Stealth Games Don't Have to Be About Killing People

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I think the only real impediment to making such a game work is AI (not so much for the first "class", obviously this has already been done successfully).

The other 2 play-styles require either pulling a Gothic and scripting EVERYTHING to the moon and back, which is obviously a major drain on developer resources (both indie and AAA - indies probably won't have the manpower to do it, AAA is still to focused on visuals and wouldn't allocate the resources), though this could make a VERY good game, with very clever oponents

OR

They could come up with actually good, dynamic AI (kinda like Bethesda tried to do with RadiantAI and failed spectacularly). If done properly, this could create a truly amazing game. But I doubt we'll be seeing anything like that any time soon

I'd buy it.

EDIT: Ok, pressed "post" by accident. I was going to give reasons as well. Suffice to say, I think this sounds like a fantastic concept for a game. I wish more games were more strategic and less "walk along the corridor shooting stuff."

I reckon the classes should be called 'The Sneak, The Spy and The Slick' just to keep the theme going.

Get a Kickstarter going on this, I would totally play it.

i love the idea of a pure stealth game where killing is an option but, really, you are awarded for not because the moment the whole household wakes up in the morning everyone will know the best jewelry of the house is gone and so a manhunt/posse is arranged... and every low-life, hobo, etc who lives in the underground of the world you frequent will almost certainly guess the best thief in the area - ie, YOU - will have done it, thus, making your chances of doing another burglary highly unlikely or 1000 times more difficult.

however, some guard who was KO'd by sleeping draft, etc may be too embarassed to admit he nodded off for several hours after a half mug of ale so several days may pass before the lady of the house screams that her maid has stolen her priceless gold 'bridal belt' because she is the only one who knows of its whereabouts. perhaps by then she may realise that a lot more of her 'treasures' have gone missing, and in the intervening time you have had time to rob every other rich sod who's worth robbing from without them ever noticing.

if you murdered a guard/maid/etc during your burglary then it's likely you - being known to the underground of the area - will eventually be snitched upon and you become suspect number 1 who is facing not only aggravated burglary but murder with intent also, which would certainly add a most horrible death penalty to your sentence after sitting in a jail cell for 10 years, eating rats and drinking your own piss to pass the time.

killing people in games is just the lazy way out it seems to me. a REAL thief would've learnt the consequences of the 'Bill Sykes' type of thief [from dickens' 'Oliver Twist'], watched as his body swung in the cold morning breeze, constantly pecked at by crows, ravens & any other animal willing to risk the climb for a tasty titbit of human flesh, and thought, throughout his childhood as an urchin stealing apples and spuds, then on to more lucrative fare, every time he'd been caught he'd have been whacked or chased then forgotten.. but KILLING people?

of course, when there's absolutely no choice? then you'd have to. but you'd make sure to hide the body so it lies hidden for at least a day or two.

ultimately i spose it depends on who you're stealing from but if it's a sandbox game then 'knowing' who you're stealing from is a critically important factor. burglarising the major is risky but well worth it for loot, but kill his servant and, then, a day later, finding out his daughter has gone missing, then found dead.. [so she WASN'T a servant after all?] will certainly have a lot of 'fencers' [fencers are people who often put 'work your way', for those not in the know.. and they do it because they want the loot you're about to steal so you don't spend time popping around every pawn shop asking 'how much will you give me for this diamond encrusted platinum necklace?', looking like an old tramp who found it on the street, but the pawn store owner knows full well you didn't just find it] dubiously glaring at you, wondering if they can get away with selling you out to the law for a tasty reward whilst still only giving you a few coppers for the 'fake' shite you're 'trying to fob off on them'. ie, you have become too hot to handle. you're a dead man walking. and anyone with sense will avoid you like the plague in case they end up hanging from a meathook in the town square.

my final [and, as usual, long winded] point is that 'thieves' are NOT 'assassins'. killing is a fine art [i'm guessing] & tho the skills used for 'killing' & 'thieving' are very similar, it is very easy to forget that a thief has rarely done nothing more violent than clocked someone on the noggin. if he killed that person then he certainly didn't intend to and most likely didn't think anymore about the guy he just accidently killed by crushing his skull with a billiard ball in a sock because he rushed past and ducked out of sight never to be seen again..or something.
but an assassin? well... it's HIS JOB to kill. he probably even enjoys it. taking a human life - and in such an ignoble and often wicked way - is his skill. to leave evidence around to make it look like someone more likely than a hired killer did it is also his job.
when the thief kills, it's likely an accident [and he may just pay the consequences] but when an assassin does it, he has thought about it, planned it, so that nobody would ever think it was planned by an assassin but more likely the person related who's on his will or some such ploy.

more than anything, it'll stop the frigging lazy sods who just barge into quests slaughtering everyone thinking what fun it is and wouldn't it be great if they could walk into the office in the morning and do it to all the bastards on 200k a year on the floor upstairs!

i fank yew i fank yew

I personally would love a stealth game where fighting back is easily one of the dumbest options you could do. There's really no reason to be stealthy in games like Assassin's Creed, Deus Ex, or even Splinter Cell and Hitman when you realize that it's easier and, in some cases, faster and more efficient to simply say, "Fuck that." and start murdering everything in the immediate vicinity.

While I still think that killing people should be an important element in stealth games, as sometimes it's better to simply off the amount of walking "Intruder alerts" rather than try and memorize all of their predetermined paths, they should make it where making any kind of worthwhile progression involves some element of stealth.

Dear Yahtzee,

Shut up and take my money.

Really, though, your game idea sounds amazing and I would love to play it. Some days I like playing games where you just dive in a pile of enemies and commit wholesale slaughter. Other days, I enjoy a game where the idea is to go as far as you can without laying a finger on anyone. What you have described sounds like the game that I would choose to play on those other days. You should totally get a Kickstarter going.

skylog:
Beyond Good & Evil is a good example of stealth and not killing enemies. Even though you can fight any of the guards that spot you, you are much, much weaker than they are. So there's an added incentive to not getting caught; not only will you not complete your mission, but you'll also die.

Agreed. This held up until the end of the game, when you were so super powerful that you could wail on on the guards with your super staff quite easily. But for those first couple of stealth missions, getting caught out in the open was scary as shit.

OT: Once again, Yahtzee pitches an idea that I would gladly shell out some cash for. A pure stealth game has a ton of potential, especially since it's practically never been done before.

SlightlyEvil:
I think the main reason is that I like being able to recover from screwups, as I am given to bouts of homicidal rage when forced to play the same segment for the twelfth time because of a single screwup.

