Upcoming competitive multiplayer title The Flock has a twist to stand out from the rest of its ilk: there are only so many times players can be killed in the game, and once they’ve run out of lives, the game shuts down. For good.
In The Flock, everyone is a monster. It’s 1,000 years in the future, and the destroyed Earth no longer supports human life, but instead a ravenous sort of creature referred to as The Flock. The game, which supports between three and five players per match, is all about a desperate struggle to snag an object called the Light Artifact—basically a big flashlight. Once someone picks it up, all the rest of the monsters try to kill them, but they can murder them back.
Here’s the tricky part: in the fiction of the game, there are only so many monsters composing said Flock. And once they’re all dead, Dutch developer Vogelsap shuts down the servers. Basically, the more people play it, the quicker the game will end forever. The Flock is currently in closed alpha, and Vogelsap expects to release it later this year.
It’s a fascinating gimmick, although how it’ll actually translate into the way players interact with the game is a big question. Vogelsap says it’ll diligently post the number of remaining Flock monsters on its website, in forums and on Reddit, so there will always be at least some solid information about how much longer The Flock will hold out. But will that make players think twice about rushing headlong into an ambush against the player carrying the Light Artifact? Will it engender caution or push players to be more brazen? Or will it simply deter people from playing at all?