Building off some of my Game Theory posts from last week, I want to introduce a game idea I had years ago, but which I think would make an interesting vehicle for some ideas that may, in part, address some of the concerns I raised earlier.

The Ultimate Kung-Fu Game

This is a combination between a rogue-like, an open-world RPG, and a fighting game.


Open world elements.  You begin the game as a young novice fighter, and guide his/her path over the course of their life.  You can engage with story-arcs to solve (or create) problems in the world, as in typical RPG games.  You can go and seek out masters of the art to learn new skills and practice their use.  You can explore the map, and find interesting things to see and do.  And, you can improve your own standing in the world, acquire possessions and social connections, and whatnot.

Rogue-like elements.  Each game you begin has a time limit – age.  A system such as is used in Japanese life simulators might work – x actions per day, or per week, or something.  Long actions, like traveling and training, take up days, weeks, months, or years.  The game is only saved in the “now,” and the effects of actions are permanent.  Furthermore, story and plot options appear and disappear as time passes, and will change the world accordingly whether or not you get involved.  At a certain point, age will start having an effect on the options available to you and on your skill in the fighting game.  You can choose to end a game by retiring, or it will end when you die.  Maybe it will give you a score depending on what you’ve done and what you’ve accumulated, or maybe just a title, or an auto-generated biographical entry, or something.  This aspect reminds me a bit of Sid Meier’s Pirates!

Fighting Game elements.  Combat in the game is resolved with a fully developed fighting game engine.  You start out with a few moves, and can acquire more by training with teachers, finding books of lore, and whatnot.  At any time, the player can only have so many moves incorporated into his/her “style,” but can add or remove or substitute moves by practicing.  This would definitely work best with a proper controller, and the maximum number of moves that can be incorporated into a style would probably be determined by the nature of the controller used.  Moves could be sorted by type or style or whatever, which might have an impact on their speed or effectiveness.

RPG Elements.  Stats, such as they are, affect either your ability at social challenges, or your speed/power in the fighting game.  At the beginning of the game, the player can have some influence over these, after which they are more or less set.  Exceptional training might allow you to improve a stat a little bit here and there.  Injuries are also stats, of a sort, and have a direct effect on your ability in the fighting game.  Over the course of the game, you may also acquire particular social statuses, which would open up options in story challenges or bring problems of their own, on a probabilistic basis.  I imagine a huge set of possible statuses, sort of like Fallen London, which are acquired as a result of game choices and luck, which guide the nature of the plots and stories available to the player each run-through.

Example – You decide to study with a master of Calligraphy for a year.  Having a superior ability at handwriting would then be a permanent trait, and will have an   effect on your interactions with anyone who knows or cares about such things.  This might affect their opinion of you, open up dialog options, or generate story paths to follow.

One-shot enemies.  There are no wandering bad guys or meaningless grinding in this game.  Every enemy you fight is a planned and significant encounter, and depending on your own skill at the fighting game and your character’s build, you have a real chance of losing any fight in the game.  However, losing a fight would not mean game over.  The story will resolve in a different way, and you may lose status, prestige, wealth, or be injured.  To practice the fighting game and get used to the moves, you would have the option at a Dojo or at your home to practice fighting in a safe environment.

Experience and Leveling – there are no XP or levels in this game.  You can improve skills by spending time, and you get rewards by finishing stories and quests.  Fighting opponents and story opponents are what they are, regardless of your stats and attributes.

Wealth and Status – there is no loot in the game, and very little in the way of equipment.  Social connections allow you to turn money into place and position in society.  Money, by itself, can only buy you a rented room and a meal for the night.  A rootless wanderer who acquires a fortune would need to hide most of their treasure, until such a time as they would be able to spend it on meaningful things – property, servants, political position, and family connection.