This was my initial feeling, but after a bit more thought I'm not sure it actually makes much sense. After all, what happens in a straight shooter? If you screw up, you get shot, die, then start over and play the same segment for the twelfth time. In a stealth game if you screw up, you get seen, caught, then start over and play the same segment for the twelfth time. There's really no functional difference between the two, and the same applies to any game style and any genre. Any game that actually penalises you for failure and forces you to get things right before you can progress is functionally the same. The only difference with stealth is that we've got so used to being able to shoot our way out that it feels odd to have that option taken away, especially when that only seems to happen at a couple of arbitrary points in a game that usually lets you get away with shooting. A game dedicated to stealth in which shooting your way out was never an option wouldn't have that problem.

It's also worth noting that Thief already did this to a certain extent. While you were often able to take guards out in advance, your ability to actually fight back when found was very limited so failing at stealth usually meant reloading and trying again.

People that complain about "stealth games":

You can play any of your hundreds of "Non-stealth games". There are less than a dozen "decent" stealth games... in all of gaming history.

Yet more of what I like to call -- "Genre Discrimination". Stealth and Survival Horror are the only two genres expected to "go away" or "evolve into something else". The past 5 years, there have been maybe two or three survival horror games, true to the genre.

Most stealth games today take the "optional" route, like Deus Ex or Dishonored. Both great games, but because they allow for either action or stealth, the gameplay suffers a bit. The way the AI is presented i.e. - is not as good as it could be if the game was completely stealth focused.

Oh god the Spy.. I'd absolutely love a chance in an infiltration mission to simply get myself hired by my target and act as a sleeper agent. It always just seemed like the safest and cost-effective solution in this sort of thing. If admittedly slow.
I've noticed a fair few people talking about a Spy being a suited confident looking fellow, akin to Hitman with some clothing swapping here and there. But would that necessarily be the norm? Dressing up as a janitor or blue-collar worker would make you just as effectively invisible as the businessman, and indeed be entirely normal when walking into the maintenance areas of a building. Both have their advantages and disadvantages for a target area. People will raise an eyebrow at the cleaner at a computer, but would do the same to the suit fiddling with the fuseboxes.

A thought though, lockpicking, pickpocketing and hacking seem to be useful to every class choice, would we see some kind of secondary skill set like Professions in this hypothetical game? A Sneaker will clearly want hacking and lockpicking for unhindered access, but the Conman would likely appreciate hacking and pickpocketing for keys and information.

Either way, Yahtzee you've done it again. Made me realise just what I'm missing in today's gaming industry. You bugger.

I disagree. Most people of who like stealth games, point out Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory as one of the best games in the genre. In order to get the 100% completion rate, you can't kill anyone in the game. However it does require you to knock out guards and gadgets to get past security systems. Even in the real world these security systems are designed to be almost impossible to get through stealth or not. Guards are not going to patrol and be stationary in a place 24/7 and half to be dealt with.

Kahani:

SlightlyEvil:
I think the main reason is that I like being able to recover from screwups, as I am given to bouts of homicidal rage when forced to play the same segment for the twelfth time because of a single screwup.

This was my initial feeling, but after a bit more thought I'm not sure it actually makes much sense. After all, what happens in a straight shooter? If you screw up, you get shot, die, then start over and play the same segment for the twelfth time. In a stealth game if you screw up, you get seen, caught, then start over and play the same segment for the twelfth time. There's really no functional difference between the two, and the same applies to any game style and any genre. Any game that actually penalises you for failure and forces you to get things right before you can progress is functionally the same. The only difference with stealth is that we've got so used to being able to shoot our way out that it feels odd to have that option taken away, especially when that only seems to happen at a couple of arbitrary points in a game that usually lets you get away with shooting. A game dedicated to stealth in which shooting your way out was never an option wouldn't have that problem.

It's also worth noting that Thief already did this to a certain extent. While you were often able to take guards out in advance, your ability to actually fight back when found was very limited so failing at stealth usually meant reloading and trying again.

The key word for me is SINGLE screwup. In a shooter or other action game, it's rare that doing one thing wrong results in total failure and a reload. In many stealth games, failing once gives you a game over immediately (or nearly so).

I think it's a mistake to treat "stealth game" and "shooter game" as mechanics that have to be completely separate games.

Both are in fact different ways to solve the same challenge of progressing against dangerous foes.

And the no-kill path would be harder at first but easier in the long run. Without leaving a trail of bullet riddled corpses the thinking reasoning organisation you are opposing won't see you as such a threat, they won't deploy as many agents and they won't be as well armed. Likely just truncheons and the occasional firearms and they they'd be more hesitant to fire on an unarmed person who as far as they know is only a trespasser and a thief, not a killer.

But choosing to kill your way through, you've started an arms race of more and more being deployed with better weapons, and they won't hesitate to shoot. They will be on red alert, stealth, evasion and non-lethal take-downs become impractical now because you decided to go down the path of killing.

Sometimes, a stealth option may be pointless, like if your foes are just unthinking killing machines, they will always attack you with the same maximum ferocity no matter what, they aren't opposing you for their own noble reasons (like cops opposing a gunman on the loose in their neighbourhood) but because they have entirely unrelatable totally unreasoning aims.

And you don't need different classes, as what makes you a good sneaker makes you a good shooter.

Camouflage, better for both in combat and sneaking.

Speed, better for both running between concealment and dodging rockets in combat.

Strength, good for both heavy weapons and non-lethal takedowns.

I think it's little things like being empty handed, NOT having a gun in your hand... with that you can now quickly grab ledges and pull yourself up, run faster and jump further by pumping your arms. If you don't use guns, you won't smell of gunpowder which makes it easier to sneak and pass off disguises.

I don't really like games that include RPG elements for no reason. I don't want to be cornered into any skill set if there is no need. If the gameplay is varied enough I'll play through again anyway to try a different approach. It seems bizarre to me that choosing to play as say "The Conman" would make that aspect of the game easier - I wan't to play a the Conman to be a Conman not to have a neutered experience because I could just use special skills to bypass that part of the game quicker.

I like the idea of a stealth game where not killing people is a interesting option though. In too many games it's like "Don't kill anyone to get the best score and here is a box marked "super fun killing toys" but you may as well leave that in the corner". I'd rather see all characters just rolled into one and an open world environment. I sneak around to get a layout of the place and then I see the guard uniforms and the trucks being used and the shit I have to get past and so I run around the city to get them or I just open a window in the toilet and sneak back in at night.

