A Way to Redemption - Game Design Document

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A Way To Redemption is a turn-based strategy with tactical clashes shown in the isometric view. The player leads a new organization fighting for control of a fictitious country with a ruthless dictator who rules over the majority of the territory. Losses in combat and decisions taken during the story affect the ending, how the society will perceive player after the effective takeover of power. Along with the random skills and behaviors of opponents in battles, it results in a high potential for replayability - after a negative end, in the next try enemy will be the previous protagonist.

Every save slot will have a new fictitious country with randomly generated borders so that the player could imagine that the struggle for power takes place simultaneously around the globe.

Genres: Strategic, Turn-Based, Tactics, Science Fiction, Alternative History, Mech

Universe

The action takes place in the alternative history of mankind in the early 90s, in which the majority of the population worship God, which was rise from a man in the accident during the military experiment. He stayed on earth for six years since his first appearance, making impossible activities for an ordinary man and after disappeared without a word.

The story starts on January 1, 1980. After the new year celebration in the military facility, scientist suffered an accident as a result of which got the power to manipulate matter. Public opinion quickly called him the New God. He could not be killed and at the same time, he could disintegrate everything that stood in his way. Cults of the New God began to appear all around the world.

He has repeatedly publicly condemned all kinds of conflicts and weapons of mass destruction. Once during a speech at the UN he threatened that if humanity does not stop using chemical, biological and destructive weapons, then he would stop it. Shortly after this announcement, for example, he changed into ruins all government buildings of the African country, whose president laughed at these words. As an alternative in the worst moments of crises, he proposed legalizing duels far from the civilian population, praising the honor of this idea. He disappeared on January 1, 1986, without a word and nobody knew why.

A year later, on January 1, 1987, in the capitals of the 20 most-influential countries in the world, colossal monsters came out of the earth, the last of which was defeated only 6 months later. They have beaten thanks to the creation of mechs, huge humanoid robots guided by the pilots from inside. Their creation was possible only thanks to the earlier contribution of Modern God to the development of engineering and the efficient use of energy. All over the world, they began to be mass-produced and improved, fearing that more beasts could appear again in the future.

January 1, 1988, a certain percentage of the population gain powers denying physics and human biology that ruined social order on all continents. It had become common to think that annoyed by people New God puts humanity to tests. Throughout the world, religious cults gained a huge number of followers, starting to establish even more churches and write new laws.

During the following years, the world had plunged in countless wars resulting in a continuous change of state borders, zones of influence and distribution of forces on the international arena.

The new game always starts on January 1, 1991.

A ways to present the plot and order of events

At the beginning of each try player will:

Every other unit has a randomly generated portrait and name.

Protagonist: The boss of the new organization, who does not want to accept the new looks of the country, thus creating a new power to take over land to rule better.

After a bad ending he becomes the antagonist of the player in the next try at the same slot. Lack of his clearly outlined person and the organization he is directing means that even after a few adventures ended negatively, thanks to the plot replay will make sense. In addition to the name and appearance, the units of the Protagonist will also be copied so that he can meet them again in the fight, but as opponents.

Many player profiles can be created in the game.

There is an unlimited number of game slots per player profile, each corresponding to one country with a generated name and flag.

The default antagonist: the dictator, whom we get to know in the first advertisement of the game, a fanatic who believes that the pathetic nature of people deserves contempt and a new way of rule, that the New God left the earth because of it. He will allow everything to accomplish his goals, commit bloody suppression of protests, kidnap families of unfavorable politicians, shut down innocent people in prisons. He gained power by blowing up the parliament with most of the government on 1 January 1989. The game begins on January 1, 1990, and lasts a year so that the next game start had the same iconic date - January 1. He appears only in the first named country, in every other new is generated.

The story would be told mostly in two ways. The propaganda ads to the nation’s coming from both protagonist and antagonist organization, which would use characters present in the game and effects of the mission. Praising the sacrifices of soldiers and their courage would strongly contrast with their behavior and experienced pain on the battlefield. The second would be the dialogue of side characters on different occasions. Player’s actions would be commented on by three advisors: economic, military and social. He would also receive tips from them. Soldiers and ordinary people would be involved in conversations too, showing how many lives depend on the player’s actions.

The country in which the action takes place is divided into twelve fragments and has a randomly generated shape. The player starts in one of them with a base. To unlock the final battle against the antagonist, the player will have to control all twelve provinces. Each of them will consist of two to four missions, which will have to be won.

For each region after conquering the player will have to decide what to do with the current governor. Whether to keep him as an ally, punish him with imprisonment or death. Each of them would have a history that would be the basis of the sentence. A player teaming up with the person responsible for the massacre on civilians or killing one earlier compelled by blackmail for human cooperation would have a bad opinion among his own subordinates and in the newspapers. These decisions would influence the number of raw materials and people deliver from the province or the possibility of rebellion.

