Dear Horror fan / Twitch viewer. Do you love tormenting poor players to get your kicks? Well, I've got a treat for you. While trawling for promising Kickstarter projects, we stumbled upon I.C.U (I C what U did there), an intriguing prospect that mixes elements of game shows, interactive Twitch streams, and arena-style multiplayer.
I.C.U. is a new kind of multiplayer game played between a livestreamer (the contestant) and their viewers (the audience). As the contestant, your goal is simply to survive. You're stuck in a dark horror movie environment that contains freakish monsters and other frights, armed with only a flashlight for illumination (and hopefully, possible defence).
The aim of the player is to reach the three cabins in the zone. Each one is a kind of checkpoint where they can see the audience chatting live about their performance and having a good laugh at their terrified exploits.
It only gets worse for the poor contestants. At each cabin, the audience decides which new condition they want to afflict the contestant with. These include various handicaps such as shrinking the player's size, or inducing a disorientating state of drunkenness. Try wandering the woods at night after you've been turned into an intoxicated dwarf.
The audience have additional powers based on their level of interaction with the game. The more they watch and interact with the streamer's progress, the more 'coins' they unlock, which can then be spent on tricks to disrupt the contestant in his quest. For example, the audience can push the contestant around, daze them and make them lose their sense of direction, slow down time, and more. The viewers will also be able to access a web interface where they can view a mini-map and interact with each other as they have fun watching the horror unfold.
The conceit of the game is as a hunger-games-esque bloodsport, and the levels are themed around 'episodes', each one showcasing different environments, monsters, and hazards. All the episodes together will make up a 'season' of I.C.U. This episodic structure, combined with the unique interplay between audience and player, makes I.C.U. a truly innovative entertainment prospect.
Keenan Mosimann, also known by his online handle Criken, is a Youtube and Twitch veteran of over 9 years. For him, I.C.U. is the fruition of a longtime ambition to integrate online viewership into the gameplay itself. Garv Manocha, the other project lead, sees it as a chance to break the conventions of traditional game design and is keen to deliver the best experience possible for players and viewers.
To whet your appetites for I.C.U, check out the action preview video below, which ends with Criken explaining the motivations behind the project.
Me too, my handsome hypothetical reader, me too. But it's early days yet for I.C.U. As you can see from the above video, one episode is ready in a rough kind of way, but the team is still working hard on developing and perfecting what might end up being the first game in a totally new genre of spectator multiplayer. We recommend you check out the Kickstarter page for more info and progress updates. If you back the game, there are chances to have your ideas and input significantly affect the final product.