It would be good to have control of a few people to do this. Lost Viking style. One guy is in the getaway car, one guy is dressed as a cop and another as an employee and I can switch between them to find a way in. With an open world environment the possibilities would be endless. You could get a guy to dress as a clown and cause a distraction or impersonate a celebrity and have him waltz through security.

I just had my own idea, looking at this. A stealth game based around time travel. Basically, you're a one man team, accomplishing multiple objectives simultaneously using your magic stopwatch or whatever. You go in, reach a certain point in the mission, rewind back to the start, and then accomplish something else. For example, as you watch your past self run off into the back entrance to cut the power, you go in through the roof to steal all the valuables in the safety of darkness. For some bonus challenge, not only would you have to avoid suspicion from the guards utilizing the three approaches Yahtzee mentioned, but you would also have to avoid being seen by or otherwise interfering with your past self to avoid time paradoxes.

An interesting tool to go with this would be a radio that you actually talk into as you do things. Then, as your past self goes about doing his thing, you can hear his sexy voice keeping you updated on his progress, so you know when the power's going out, how to time the cameras and lasers, etc.

This opens up all sorts of interesting scenarios for all three classes Yahtzee discussed. The sneak would benefit from having already scouted out all the patrol movements and security systems, as well as having a man inside telling him how and when to move. The spy would have many opportunities for misdirection, such as holding up guards while their future self moves in, and they might be able to wander into their past self's line of sight with a disguise. The conman would gain amazing advantages from being able to alibi his way out of anything with a body double, not to mention future knowledge of how people will react to anything you do.

The more I think about this, the more I love this idea. Someone, please make it.

It just goes to show how far the stealth genre has fallen that we even have to ponder this. Thief, the best stealth series of all time, literally gave you a game over if you KILLED a guard(and let's face it, the only way to truly play thief was on expert setting). Knockouts at most were permitted and some people took it to the next level, ghosting, without knocking anyone out and without being seen.

A game that allows you both stealth and action like Dishonored isn't a true stealth game but a hybrid. I haven't played Dishonored myself but I heard that if you are up on rooftops(basically above ground floor) then you are undetectable . If this is true, then it is laughable IMO. Contrast that to thief where your biggest fear was not line of sight(if someone could see you) but surfaces, because they made the difference between being HEARD(far more important in the case of someone sneaking into an establishment than actual visual contact with the perp in hand) or not. The guard searching the shadows for you, which makes for some very tense moments, is easily half of the appeal of Thief.

A game like Dishonored gives you tons of superpowers to use throughout(some for stealth, some for action) whereas the arsenal at Garrett's disposal is clearly for sneaking(invisibility potions, noisemaker arrows to distract guards, moss arrows to cushion hard surfaces, water arrows put out torches) or getting away from a failed sneak attempts(smoke bombs). Even the "action" options for Garrett like the Fire arrow or Sword have other "thiefy" uses, fire arrows(THE offensive arrows of Thief, along with Gas arrows) actually come into play for opening a room in Thief Gold and the sword can be used to cut down banners and reveal secrets. And by far the biggest sign that you should get away from the combat route is the fact that Garrett can barely survive one on one combat, let alone being entangled with multiple foes. I don't know how strong Corvo is but I'm willing to bet he is a bit more solid than Garrett on the combat front.

The Artificially Prolonged:
I'd play this game. The "conman" style would certainly be interesting, I can't think of any game that has really done that type of stealth gameplay.

In the Star Wars MMO, the Smuggler tutorial mission allows you to do this kind of thing. I also understand you get to do it even more as the game progresses. But I have never made it past level 15 as a smuggler.

The original Deus Ex might be a combination of these styles, well, only if you adhere to a strict playthrough guide.

I'd like to see a stealth only game.

beleester:
One more option: Run like hell past all the guards and accomplish your mission before they chase you down. Assassin's Creed had elements of this, usually after you'd performed an assassination.

I'd had a similar thought; the Runner. Their job would be decoy, distraction, driver or bagman to whisk the goods away when gotten. It's more about choosing routes and finding the paths that aren't being watched. It'd generally be a nice quick thing to give a little extra contrast to the gameplay.

Oh really? Stealth doesn't have to be about the killing? No wonder I like the Sly Cooper series so much, since most of the stealth is so you can either get through a place without setting off an alarm or to steal money and personal items from a guard's back pocket.

Isn't the conman really more of a trait of the spy? I mean, making organic gameplay with these elements sounds really cool, but it would probably work better if the two were combined. And considering we're defying fundamental RPG tropes anyway, why insist on hitting the magical number of three? Marketing that would be more difficult though: "Now! Two classes instead of three!"

I'm very much in Yahtzee's light-and-society fearing introvert crowd, so I would play the everloving shit out of this if it was real. Particularly, I really enjoyed MGS, but it always fell apart a bit when the guards spotted me somewhere that I couldn't then easily hide again, thus predicating a firefight. Or when having to pop caps in a boss' ass.

Funny, I got to type #2 and started thinking ... wait, shouldn't this be called "Conman"? Then got to #3 and suddenly both made sense...

And that last bit of whipping round the corner, popping you collar, putting on a hat/sunglasses/cigarette and letting all the pursuers run right past your loitering, inconspicuous form is right out of Porco Rosso, who was about as dead cool as it's possible to get whilst, yknow, literally being an obese pig. Not a dry seat/untented trouser (depending on character sex and audience preference) in the house, if performed by a proper human instead.

Farther than stars:
And considering we're defying fundamental RPG tropes anyway, why insist on hitting the magical number of three? Marketing that would be more difficult though: "Now! Two classes instead of three!"

Because it's the magic number. Unless there's a really good reason for having to choose either-or, people tend to appreciate not being forced to go fully one way or the other, instead having the "free" choice of a character who's either at one extreme, the other, OR somewhere in the middle; having to master one discrete set of skills, a largely opposite set, or a cunning blend of the two.

It's the same way that e.g. variable wipers with four settings are hugely annoying, because the best setting is usually right in the middle (at "2 1/2") so you're continually batting back and forth ... and even if it isn't, the middle (either setting 2 of 3, or 3 of 5...) is the best place to default to because you then have just as much ability to step up as down, before either progressing to "off" or "continuous", and the rain intensity is about as likely to be in the 4-5 (or 3) range as 1-2 (or 1)...

tl;dr it just balances more naturally that way. Magic number, rule of three, there's a reason it's an older-than-dirt established trope. And there's no reason you shouldn't.

