XB1000 – Hateful Eight Level Design

Games Design, XB1000

For the brief based one of my favourite films I chose to do the stunning Tarantino film ‘The Hateful Eight’: a lengthy, but beautiful, three hour long film based around eight invdviduals in the barren wilderness of Wyoming. The characters are snowed into a local haberdashery and all they have to do is survive the night together, but some people may have ill intentions.

The Game

I felt this film would fit perfectly into a psychological thriller game that made the player try and figure out what happened in the haberdashery and play through the lengthy story. The main idea and theme in this game is isolation, creating a tense premise in this game to make player feel cut off from the world and stuck with these characters. When the player first starts the game they can choose one of the eight characters, the main aim is for that character to survive and finish what they came to do, whether that’s kill another character, rescue someone who’s been captured or just simply survive.

For my initial designs I started off by researching the film itself, this meant watching it over, and over, and over. I’ve compiled a Pinterest board together that really shows the ideas and feelings in the film I want to convey to the player from the film:

I then went on to design and sketch out my ideas for the actual level itself, because the entire film is set in one location the level was fairly easy to set out because there is lot`s of accurate footage of the set. I first sketched out the outside of the building very roughly to get a sense of the dimensions and scale itself. 

I chose a few specific scenes from the film to illustrate, this helped me develop a sense of scale and placement in the level for the characters and how also gave me further insight into how the characters as supposed to interact and engage with each other within the world.

I have also gone through and watched the film riggerously and attempted to map out every single significant element through out the film in the set, this gives me a basis of where objects are and how the should look in the game. I did this by creating a blueprint of the level, this includes: sweet Dave’s chair, the fire place, the stove and the bar. This is the blueprint illustration of the level. 

Gameplay

The actual gameplay of the game is a mixture between a mystery thriller and a crime game as the objectives and overall mission of the game varies depending on which of the eight characters the player chooses. WARNING SPOILERS FROM HERE ONE! Seriously if you don’t want this film ruined go and watch it now and then come back (it may take three and a half hours or so, but it’s worth it!).

Upon starting the game the player has a choice to play one of the eight characters story

  • Major Marquis Warren: Major Warren is very good at combat due to his excellent marksmanship, he also has a lot of power and leverage over other players due to his possession of a letter from Abraham Lincoln, however this is only useful until the real story behind the letter is revealed.
  • John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth: Due to his heavy stance and non tolerant demeanour John Ruth is scary in the eyes of other players and considered a threat as he would do anything to project his ’10K’. Because John wields a rifle characters are hesitant to say no to any of his requests.
  • Daisy Domergue: Daisy doesn’t have much leverage throughout the game until she really shows her cards, but until then she has to survive, wheather that’s not getting beaten up by the Hanman or not getting shot by either the sheriff or Marquis.
  • Sherrie ‘Sheriff’ Chris Mannix: Mannix  has a loud mouth and isn’t afraid to use it, armed with a pistol and his supposedly ‘Sheriff’s’ badge Mannix doesn’t pull much leverage in terms of scaring people, but his southern confederate roots give knowledge about almost everyone in the haberdashery
  • Bob ‘The Mexican’: Bob is the silent but deadly kind, whether he’s just minding Minnie’s haberdashery whilst Minnie and Sweet Dave went away for Christmas, or whether he’s just competently playing the piano… Either way he still forgot Minnie’s ‘No Mexican’ policy
  • Joe Gage: Joe is the silent cowboy type but he’s rocking a six shooter,  Joe sits silently in the corner writing his seemingly short ‘life story’, however his unexplainable wealth gives him advantge over others.
  • Oswaldo Mobray: The loveable Brit stuck in this entire scenario, Oswaldo doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s side and is always the voice of reason; wheather this is to make him less of a target in the eyes of others or wheather it’s so no one else suspects him all together.
  • General Sandy ‘Confederate’ Smither: Old, tired and worn out Sandy Smithers isn’t a threat to anyone, except those who don’t support his confederate cause.

