had several ideas about how to convey that story into multiplayer. It was only when we tried to come up with a solution for a multiplayer games' often anticlimactic ending that both ideas clicked."

Today Vogelsap shed light on yet another reason for the unique mechanic: it doesn't believe most indie multiplayer games are successful enough to warrant being kept up for more than a year, especially not an asymmetrical multiplayer horror game like The Flock. Moreover, the studio seems to believe that keeping the game online indefinitely would directly counteract Vogelsap's goal of making a tense, terrifying experience.

"The things that we think makes our game special won’t last forever. At some point the game will stop being scary, immersive or unconventional, whereas competitiveness lasts forever," reads a new FAQ about the population mechanic published by Vogelsap. " You can’t keep playing a horror game forever, but it doesn’t mean the game has no right to exist."

The studio lays out a plan to launch The Flock later this year with a population count set to 215,358,979 lives; every time a player "dies" in a match, that count will tick down by one. When it hits zero, sale of the game will end and anyone who owns it will be able to take part in some sort of finale event.

For more on why Vogelsap is taking this path and how it plans to deal with potential challenges (like cheaters and refund seekers), check out the full FAQ.

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