Another way of labelling them may be The Sneak, The Ghost, and The Blagger. One avoids any chance of being seen by staying out of sight, the other allows themselves to be seen but not detected even so (allowing people to look -through- them), and the third freely lets themselves be spotted as someone that's out of place, but then talks their way out of it with a clever cover story, and maybe even makes their opponent doubt their own prior knowledge if they're smooth enough (...or runs like hell if they can't)... which could even be advantageous in some cases, as it may allow deeper access to the sensitive parts of a site than e.g. The Sneak trying to get from one side of a guarded, very well lit (nothing more than the very faintest, fuzzy edged shadows) combination-locked door...

Think of it as three different difficulty settings... easy, medium and hard, or perhaps vice versa, depending on your preferred play style and experience.

captcha: you're welcome

FFKonoko:

beleester:
One more option: Run like hell past all the guards and accomplish your mission before they chase you down. Assassin's Creed had elements of this, usually after you'd performed an assassination.

Eh, that's more of The Conman, after a bluff gets called and blown, or the ninja type if there's no shadows...

I'd had a similar thought; the Runner. Their job would be decoy, distraction, driver or bagman to whisk the goods away when gotten. It's more about choosing routes and finding the paths that aren't being watched. It'd generally be a nice quick thing to give a little extra contrast to the gameplay.

That'd be a pretty good addition for some putative multiplayer version, if nothing else.

tahrey:

--snip--

I think it depends on how you view the three in relation to one another. For instance, in one of your models the assumption is that two of the three are extremes on a one-dimensional spectrum and the third one lies between the two. However, you can also see their relation as being two dimensional more in the way that the primary colours relate to one another. None of them is necessarily better than the other, nor are any of them necessary for vision. Most mammals besides humans, for instance, only see colour schemes with two primary colours. (Also, as pertains to video games, I would note that Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Dishonored also only have two "character classes".)
However, the idea that more is always better, I can more easily swallow. But in that case four would also be better than three. You could divide classes between Fighter, Mage, Sneak and Spy. Hell, Guild Wars based its entire gameplay around having as many classes as possible.
But I feel like this is more of an artistic idea. And while practicalities are certainly of consequence, I don't feel this topic lends itself well to utilitarianism.

One thing that it seems that everyone agrees on is that there is some very interesting potential in these ideas. Going back to Yahtzee original 3 class suggestions the slight problem I see is that the 2nd and 3rd classes (Spy and Conman) are fairly similar to one another and could have quite a lot of crossover whereas the Sneak is to a certain extent the "odd one out". I think the reason why Yahtzee proposed a class-system rather than a skill tree is that it helps to clearly separate and define the three different styles. If you wanted to use a skill tree I think that like the original deus ex you would simply need more available branches on the skill tree. But I think building on Yathzee's original ideas this could easily be achieved:

The Forger

The Forgers talent basically involves taking over the identies of specific individuals that will grant you access to areas and help you to progress through the level. As a Forger you will need to be able to select a suitable target, a person who will legitimatly have access to the areas that you need to go to without attracting suspicion. Isolate and disable the target without attracting attention. Make sure that you are in possesion of all the information and "props" that are needed to substantiate your forgery and finally behave in a manner consistant with the person you are immitating. Selecting a good target will be the most important part of this, you will need to select a person who will not be noticed. To this end you can place a mechanic into the game whereby the NPCs on offer will have a certain degree of "backstory" to them. To take a common example, lets say you need to get into an secure embassy during an evening event... there are a selection of people who will have legitimate access to the embassy - Embassy staff (security, cleaning, catering, maintenance) Guests and Nationals of the country concerned. If you were to go after a memeber of staff, you would need to find information about the possible targets... if the target has been working in the Embassy for years, or is in a position of importance then they are a bad choice because many people are likely to know them personally and you will be more likely found out. Or maybe that person has a specialized role or skill in their line of work that it will be harder for you to fake. A good or easy target would be a less important person with a fairly generic job that many others are also doing who hasnt been working there very long. However easier targets are also more likey to have less access, so there is a results/risk payoff, if you go after a security guard rather than a waiter then you will access more areas but there may be a greater risk. The "props" I mentioned before would be things such as ID (if the person has a photo ID then you will need skills from my next suggestion to change the photo); if you are imitating a repair man then you must make sure that you are carrying his toolbox when you arrive; you will need the right cloths so if you get blood on the persons cloths when you "neutralize" them then you must find another uniform, and things like that. You could combine the forgers skill with skills from the Conman... select your target, start taking to them to find out information about them, how long have they worked there? what is there job? the con them to come with you to a quite alley and then slicey-slicey. You could combine the skills with the Spys by blending into a group of waiters. When in "role" you will also be expected to behave like the person you are imitating... if you pick a waiter you must carry around a tray with you or risk being confronted, if you pick a security guard you must check other peoples IDs etc. The principle differences between the Forger and the Spy is that the firstly the Forger is would be used for gaining access to very specific places, passing security gates etcs. Normally the Forger will have have a specific goal to they need to attain, but once they get there they will normally need to drop the disguise. Also the Forger is mostly about premeditation and planning, you need to cover all the bases first then execute your plan. The Spy is a far more "seat of your pants" style of gameplay, where you don't plan in advance but are reacting in real-time to the things that are happening around you. You would use the sneak or the forger skills to access a particular area, but then maybe change to the spy skills in order to move about freely.

The Hacker

As I am sure will be pretty obvious, the Hacker uses technology and gadgets. The hackers skills would be fairly "supportive" in their roles, assisting the other skill sets a lot. Things like gaining access to CCTV systems to find the locations of guards, as well as inserting programs into the system that will disable cameras in a certain order to allow you safe passage through an area. Hacking into computer systems to find blueprints that will reveal hidden/unguarded entrances to different areas. You could use the hacking skill to access staff records to find a good target for the forger, or to change the ID on a photo (mentioned before). You could use it to access diary information or departmental memos that will provide you with information concerning specific events that you can use to your advantage or as a distraction; "the south electric fence will be disactivated for repair from 4pm today for 15 minutes", "Interviewing new candidate for the security team today at 10.30, candidates name is Paul Masters, please provide him with a security pass on arrival", "Reduced security in the east wing due to illness". The hacker could also have a range of "field gadgets" that can be placed or used directly; Jamming devices that disable guards short range radios, CCTV confusion devices - films the room for a short time and then plays it on a loop so that you can go about you unauthorized buisness away from prying eyes. A device that allows you to make people in proximities moblie phones ring in order to distract them. Bugs that can be placed on other people that will allow you to hear them talking, enabling you to get things like codes for doors, or information to help the conman or forger. The hacker skills would help a lot to support the sneak abilites (which are a little bit out there on their own with the just the 3 skill sets) but would also have very good advantages for the other skill-sets too.