Each of these characters stories will start on how the came about arriving at the haberdashery, for example Marquis Warren and Chris Mannix are both picked up by John Ruth and Daisy and taken to the haberdashery.

The gameplay is supposed to reflect the tone and tempo of the film for example the first half the the game will reflect the style of the film, very slow and engaging for the player allowing them to soak up the stories of the players and letting them figure out for themselves who’s lying about who the really are and who isn’t. However, the second half of the game will ramp up as tensions rise within the haberdashery and characters become dangerous and start to choose sides.

The game is supposed to be similar to games that follow the pattern of the Tell Tail games where they dive the player into a deep and emmersive gameplay filled with realistic story telling and also have elements of the crime solving in LA Noir in finding clues and pieces of a puzzle.

Mechanics

Basic mechanics such as: walking, running and jumping are still present in the game, but these mechanics are also supposed to be used alongside the negotiating and interrogating other characters in the game. Characters also have the abitlity to attack in the game, but depending on which character you choose  affects their ability to attack other players, for examples: if you play as Marquis Warren your shooting ability will be a lot more accurate and effective than choosing General Smithers.

The Enimies within the game are determined by who you choose to side with, if you’re playing as Joe Gage and want to side with Oswaldo through out the game you’re required to agree with what they say and also do just to keep their trust and make sure they don’t turn against you. Equally, other characters will try and side with you and  dependant on whether your character is dangerous, for example: because John Ruth has a gun many characters won’t try to indimidate him and will try to stay on his good side.

Within the game charcters have limited resources to work with, meaning the player have to come up with creative and interesting ways to go about using items in their inventory. Certain characters are supplied with items from the start such as guns, ammo and money; characters are also given the option to keep items like rope, keys and eating utensils for later use. This allows players to complete tasks such as extract information from other players by tying them down.

The player is also rewarded in the game by gaining money for collecting bounties on other characters and also the players can help their credibility by telling the truth to other characters. Gaining money through out the games also allows players to bribe other characters giving them more power.

Random generation is also supposed to help enhance the game by changing locations of key items within the game and removing items altogether, thus makes for a varied game every time allowing for the player to experience a different scenario every time. To develop and make an interesting gameplay the player can also chose to play an online multiplayer mode which lets the speak and interact with real people playing characters in their game.

Ultimately the players objective in the game is to survive the night in the haberdashery, to not be killed by any of the other characters or the storm itself. Collecting money does help the character after completing the game, but it is mainly useful when influencing other characters in the game. If a player survives they will ride to Red Rock the following morning with any of the other surviving characters but if they die they will have to replay the entire level.

Walk through

The walk through is only for one scenario seen as the entire game is based around the single level. For the scenario that John Ruth is interigating Joe Gage, Ruth would have to first enter the level through the front door (1) and walk over to Joe’s Table (2), due to the fact Ruth is keeping Daisy hostage this may be a bit of a struggle. Once at Joe’s table Ruth will go through a series of dialogue with the character which will help persuade him into determining if the character has good or bad intentions. Ruth will also have the opportunity to offer a bribe to Joe or threaten and intimidate the character. If Ruth finds or picks up any items (indicated by the stars) like a knife or a rope he can choose to tie up the character however this may be hard due to the fact he’s still trying to keep Daisy in cuffs. This chapter is once complete when the player has interigated and made up their mind on whether to trust all the characters or not.


On the floor plans there are are also different markers placed around the maps that are supposed to be used during gameplay. The yellow circles are supposed to represent object players can pick up and use or keep for later use, objects like rope, guns and money could be hidden in the these areas. These places will also randomly generate these items changing the way the player experiences the game each time. The levels also have blue question marks scattered around the levels, placed in locations specific to the film, these are little clues/ mysteries which the player can choose to investigate or they can ignore, they’re intended to be side missions to help develop the players story.

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