How An Open-World Aquaman Game Could Reinvent The Online Survival Genre
Imagine a game with maps the scale of Planetside 2, with roaming open-world gameplay that combines both undersea and land combat.
Now fill the game with as many characters and locations as DC Comic’s latest superhero film Aquaman had. The film has become DC’s biggest breadwinner earning over $1 billion worldwide. So with so much enthusiasm for the water-breathing superhero Arthur Curry, can the fans expect an Aquaman game in the not-so-distant future? Here is what an open-world online survival game set in the Aquaman universe might look like.
At the core of an ideal Aquaman game would be inventory and combat mechanics that let players scavenge parts and resources to upgrade armor, craft weapons, and enter combat at a moment’s notice.
Players could hone their character’s skill tree through combat with other players and quests all set in the world of Aquaman. With the recent craze of Battle Royale games flooding the market, the online survival genre feels like it’s taken a backseat. Recently released open-world survival games like Conan or Ark are decent games but become stale rather quickly. Perhaps what’s needed is a new attempt at the online survival genre with a bigger variety of gameplay, characters, and better world-building.
I imagine an Aquaman game having the option to explore the massive underwater world fans see in the film. If a player were to collect enough resources they could even craft vehicles such as a Bore Craft, Sea Dragon, or Scorpion-Ship. Ideally, players could choose between the seven kingdoms of Atlantis when you creating your character. Races such as the Brine, the fish-like Trench, and the other Atlanteans would all be available to choose from and have unique combat styles and skills. Players would be able to traverse the world in a variety of ways including on land, air, and sea. Traveling between land and the underwater world would be seamless and instant with zero loading screens, this would be a key component to an Aquaman game.
For player movement, imagine the flying mechanics of Anthem, but applied underwater with a boost button to propel you in any direction so traveling around underwater isn’t slow and realistic like Subnautica, but rather exaggerated like in the film. This would make underwater combat fast-paced and navigating long distances feel fluid. Getting the movement right would be very important, much like the web-slinging in Spider-man is vital to the gameplay experience.
The way I would like to see the inventory system implemented would be similar to The Witcher or Dues Ex, a straightforward menu for items and a customizable inventory wheel for quick access. This is key to keeping the gameplay flowing even when managing dozens of items and switching between weapons on the fly. Collecting resources would mean scouring for raw materials and taking them to places on the map such as a blacksmith forge. Since my vision for this game is online multiplayer, combat would be prohibited in a small circle surrounding the blacksmith forge but the as soon as you move outside the safe zone anything is fair-play. This could make forging valuable weapons risky as players could lay in wait to ambush you.
If you are killed, anything stored in your home base will not be lost, similar to Rust. An open-world survival game has to have more to it than farming resources and fighting other players. Remember those blacksmith forges I mentioned earlier? Those could be purchased by player’s and provide a percentage of the revenue collected from players at that location. If a certain faction gains control of the majority of locations in a kingdom, perhaps this would unlock a behemoth like the giant sea monster that could be used to wreak havoc until enough players unite to defeat it.
The Aquaman film was over two hours and excelled at world-building. On more than one occasion, entire kingdoms were visited for only a brief period but were nonetheless displayed in brilliant detail. Translating the vibrant world of Aquaman into a video game would certainly be an ambitious undertaking, but if done right it could truly bring something fresh to a genre of open-world online survival games that has become stagnant.
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