In all you would now have 5 different skill sets - Sneak, Spy, Conman, Forger, Hacker. In simple terms the Sneak would be about movement and timing, avoiding gurads and obstacles and using the inanimate environment to your advantage (hiding places etc). The Spy would be about "reading" the animate environment (the NPCs) and reacting to it in real time, behaving inconspicuously... fitting in with the group, swapping out disguises. The Conman would mostly be about dialog trees, observation and individual NPC interaction. The Forger would concern planning and premeditation, fixing a specifc "goal" and making sure all the elements are in place to achieve that, getting the relevent information through observation or by using other skills. The Hacker would be evenly split between the pure gathering of information and the use of gagets in real-time.

Between these 5 skill sets you already have a variety of gameplay options available. Sneak/Hacker combo would be extremely evasive of the enemy whilst at the other end of the spectrum Forger/Conman would be extremely engaging with the enemy. You can almost arrange these skills from the most evasive to the most pro-active Sneak-Hacker-Spy-Forger-Conman.

The question here always is, how many of the skills do you allow the player to level up during the course of the game? A lot of games make the mistake of leveling up too much so by the end you have almost 100% in everything, which pretty much negates the need for skill trees at all. I think ideally you should be able to level up around half of the available skills - just under or just over depending upon the number of trees you have.

I think that maybe one more skill tree may be needed in order to really provide a decent variety of gameplay options... marrying sneak and conman gameplay as it is could be complicated. However for the moment I am not sure of what that last skill set could be... that wouldn't be overlapping considerably with the others but that would complement them. I was thinking maybe of a sort of influence/manipulation mechanic whereby you get the NPCs to do what you want. These skills could be used with the Conman so that when you talk to people you cannot only alleviate their suspicions but also you can convince the to leave their post, or give you a door code. With the sneak style of gameplay you could maybe find some way to influence guards with subliminal messages... a special gaget that plays the sound of running water at very high frequency so that the guard wants to go and pee!!! Or slipping different drugs into his coffee that change his behaviour or make him sick. The Spy could use the influcnce skills to get groups of people to become suspicious of somebody else, or maybe influence a group of people to be get angry about something... and the you benefit from the resulting confusion. However I am not sure if this skill set is not a little bit contrived and breaking from reality somewhat, however it could be extrememly fun.

However the big problem with all this is a simple one: INNOVATION. In todays world the amount of resources it takes to make a triple-A game is HUGE. Back in the days of the first DOOM you could probaly make the mosters avatars and all their "animations" over the course of an afternoon... Today to make one character takes modelers, sculpters, texture artists, riggers and a usually whole team of animators. Even relatively simple games are logistcally often quite deep and layered (even if their stories are shallow and boring) and games like skyrim which are genuinely deeper are amazingly complex. The point is that just making a game to a tried and tested, totally unoriginal formula take massive resources, money and time... and if you want to add innovation on top of that then you are actually making the task so much harder. Any new idea will need to be extensively tested, altered, tested, tweeked, pushed and pulled from every angle to make sure that it stands up and doesnt "break"... and if it does break then you have to abandon it and start all over again. I think this is partly why so many triple-A games lack real imagination - when the public expect so much visual and environmental complexity from their games trying to also introduce new and untest mechanics is simply an expense too much - and if you happen to design your environments and visuals around your mechanics and then you discover in beta testing that your mechanics are flawed, you're left with nothing.

What I would love to see the bigger developers doing is setting money aside to support small development teams to make games with close to triple-A standard environments and visuals(maybe simplifying things by reusing assets from other IPs that they own). However rather than making full length games with complete stories, set pieces etc. they would concentrate on making short experimental titles (that may have a simple framing story) that concentrate on exploring different possible mechanics. These titles could still be sold, I would be happy to pay a few bucks for a game that was in full 3d, only and hour long, and explored interesting new mechanics. I would pick the first Portal game as a kind of example of this. Portal 1 was made by a small team, was only a couple of hours long at best... and when you look at it actually had a very used a pretty limited range of assets in its construction - it explored the theme of portal gameplay more than enough for the player to become familair with it... in fact portal could have been half the length it was and still have served its purpose in this respect.

But like that'll ever happen...

Gonna stop writing now, I wonder if anybody reads this?

I really like this idea, and feel like there's some cool things that could be done with difficulty settings, particularly including the ability to save or not. E.g. at easier difficulties, you could play the traditional way of quicksaving as much as you want and trying out risky things, which I personally enjoy a lot. But for a different experience, the hardest difficulty could make it impossible to save (except for autosaves at big checkpoints), but because the game is nonviolent, there could be (nonviolent) ways of dealing with being caught for each class. So maybe the worst case scenario is you get sent to jail, and there can be ways of breaking out, either by sneaking out traditionally (class 1), finding a guard outfit or maybe pretending to be some special prisoner that's getting transferred, and then finding some opportunity there (class 2), or for class 3 bribing/tricking the guards, or even waiting until you stand trial and making a strong case to the judge/presenting false evidence/accusing someone else of framing you, etc.

Anyway forcing you to deal with screw-ups could be really cool if there were good ways to do it.

Been thinking about this a little bit since my sole previous post. There seems to be a bit of a split on the class system. And indeed it does seem a little confining to be forced to pick a single class, or alternatively letting the player use everything and getting another bloody videogame protagonist who can do absolutely bloody everything from the word get go.