The final battle with the antagonist will take place in the open field. The antagonist seeing his unavoidable defeat throws the last challenge in which the power over the country will be at stake, the last resort, the history of which will spread throughout the country. The biggest fight, with the most units on the board during the whole game. Before the fight, the opponent’s army will sing their national anthem.

There will be four endings and they will be conditioned by two things:

By default, the player in the first adventure would not perceive this as something that can result in a bad ending because of the habits from other games, that soldiers are an infinite resource which nobody pays attention to.

Possible endings:
      1. If loss of subordinates exceeds an acceptable amount and the player spared the antagonist, the last possible mission will activate, A Way To Redemption. In it, the military adviser stands against the player along with some of the Mech soldiers, saying that is Pyrrhic victory and they could not allow an even worse human being to gain power. The player will fight against part of his own army with skills which he was choosing and improving through the game. In the event of a loss, the antagonist will be restored to power. If we win, the final dialogue with the rest of advisers will start, during which it will be said that it was a difficult decision, but it had to be done. There will also be a mention that the choice of a new military adviser will be a priority now. A cutscene will be played, where we see that society does not respect the new ruler and that attempts are being made to restore the antagonist to power. After this interlude, the player will get information about the rebellion in one of the provinces, which should cause astonishment. The game will end, and the rebellious province will be a start for re-playing at that save slot.
      2. If loss of subordinates exceeds an acceptable amount and the player did not spare the antagonist, it will be a high-cost victory. The player has become even worse than the enemy he fought against, but the military adviser will not rebel. The ending is played, in which the news presenter talks about the bomb explosion at the car of the protagonist which permanently maimed him and almost deprived of his life. She also reports that there are ongoing fights in one of the country’s regions. It will be a start for re-playing.
      3. If loss of subordinates does not exceed acceptable amount and player spared the antagonist, a good ending activates, where at the public ceremony crowd is pay homage for fallen soldiers. Antagonist announces that this is not the end of the fight because people will not stop supporting him. Next is a cutscene with a propaganda reportage on television that after one year from the last battle, on 1 January, the state managed to maintain power and ensure relative peace.
      4. If loss of subordinates does not exceed acceptable amount and player did not spare the antagonist, Dura lex, sed lex, the order has been achieved. Society thinks that the war ended with justice for revolutionaries, many of whom were judged. A cutscene is played, in which people speak on the streets, among other things, saying how much they support the government and that hard times require a strong hand to rule.

In the window of saves would be shown information about whether the country is ruled by a ruthless tyrant. The player intuitively in the first pass would actually assume that only applies to the default antagonist. At the negative end, however, this status would not change and would still be a button to re-fight for power.     

Each save place would be equivalent to fictional country, so after passing the game three times with a good finale in this window would display three slots with the status of a good ruler in three fictitious countries without the possibility of re-playing on these maps.

Gameplay

The player manages three teams:

The order of game phases, not including dialogues and cutscenes:

  1. Management of the base. Selection of buildings to be expanded, duration based on the production capacity of the regions. Recruitment of soldiers. Developing Mech technologies.
  2. Strategic map. Review of regions, their statistics and available missions.
  3. Details of the mission. Choose and modify the Mech team to the opponent’s expected units.
  4. Mechs fight.
  5. Reconnaissance before an urban fight.
  6. Selection of units based on information received from the reconnaissance, Urban fight.
  7. Develop the Urban team skills based on the skills of the opponents, met in the mission.

The clashes would take place in two different scales: skirmishes between soldiers with divine powers and mechs fighting outside of cities. Combat systems would be very similar to each other. Both Mech and City Soldiers units, depending on the specialization, would have a certain amount of life, armor, movement points, reload time or attack range. However, there would be several fundamental differences between them.

Urban Mech
Turn refers to the movement of the whole team. Turn refers to the movement of one mech, alternating with enemy units.
Each unit has two action points during its movement, which can be spent on two different activities depending on the class and equipment. Each unit has one action point during its movement, which can spend for only one action.
The unit has two attacks dependent on equipment and up to two divine skills that cannot be upgraded. The unit has up to three types of abilities that are discovered and improved with technologies in the base.
Before the encounter, reconnaissance takes place. Before the encounter, the number of enemies and their types are known approximately.
The territory is static except for the moveable elements like windows, doors and the system of destructions from the explosions. Significantly affects the course of the fight. The territory is flat and open, but civilian buildings can be damaged, which will have negative consequences. Insignificantly affects the course of the fight.

Every soldier of each team has a hidden personality. It conditions his behavior before death and reaction to the loss of mates.

