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When someone else gets there first...

So I’ve had this idea for a game for some time now:

It would basically have been a semi-open-world action-RPG where you prowled the streets of late Victorian London as a sort of vampire-vigalante, feeding on scum and criminals whilst sparing the innocent and avoiding the Police. I thought it would have made a great game, both mechanically and thematically. But there’s just one problem, someone with far more resources, reputation and talent is already making something VERY similar:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampyr_%28video_game%29

It’s almost as if the developers read my mind and ripped many of the ideas right out of it. There are differences, my game would have been set in the 1890s (decade Dracula was published) while theirs takes place in 1918, though this would result in very similar aesthetics, the background of the main character is also significantly different. But the mechanics are virtually identical, as is the art style they seem to be going for, the only difference of substance is that I would have allowed modding.

My question is: should I put the idea out of my mind now that I’ve learned about this other project? I’m not just asking if there’s any risk of getting sued or something, but also if anyone would play my game if I made it if this other one is already out there? Would my own game be judged solely in regards to how it compares to this other one?

personally I don’t think it really matters if 2 similar games are being made at the same time, I mean both COD and BF are similar games but they are both good and both have done very well.

**Setting / Location…
**
You have the flexibility to make different choices… So if you’re able to make a beautiful fictional city (gothic Bioshock-Infinite or whatever), then why not run with that instead??? Still keep London in mind if you need it as a crutch, but create a fictional city… Or use a different location in the UK (Sherwood forest vamps) or different EU city: Prague or Vienna or Venice etc… (Or cities in ‘Interview with…’ etc)

Travel in video games also offers options. How about including the journey from Romania to England or countries in-between…? There are incredibly scenic places everywhere and Romania is no exception either. Take a look at Red Bull Romaniacs off-road motorcycle race on YT! Just don’t limit yourself to London or to a conventional Victorian city, if it will actually trap your imagination or ‘clone the game’!

Style: Have you seen Vampr footage? If they have a seedy foggy industrial Victorian look, then maybe you can go for something cleaner like HG Wells or vice versa. Either way don’t spend a lot of time on actual cinematics until later, but do explore graining / post process effects upfront…

Characters / Traits….
Focus on game mechanics for now and start making those as perfect as possible… What traits will your vamps have? Can they fly? Can they vanish? Can they hypnotize citizens into doing their bidding? What are their vulnerabilities: silver, garlic, coffins??? Didn’t get any of those details from your description and there’s a lots of things to play around with there…

Character traits… Its hard to find any original info on Bram Stoker’s Dracula that’s not already in the public domain. Ireland doesn’t even celebrate him as a writer which is just wrong! But if you can find something unique to your game that films have ignored, then go for it.

What’s the other crowd doing…?
Its possible the competition have already made mistakes. What’s with the tacky title? Venture capital is full of vampires, is Vampr another wannabee startup-app… Tindr for bloodsuckers? :stuck_out_tongue: Not buying it! I wonder if they’ll regret that later when its no longer ‘Kool’ to use misspellings as primary branding. Better to pick something classic, but not overly-long (so watchout for B-movie titles). That aside, this is actually more worrying:

WTF: nanny-state vampires??? :stuck_out_tongue:

Biting restraint is a popular vamp mechanic used in films. It often works because you have real actors / real acting. But its going to be hard to carry that over to a video game without it becoming naff. Imagine COD or BF without any shooting!!! It would be better to bite, but have restrictions or consequences… You bite but then karma harms your in-game partner… You bite but you can only bite certain types of characters or animals or bad guys etc… Otherwise, biting the innocent has consequences, your character quickly morphs into Nosferatu / Dorian Gray monster, and you can’t move as fast or you lose the ability to fly or become invisible, you’re more vulnerable to being hurt / killed etc…

Its up to you, but I feel you should wait until you see Vampr alpha footage before investing huge time on characters. That way you can use the fact that you’re smaller and nimbler as per 'Art of War’. So adapt your character designs later to differentiate your work and never fall in love with your own work until you see theirs etc…

**Overall
**Whatever choices you make, look at the all re-imaginings of Bram Stroker’s story by different directors and producers over the years. This is a story that will never stop being reinvented! It takes a long time to make a game. By the time you actually arrive the game may morph into something else entirely, or have a different look and feel than you originally imagined. So don’t sweat it overall… Ideas are nothing, implementation is everything! Good luck!

