Guilty or Innocent?

15th August 2005


I have been playing around with this idea for a while and I thought I'd share it in its early draft form. It needs a lot more details but it may get your creative juices flowing! Enjoy

Guilty or Innocent?

There are six soldiers sitting in a semi circle facing another soldier who is securely tied to a chair. His nametag reads “Unger”� but with all the confusion it’s possible that he just picked up the jacket.

To the side is another soldier, a typical hard ass sergeant, clearly in charge of whatever is happening. The small room they are in is dark and they have barricaded the door. The soldiers look scared and nervous, on the edge, ready to do the unthinkable. There are strange noises outside that make the soldiers look towards the door. When this happens everybody stops talking and a few unconsciously move their hand towards the weapons nearest them.

The sergeant is questioning the single soldier, who doesn't seem to be able to give good enough answers because the other soldiers are constantly calling out things like:
“Let’s just shoot him in the head and get it over with!”

The sergeant somehow manages to keep things controlled. “Let’s go over this one more time and after that we take a vote, majority rules. Seven votes, no abstentions, Clear? Johnson, you start and no interruptions!”�

The soldier furthest away from the sergeant begins to tell his story and the screen fades into a normal FPS view.

The player then plays the game for about an hour or two, this is the story seen from Johnson’s point of view. It ends with a scene involving Unger.

After this section has finished we are returned to the room, where the next soldier in line says “�No way man! It didn't finish like that. It was more like”.�

Again the screen fades and the game starts again, this time from a different perspective. This continues through all seven soldiers, sergeant included, until Unger has his chance to explain.

Once you finished playing through all eight perspectives you are given the chance to vote as one of the soldiers, you choose which one. The verdict is given and the sentence is carried out. Is he guilty or innocent? Your vote might just make a difference!

More Details

When you play each soldier you encounter Unger at some point, probably after half way, perhaps even more than once. The idea is for each successive story to shed more light on the circumstances surrounding the incident (more on that later). Unger is from another unit, unknown to the others.

Each soldier has a different weapon and objective ensuring it doesn’t become too repetitive. It would also mean the locations of the levels could vary greatly.

The Location

I always imagined them to be on a huge spacecraft that has been badly damaged (Squad’s main Objective?) and is heading towards the sun. Unger claims he knows the way to the escape pods but the squad think he may be leading them into a trap.

The Incident

At least two soldiers see Unger shoot another soldier in the head and then destroy the computer control his was working on.

The Problems

Making this idea work will require a LOT of thought about what the players see. Although it would seem that this requires plenty of cut scenes the only ones I believe are needed are the interrogation room scenes. The action of the players decides what they see or do not see. Perhaps they missed something because they took a wrong turn etc. With the right planning this may provide a certain amount of replayability.

The Vote

As mentioned above, the player only gets to have one vote. The other votes are decided automatically by how the player played that particular soldier. For example if the player manages to reach a certain point in the level at a certain time (All completely unknown to the player) then this soldier would vote “Innocent”�. If the player didn't reach this point, or points, then their vote would be “�Guilty”.

Some objectives will be almost impossible or very difficult to reach; this would be to ensure there is some doubt about the vote's result.


Only after having written the above have I thought about what engine or game this could work with and I think a dimly light Doom 3 game would work well. I accept that the success on this story would depend on the exact level design but I believe it has more depth that the average FPS. What do you think?


  1. Joe

    Sounds like a good spin on the game ‘the Thing” which was based on the movie. I never played it but I think it had very similar ideas. Anyone in the squad could be an alien who has taken the form of the soldier it killed and the only way to be sure is to uses blood tests of which there are few. Squad members can turn on you if they distrust you and may be aliens posing themselves, earnt there trust by action or by giving them ammo and guns etc.

  2. True, it does sound a bit like \”The thing\” but in this version you get to play different players. Do you do that in \”The Thing\”?

    Again, I have it but haven\’t loaded it!!

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