All fights of mechs would be outside the city centers, but on the battlefield, enemies could purposely position themselves so that our reckless shots could hit civilian architecture. The Mechs fight area would have a small percentage of buildings of some which at times would be points that the Urban team would fight for. In the case of success, the player would gain some benefit, such as an additional mech and vice versa an obstacle if would lose.

If civilian buildings are damaged in the battle, after won the player will go to rescue people trapped in ruins.

The system of leveling abilities will work for the whole team, not for specific units. Skills and equipment could be transferred arbitrarily between units so that the player does not feel cheated by the game as if he would, after losing his progress he was working on.

The player will receive the experience for the positive ending of the mission and the number of defeated enemy units. It is important that player does not bear any consequences for losing his own soldiers, so that he would like to develop his teams at any cost, unconsciously stepping towards the end where he becomes a tyrant himself.

After each won mission, the player will be able to choose one of the previously unknown skills for the Urban team from defeated enemies.

While playing because of the hidden mechanic of revealing too much information about location of base, by losing risky missions, soldiers being captured, the enemy can discover the protagonist command center, attack and cause the game to end in the case of a loss and need relocation the entire base (including its improvements) after winning. It would last three rounds without action on the strategic map what would result in the loss of several provinces, which would have to be re-conquered.

First fight [Tutorial]

Activates only at first game for each profile.

The Mech team is fighting in the city. Player attacks destroy a lot of residential buildings. On the radio, you can hear the military adviser compelling to retreat, because this is madness and enemies are coming from every direction. He says everyone is watching and that the Recon team knew the risk. The player wins this clash and jumps on the Urban team fight. They are losing, they are surrounded and even if the player wins, the enemies blow up the arena. Return to the city view. This time the same weakened player Mech team with used skills is attacked by new waves of opponents until he loses. Charismatic drivers of mechs say goodbye to the command, knowing that they will fail, the last alive commits suicide in the cabin so as not to be caught alive.

Intro cutscene with subtitles showing the creators of the game with reflective music.

Another cutscene. The organization accepts a rule to never send teams to rescue Recon units. On the international scene, most of the forces agree that battles of this scale should not take place in cities. Most countries accept this law and the whole world comments on the irresponsibility of our actions.

Kinds of missions

Fight areas will be hand designed and assigned according to the type of task. Random will be enemy units kinds and their locations. It will make each battle unique.

In each playthrough, the missions will be random for all regions except one final for dominance in the province with the mini-boss.

During the fight, the player or opponent may receive unexpected support with an additional unit.

Sometimes there will be a message that nearby are a few friendly soldiers, which will be willing to help to wait for more support. The meaning of this mission is the fact that more units may not appear on time, and the player’s soldiers dominated by the enemy can simply be destroyed.

Scouting phase

Before the majority of standard Urban fights, the player would start by scouting with soldiers of the Recon team, which default aim would be the greatest number of discovered enemy units, their locations, types, and weaponry. Their combat capabilities are incomparably smaller compared to soldiers with divine skills. A view of this phase would present a message history from the team with a decisions window at the bottom that the player could make.

Because of their low fighting ability and suffered losses, they would often ask for consent for back off, which the player would have to answer, being forced to make a morally difficult decision. For the organization would be easier to replace the lost Recon team members, whose recruitment time would be smaller than for the Urban team. Avoiding the possibility of reconnaissance or quickly ending it, the player would start fighting in unknown terrain with unknown strength of the opponent, this would cause greater losses.

Even when the player loses all scouts, later during the fight of the Recon team, it may turn out that some of the members from the reconnaissance team have been taken to a captive.

Soldiers behavior

After the loss of the player’s unit, the reactions of the rest of the surviving team would appear on the screen. These would be different effects, positive or negative, for the duration of the fight. Enemies would also be affected by this system.

The player should never be sure of the opponent’s intentions because of the system of one hidden skill and the unknown personalities of the units. Only after the death of the first enemy unit the natures of the soldiers would be known. Hidden skill depending on the kind could be revealed at the beginning or even in the final of the clash. Lack of certainty as to the opponent’s ability will force the player to play cautiously by punishing for reckless actions. Still, the soldiers’ personality system will repeatedly give the opportunity to reverse the situation in the clash.

Enemy units would try to adapt tactic against the player’s squad and skills. To soldiers shooting from a distance will be sent more armored fighters and faster, flanking walkers will be more often stunned.

The behavior of opponents must be as much convincing as possible. The player must feel that they are living people fighting for their beliefs and devoting themselves to them. The player seeing an attack of enemy desperate by loss of a friend must pity him, the decision to take his life off must not be easy.

In the case of the upcoming defeat, the opponent’s unit can flee from the battlefield. Sometimes the entire enemy team will be ordered to retreat without a few units left intentionally to buy time.