I wouldn’t write it off. A lot of people will most likely assume you copied their idea purely by virtue of them having released it first, but you can still make your interpretation different enough to justify its existence and win fans.

I would take your game idea and strip it down to its core features, preserve those but otherwise rebuild it with a different setting and the like. You will retain the essence of your idea, and hopefully will not feel like you’ve had to abandon your idea entirely, but still make it different enough that people could justify owning both titles.

If its any consolation, I had something similar happen to me. I had an idea for a game called Redoubt, which I posted on the UDK forums asking for help with the art side of things. Turns out Epic had a similar idea with Fortnite. Luckily, asides from the core idea, it’s otherwise a very different game, so should I decide to resurrect it one day, it should avoid accusations of being a rip off.

Wow this was all very helpful advice!

I did plan to include travel to other locations around 19th century Europe as part of the story, but most of it would have been set in and around London.

There is a slides teaser and some images on their site:

http://www.vampyr-game.com/

I have to say they do capture almost EXACTLY the kind of look and feel I would have wanted, just a slightly different time-period.

Another (unfinished) project which came close to achieving the kind of atmosphere was CCP’s World of Darkness MMO (though that was set in modern times and an MMO, so completely different genre and setting)

I was thinking of Arkham-style stealth-based game-play; you stalk a group of thugs and pick them off until you recharge enough. That means you would have mostly stealth related mechanics. It’s difficult to tell what kind of game-play exactly Vampyr is going for.

I will actually be curious to see what affect this project has on whatever game Paradox Interactive decides to make with the World of Darkness license. I’ve already read an article comparing Vampyr to the failed MMORPG from CCP, and the whole idea of loosing blood by using vampiric powers sounds a lot like how things worked in Bloodlines.

The problem with “originality” when it comes to vampire stories is that it often is hard to make work, Twilight tried to be “original” but was not well received precisely because it did not conform to the Gothic stereotypes so much vampire fiction before it had. Many of the cliches associated with vampire stories; Byronic heroes, dark streets, Christian religious overtones, Gothic imagery… all just work. People often want to tell vampire stories because they want to paint on exactly that kind of canvas, they don’t want to completely overhaul and revolutionize the genre, rather just tell a story with an aesthetic theme that has been nicely developed and proven to work over many years of story telling.

I don’t want to have to play with the formula too much, because the formula is sound, I just want to tell my own story with it and add my own twists. My worry is that gamers wont understand and crucify me for making a “Vampyr clone” when Vampyr itself is “cloning” other elements of a long-developed genre where “cloning” is what made said genre what it is today.

Well there is no such thing as an “original” idea but variations on a theme that you can back track all the way back to Pong.

The use of the word “clone” was first used when it became obvious when some developer knocked off an already made game and only changed the art to match up with the theme of what is hot and a lot of these “clones” were based on blockbuster movies. A “clone” is the same game mechanics being recycled over and over again with a different paint job.

If you make a game that has the same theme that does not share the same outcome it’s not a clone but a genre that is of interest to may. A good example of what’s hot are games that focuses on telling a story, Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed comes to mind, that if you look closely the mechanics are the same but the story line is different. Overall games based on a genre is a good thing and I love games that tells a story, like Tomb Raider and Assassins Creed.

Another good example

I’m sure there are more than a few around here that remembers the Quake 3 V Unreal Tournament wars with the press going on using words like “Quake Killer” when really if you were/are into FPS genre you owned and played both and both id and Epic benefited from one another by providing quality products. :smiley:

I’ve had the same thing. I wanted to make a Hitman-type game that was episodic, had different animations per disguise, had different approaches to suit different initial load-outs, etc etc. All things that the new game did.

Mind you, I have other things in my game (characters, interactions, weaponry). I’ll just carry on with it, regardless. :slight_smile:

How many space exploration, survival games are there out there, and then FTL came along?

I think it’s important to recognize over-done genres that people are kind of sick of, but not get too concerned when there are other parties invested in your space.

e.g. Everyone is sick of zombie games. They might make a come back in a few years but we’ve seen so many…

Just my thoughts.

Man I remember back in the day when I designed a cover system and active reload system and I was so jazzed bcuz I thought I was one of the first people to design that. Then I played Gears of War which had both and I was like, you gotta be kidding me.