So how about a mission-by-mission specialisation? And if you fail so badly you die and reset, perhaps you decide to change your style this time. Put some points into THAT instead of THIS so maybe the guard won't see you/perceive you as a threat/think he must be on LSD. Not as crazy as you think here, hear me out.
Clothing. You heard, clothing. Or more accurately, equipment. All three classes require different looks and items to do their role well. So let's say before the mission you pick the equipment needed... but now let's include a weight limit or size limit to your inventory. So while you CAN hack/sneak/bake/bluff/lockpick, you can't perform all of those roles at once. A Sneak *could* include a suit in their inventory to change into a more Spy-centric gamestyle once they'd bypassed security and were in the offices, but would have to sacrifice something, somewhere else. They weren't able to smuggle in their spycams, or their wiretaps. 'Multiclassing' is possible in this scenario.
Where you would point talent points or spend EXP, substitute an item. It's easier to bluff with an expensive and heavy weave suit on, exuding that air of confidence and money as you do. It also works a little better with criminal based gameplay. In GTA, you don't add points to Marksmanship. Instead, you buy a better gun with your ill-gotten gains. It just makes sense, and explains where all the money you've been grabbing goes. Plus, it rewards players who clean the place out and are more successful thieves. Note it's not exclusively money. Information sells too! While stealing from a bank, you may just be able to discover that a certain worker may be taking part in insider trading. Detouring to the office and copying his files would result in a lot of money further down the line, with the purchase and selling of stock based on the information taking place largely off camera.
A Player will still be forced to largely go down one specialisation, being unable to purchase all of the equipment. But it would still lend itself to a slightly more flexible game. Where a Sneaker-focussed Player could decide that this particular time the situation calls for a Conman, and dig out their average-tier suit and fake credentials, leaving the microfibre stealthsuit in the wardrobe this time.

Though it's not just equipment that can be used on a mission-by-mission basis. What about the character in question? If the main character is the leader of the gang, perhaps you can designate a certain member instead of yourself to be the infiltrator. A stronger character may be more conspicuous, and perhaps can't sneak as well, but he can carry more items and loot at any one time. A smaller, younger character can be seen less as a threat, but might not be taken seriously by a mark at the same time.
Females and Males can try to seduce the other gender, though I can see an amusing possibility when a mark unexpectedly turns out to be gay, or unexpectedly straight, and disrupting a seduction-based attempt for information here. What about multilingual characters? They might pick up on more than another character, remember the french e-mails in Deus Ex:HR? Or a more experienced one could deliver a silent monologue detailing his thoughts on the situation that benefits the Player.

Throwing these out, but it makes sense at least to this poster. Giving the player a certain number of points/credit/weight/space to fill up from a pool and resetting for each mission.

I think I'm a bit late in posting this but there seems to be a stealth game like this coming out soon called Monaco: What's yours is mine. It has a top-down perspective and is about a heist with different character classes like a guy that shoots and a guy that can wear disguises.

Hmm...I'm had some trouble picturing how the Con man works. But, recently, I've been exposed to a wonderful little game that indirectly inspired an example. I take an example of a situation that requires stealth, and then try to extrapolate how all three classes would handle it.

Just recently, I had a chance to play the SNES title: "Tiny Toons Adventures: Buster Busts Loose!" And in that game is a mini-game called "Babs, find your friends."

It involves Babs Bunny breaking into Elmyra's surprisingly labyrinthine house and freeing all of her animal abuse victims from their pins without getting caught. I love it because its fun to enter the bonus game password and just play the minigame by itself (although for extra challenge. I lower the difficulty to "Children" which raises the time to 60...and then I try to outlast the clock), but also because its about the cutest damn thing ever.

I mean, just look at her winding up:

http://img853.imageshack.us/img853/1117/babsstart.png

and when she gets caught:

http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/8821/babsend.png

Babs: *defeated sigh*
Elmyra: *contented sigh*

Ahem. But anyway, back on topic.

Babs breaking in and to rescue her friends is closer to a sneak tactic. She is already trying to avoid being seen by the TORPEDO that is Elmyra, and even because of the bird's-eye camera view in the mini-game, she is able to see through the walls (but she is unable to look down a long coridoor and therefore is unfortunately very near-sighted), so if she had room to maneuver and the ability to STOP and wait for the right time to move, I'd almost say "Babs, find your friends" is a perfect example of Sneak-Babs albeit in a very limited microcosm of gameplay.

Spy-Babs on the other hand can simply wear a disguise. Probably hiding her ears under a hat and pretending to be human. Probably a specific human to odds of being invited into Elmyra's home and allowed to get to the animals. Done a thousand times in the cartoon, and since its freaking Elmyra, "Blend" probably doesn't even have to be all that high, but for game purposes, if something knocked Babs' hat off and unfurled her ears, the jig is probably up.

Con-Babs would probably (and I'll explain why at the end of the post) not disguise herself, nor would she be skulking around looking like she was trying to avoid being seen (again, I'll explain my logic on this at the bottom), but would just walk right up to Elmyra. As herself. Floppy ears plainly in sight. And just when Elmyra sees her, she says "Hi!" in a disarming manner (or at least, she starts negotiations once Elmyra has calmed down enough to release her from her death grip. A fuzzy critter going the Conman route versus Elmyra has certain occupational hazards...) and starts tells Elmyra that she actually wants to talk to her. And those begins some elaborate ruse to disarm Elmyra into not only not immediately tackle-capturing Babs but also in making her think that the bunny isn't a threat to her already existing-collection of captured anthropomorphized animals.

This brings up an interest idea for Conmen: The ability to pick a ploy to tell your victim. I've come up with a few for Con-Babs:

1-"Greetings, Ms. Duff. Can I have a moment of your time? If we work together, I could help lure a lot of adorable creatures to your house, and you could catch them all. And I'm willing to do this if you make it...worth my while. Are you interested?" (We'll call this the "Mercenary ploy." I suppose I could make an alternate route and make it sound like Babs is doing it not out of greed but out of spite and vengeance for some Tiny Toons who wronged her and call that variant "Hell-Hath-no-Fury ploy.")
2-"Hi! Oh, don't get up. I plan on staying. Yes, you heard right. IF the living conditions please me, of course. First, you must keep stocked with this specific brand of chocolate-covered carrot. Second, I insist on taking a look at where I'll be staying...actually, why don't we do that right now?" (Well call this the "Spoiled Princess ploy.")
3-"Um, hello. I came because...because you captured a friend of mine, and I have something really important to tell him about his poor, sick mother! I'd like to ask, could I see him, please?" *Bambi eyes* (We'll call this the "Pity ploy.")

Each of these ploys are dialogue options that are trying to create different kinds of relationships between the Conman and the Guard, every single of them predicated on a lie. Now, depending on which lie you choose, it will affect the rest of the mission (because telling every single guard a different story, its probably in the Conman's best interests to avoid changing it.)

Affect it how, you ask? Well... okay, first of all, what I'm about to say kind of falls apart since we are talking about Elmyra Duff, and not, say, somebody with a BRAIN. However, let's just ignore that for now since the actual stealth game in question is unlikely to be Tiny Toons themed.

