And Kojima is still a genius.
In modern action games, there are often two options for passing – to go ahead or hide in the bushes to stab your opponent in the back when he is close. This is used in a wide variety of settings, but the general meaning of the action does not change – now it is called a “stealth walkthrough”. Let’s see where stealth came from in games and how it got to where we see it now.
Stealth in games was born over 30 years ago. Developers have developed a formula for success
Do you know why Hideo Kojima is actually called a genius? No, not because he cramps superficial allusions into walking simulators and brags about the Kino album on Instagram. Kojima popularized stealth in games.
Kojima is credited with inventing stealth, but this is not entirely true – before Metal gear the first game was released where you had to hide in order to steal – it was called Manbiki Shounen. It was released in 1979 and its story is about a boy stealing from a store. The genius focused on stealth in Metal Gear, and now this game is considered the ancestor of the stealth action genre. The gameplay of such games requires the player to be attentive and at least a little ingenious in order to avoid colliding with enemies face to face.
It seems that in 2020 stealth has become an integral part of AAA projects: it is shoved even where it is not needed. If in Watch dogs, Dishonored, Deus Ex, Assassin’s creed and MGS 5 stealth is part of the story, then in other games they simply add tall bushes for a tick to tell about the variability at the presentation – look, you can go and shoot, or you can wait until the enemies are distracted. All stealth is built on the same principle:
1. Do you see tall grass? Climb in there, it gives invisibility.
2. Throw a stone in the opposite direction – the NPC will definitely go and check what is happening there.
3. Get out of the bushes and stab in the back. Optional – then hide the corpse behind the nearest box.
4. Done! You are great, you can squat down again and crawl to the next life-saving bushes.
In games, only the crawl animation time and the tools at hand that help strangle opponents are different. And if the game has a stab in the back, then it can be easily passed by repeatedly pressing the necessary button behind the back of a stupid character. Many games lazily exploit this mechanic – why invent something new if everything was invented before us?
Stealth grass is trite, but they haven’t come up with a new one yet
Stealth in its current form is obsolete – if in Red dead redemption 2 the developers have written a whole system of interaction between the surrounding world (when wolves attack bears, for example, and an NPC has its own life), then stealth with modern technologies should definitely evolve into something more. Doesn’t it bother anyone that in fresh Ghost of tsushima can you secretly kill 19 out of 20 enemies in the camp and the latter will not notice that his comrades have disappeared?
Game developers are also human and usually (no, Hidetaka Miyazaki, we’re not talking about you) want more people to buy the game. The gaming community is so happy that anyone, even a very small child or an inattentive person, can join it. Developer Ilan Raskin from Insominac Gamesyou know from the Ratchett & Clank, Spyro and Spider-Man series, explained on twitterwhy this herb is needed:
“The secret of the game dev: we use stealth grass not because it is easier to draw, but because this is a metaphor that most players recognize… Some games use shaded areas, but players skip them, and in daylight they lose their meaning. ”
One of the first games to use stealth grass was MGS 3: Snake Eater. It was released in 2004 and used the environment for camouflage: not only grass, but also camouflage with war paint, as well as a crocodile mask. In this game, a lot depended on the environment, and in order to survive, Snake had to adapt to the local flora and fauna.
In addition to grass, other chips are used in games – environment or sounds
Maybe someday they will come up with a more obvious mechanic than this, but for now we will hide in the bushes and throw bottles from there. Then everything will happen according to the well-known scenario, but if you decide not to kill the “guard”, but to crawl by, it will be this: he will most likely just walk up to the place and stare at the broken bottle. Is this the AI we deserve? In real life, bottles / stones don’t just fall from the sky, but for some reason in modern games, nobody cares about other scenarios – except for Kojima. If the guards noticed your tracks in the MGS, they turned off the vigilance mode, and the player clearly knew that he was wrong.
Another series with good stealth detail – Thief, at least its first parts – in the last one, released in 2014, made things a little easier. In it, you can navigate by sound, looking for enemies, and there is no imbue viewing through the walls / witcher instinct / thermal imager / life detection magic – this is implemented through peeping around the corner. If you go through it with headphones and carefully listen to each step (and there are different sounds from steps on different surfaces), you will have much more impressions than just pressing one button.
Which stealth game do you remember the most? Write in the comments.