0) All ploys would provide a kind of "Blend" stat. Perhaps called a "Credibility" or "Alibi" stat. Like the spy, the conman probably would be given the benefit of the doubt for suspicious actions IF the right context was provided. Unlike a spy in a disguise, the conman doesn't automatically "belong" and simply can not take a whole lot of suspicion thrown on him, because the guards already WERE suspicious of him before his lie deflected that suspicion. However, depending on your lie, certain activities will cause "Credibility" to drop much faster than they would otherwise. Also, in Babs' case, let's assume that the animal cages and the keys are in annoyingly different places, or that how to sneak the animals out really quickly is an issue, so Babs has a reason to poke around the house and figure that out.

1) The Mercenary Ploy would let Babs be seen as a "partner" by Elmyra and give her a lot of freedom to just wonder around her fortress....er...suburban house (this metaphor is breaking apart at the seams! Better hurry it up!), and Babs can probably actually come and go as she pleases until Elmyra gets suspicious or impatient (which, for this particular scenario, is pretty awesome. For other, less weird scenarios, one might hope that'd be a given.) but since Babs is Acting like a rather untrustworthy individual, that puts pressure on the question of "Do I trust this slick-talking person?" If Babs starts fiddling with the locks, or perhaps even going near the cages when she doesn't have a reason to, Elmyra might have less patience for that kind of behavior with this ploy because she starts to suspect that a partner in crime falling into her lap WAS too good to be true.

If someone IS going to betray you, this is the kind of lie most people would expect that they would use, after all.

2) The Spoiled Princess Ploy (AKA the ploy with the creepy, Stockholm-y subtext) gives Babs some leeway to inspect the cages and possibly even send Elmyra away on some hobby or another. Now, Elmyra has no obligation not to just throw Con-Babs into the first empty cage they come to (What's that? Society and Ethical obligations to not engage in kidnapping? This is Elmyra we're talking about here, THOSE obligations aren't even on her radar.), but this ploy relies entirely on how unique the situation is. For once, the "cuddly-wuddly hippity-hop" isn't trying to run away and will stay willing if Elmyra can just impress her. Hence, instead of the question being "How far do I trust Babs" it becomes "What do I do to impress her." On the other hand, this ploy is all kinds of risky and its just a matter of time before Elmyra runs out of patience or Babs gets a little too plainly shocked that Elmyra did in fact have a gilded cage to keep coming up with demands to justify her not voluntarily getting into said Gilded cage already... Also, Babs has very less leeway to poke around every corner of the house than Merc-Babs, although if Elmyra comes back from the fridge with the snack Babs asked for, Babs might get chided and dragged back, but not immediately suspected of doing any wrongdoing.

3) The Pity Ploy appeals to Elmyra's better nature (which is to say, it pulls on the heart strings that aren't connected to the "Kidnapping Talking Animals and Carelessly Bouncing Them Around is a Very Big No-No!" part that simply isn't there), and lets Babs get to see the other animals (and possibly even learn of some she wasn't aware of, if she plays her cards right), and might even get some privacy. Possibly even allowing her to liberate one animal (her "friend", whose mother might be dying. Wow, this is also the heaviest ploy) for free. Or...if she can't manage that, maybe exchange herself for that prisoner's freedom? Awfully self-sacrificial for a player to do, but if the captive Babs chooses to free is a high level Sneak-type, it might not matter whether or not Babs can free the others herself or even gets herself caught if he could come back and liberate everyone, including Babs. That would be an interesting "Victory in Defeat" twist that I'm not certain has ever happened in any game before. Of course, if deferring the rescue to someone else isn't an issue, the fact that Babs is limited to one prison visit and has NO excuse to poke around the house (if she's caught in any room ASIDE from the one with the captives, she'll be busted on the spot) might actually make this ploy difficult unto implausibility to rescue EVERYONE...but if Babs can talk Elmyra into letting her leave, she can try again...somehow.

Given what I've just come up with, I'd think that available Conmen ploys per mission would have to be custom made for the mission in question (increasing the chances of the game being shorter than one might've hoped) unless missions in the game are very, very similar.

CLASSES...OR TACTICS?:

I mentioned I was getting to this, and here it is! Some people have talked about how these ideas shouldn't be classes, but different skills of the same character. Here's why I think that wouldn't work:

I think we've been doing that for thief characters for a while now. In tabletop games more than video games, but that's what a "rogue" generally does. Sneaking. Disguising. AND being a Diplomancer/Uber Liar. And tack combat skills including super-deadly sneak attacks so that every thief is basically also an assassin. So Yahtzee's game is more about making higher quality gameplay that focuses on having these three noncombat skills live up to their fullest potential, because the game develop now has to worry about them being a Sneak, Spy, OR Conman!

But, also...it makes SENSE why you can't switch from Spying to Conning.

Going back to our example, if you are Babs faced with this situation, and you are determined to save the other Tiny Toons from Elmyra's evil clutches, then you need make a very big decision on the MACRO LEVEL:

Con-Babs will try to win Elmyra's trust. Spy-Babs will know that she doesn't have Elmyra's trust per se, but she will wear a disguise that says "Nothing interesting here. I'm just part of the background" so Elmyra doesn't even think about questions of trust. Sneak-Babs doesn't HAVE to dress like Ninja/Burgular/Serial Rapist, but when she's sweating and hiding and focusing on not being seen, if Elmyra rounds the corner and surprises Sneak-Babs, she's going to look mighty suspicious/too far into prey-hunting mode and not believe a word Babs has to say. Same for if Elmyra discovers Spy-Babs' ears were just curled up under her hat, because Spy-Babs, while "staying frosty", should have been avoiding too much conversation to speficially avoid Elmyra looking at her the way she is looking now, and when she realizes she's busted, its going to be very hard for her horrified expression not to say everything.

Because Conmen can be seen, and they can even look out of place, but they have to relieve that tension almost immediately. To "deflect" that suspicion. Con-Babs (who ran into Elmyra as Con-Babs and not Sneak-Babs) can look surprised for a moment -after all, Elmyra hopefully hadn't been expecting her either- but has to have her pitch ready and just absolutely making her tongue ITCH with anticipation to say it. The whole point of being Spy-Babs or Sneak-Babs is to avoid situations where you would have to bullshit. To con Elmyra, Babs has to have all her confidence RESTING on the fact that she was SUPPOSED to be caught, since that was in the plan. If she was supposed to be Hiding, then that plan has been busted and while rewriting the plan on the spot is possible, implementing it generally isn't. She has not only been seen (failure for Sneaks), but the center of attention (failure for Spys), and she has to calm down and project confidence really, really, unnaturally quickly. (Like if she were actually ITCHING to spin her tall tales, as opposed to suddenly forced to remember or make up one because she is BOMBING, and is wasting time and mental computational power acknowledging to herself that she is bombing.)

That said, its possible to change strategies between missions or even retries. If a Conman uses a ploy that doesn't pan out, you might HAVE to switch classes to Spy or Sneak to return and finish the job.

Hippogriff:
-snip-

Huh. I just ended my post talking about class-switching, and then I noticed yours.

But yeah. This kind of game, unlike Final Fantasy 5 or tactics (Don't get me wrong, fine games), is where job changing makes SENSE.

EDIT: actually, a lot of people have talked about class-switching. But my idea was technically based around the complications that come with switching between more than one plot at a time.

Now, if a spy or sneak gets busted, there is a chance that he could switch and become a Conman instead. Its happened in movies. But usually, those relies on something else spooking the guards who suddenly have no idea what's going on and then the guy they captured starts at least acting like he knows the guy and spins some bullshit to get the guards to give them another chance. (Also, a Sneak could get away after being seen, and head to the locker room to steal a uniform. But security is going to be on higher alert once they've seen him. Or at least, it should. It seems that in stealth games guards always seem at a lost for what to do when they haven't had line-of-sight with an intruder for more than 60 seconds...)

It would be interesting because the sneak could get into restricted areas and turn off security systems behind the scenes, the spy could scope out the live security as well as lift keys and security keycards from guards and the con-man could chat them up to make it easier for the spy to lift items from the guard's pockets and get info like security codes and passwords that the other two couldn't. Sly 2 and 3 had a system a little like that but they didn't use it to their full potential because Sly was a 'Jack of all trades' so the other two were render unnecessary in most cases. If the new 'Thief' game let you pick one of these three character types then I think that would be good because it would suit a game like 'Thief' or 'Dishonored' although I know that game is heavily "inspired" by the 'Thief' series.

I want this. Ya know what else I'd like? Local co-op, requiring all three, Lost Vikings style. Sneak usually leads the way, being spry and flighty, he's a ghost, and collects intel for the others. He acts as a scout, and in "find and recover" missions he's the guy who gets out of the way best. Spy blends into the groups, and doubles as a hacker, working down security systems and being able to look like he belongs well enough to get what he needs, or what the others need. The Conman is their entrance, the distraction, and with a bit of psychology training and a decent workout, also acts as a bit of muscle for intimidation or "information exchanges".

I think that's the size of things... I want to play Ocean's Eleven.

As much as a game allowing multiple "classes" of rogues would be, and as much as a game without the objective of "kill every motherfucker in the room" the whole time would be refreshing, I think the game shouldn't force the players to take the pacifist route, either by having guards so overpowered that ANY fight is suicidal, or arbitrarily failing the mission for making a mistake because "The enemy suspects foul play, so they're completely tossing their game plan". Instead, it should be that stealthier operations don't escalate the difficulty of the next level (at least, any more than the escalation should be), but sloppier runs get more attention, and more security measures are used for the next level.

For example, say you need to find information on a drug syndicate, or need to steal a diamond from a museum. If you kill one guard, it will raise everybody to alert status (and they'll stay on alert status for the whole level), but it won't matter much in the next level if you can complete your objective without killing anybody else, or getting caught in the process - not to be cynical, but a nine-to-five schmuck getting iced won't have cops and/or gangsters swarming as much, say, realizing you stole whatever it is you stole. Butchering everybody you see will have all the remaining guards freak the fuck out, shooting first and asking questions when you're dead, bringing in reinforcements from outside the level (making escape all the more harder), and will even have following levels even MORE heavily guarded and on alert status before you even get there (even if you "leave no witnesses", everybody will be freaking the fuck out over the mass murders).

Again, killing shouldn't be discouraged by having the act of killing rendered impossible, and getting caught with "stealing" information shouldn't result in failing the next level because the bad guys completely changed their plans by one bit of data being compromised - it should result in levels going from a handful of guards not expecting any trouble to CRAWLING with guards who are on high alert for the whole level.

Incidentally, I think the plot should either be of a thief (or a gang of thieves) out to rob a bunch of rich fucks blind (a la the Thief series) or a person (or a lot of people) out to get revenge on the people who screwed them over, and left them for dead. The first story will naturally have increased difficulty curves as you go stealing more and more precious items, but will increase the difficulty curve enormously if you kill hundreds of people in the process (and will brand you as a mass-murdering psychopath rather than a rascally thief, to hammer home how badly you've crossed the line). The other allows a fresh take on the "person out for payback" plot by giving the option to go on a roaring rampage of revenge WITHOUT needing to kill anybody. The closest things I can use to describe these options are the "pacifist" eliminations from Dishonered (getting a pair of slave drivers enslaved in their own mines, getting an aristocratic bitch spirited off by a stalker, etc.), or the plot for The Count Of Monte Cristo - the Count outright states that killing his enemies would have been easy, but truly getting revenge by completely humiliating and destroying their lives - that's gonna take a bit of hard work. It should be easy to give objectives for these "pacifist eliminations" - if they're criminals, gather evidence for the police to arrest them, and imprison them for the rest of their lives. If it's not possible to arrest them, find a way to screw them over in a way that death would be a mercy for them. And if you do that by not harming a hair on the hair of their guards (therefore not becoming as much a monster as your real targets) - so much the better.

The only cherry on top is to give special cutscenes for taking the pacifist route, at least for taking the most high-profile jobs: Yahtzee once said in one of his videos that he always wanted to keep the guards alive because he could imagine them stomping on their hats in rage when they see they've been duped. In order to make non-violence as cathartic as immediately "killing every motherfucker in the room", there should be some cutscenes where everybody finds out what you did, and promptly flips the fuck out, but you're already laughing your way to the bank, you handsome rogue you!

Mirror's Edge was kind of stealthy no? Either way I think Assassin's Creed has probably been the best game I've played...Batman is fun but I'm not sure how much of it is really "stealth". My biggest issue with stealth games is the "if you're seen its over" concept. It's like if I'm seen I should be able to fight. Stealth should always be an "option" not a must. Mirror's Edge had a few levels on it where if I think you were seen it was done...

Either way all of them have this super funny concept in it...I think fans of stealth games will enjoy this comic:

http://www.8bitgamer.com/comic/stealth-games-silent-deadly/

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