Oni/Positioning

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The following document is copied verbatim from a Word file dated Jan. 15, 1999. Please do not alter unless adjusting formatting to be closer to the original file. Commentary is available on the Talk page.

Positioning Statement - Oni


Genre Platforms Expected
Action Windows 95/98, Windows NT, MacOS October, 1999


Buyer Analysis
Action gamers
High-end/3D gamers
Anime fans
Fighting game fans


Flavor
Konoko crouched behind a pile of debris as a TCTF car rumbled by, thumping along the potholed road. Twilight was approaching, and people had already retreated into their homes. The street was no place for the innocent. She had set the trap to terminate the criminals, but still, her former compatriots would not approve of her actions. Soon, they would go too. With fatal recklessness, a group of men swaggered from hiding and entered the building, obviously armed, obviously armored. Silence stretched for two seconds, three. The night exploded as a burst of shots, ricochets and screams pierced the air. Konoko closed her eyes, relishing the sounds of vengeance. A roomful of her enemies dead, and she hadn’t fired a shot.


Innovations
Merging of shooter and fighter into a new gaming experience
Inverse kinematic body animations – characters will realistically fall onto and over objects. Body parts will react independently to bullets, fists and tables.
Realistic Radiosity lighting
Advanced interpolation gives instantaneous response and eliminates all animation popping
Real time free form shadow generation
Dynamically destructible environments
Agile and responsive character control
Dynamic character (appearance, personality and animations)


Selling Points
Full Contact Action™: the first seamless fusion of gunplay and martial arts

“Fistfights and firefights”; empty your clip into a pack of opponents, then drop the gun and take out the survivors with flying kicks and neck-snapping throws.

Realistic 3D Environment: a brand new 3D engine designed to bring extremely realistic environments to life

Huge, multi-elevation 3D urban environments, accurately modeled by architects
Radiosity Lighting
Real-time shadow generation

Instant Interaction Technology:

Interpolation - go smoothly from a run into a sidestep into a flip over a box into a spinning kick into a slide under a quickly closing door. Instantaneous response to the controls.
Inverse kinematics - target individual body parts, smash your opponent’s head into a nearby wall, watching his body slump to the floor.
Destructible environments - shoot holes through walls, collapse pillars on opponents.
Rigid-body physics - move any object around.

Wide-open Gameplay:

Multiplayer
Multiple ways to progress through levels.
Compelling main character.
Anime style.
Detailed/interesting plot.
Dynamic characters that transform in skills, behavior and appearance as the story develops


Competition & Analysis
Tomb Raider III     Most successful third person action/adventure series to date. Oni is much more action oriented and will have a distinct look. We also have hand to hand fighting and much cooler and more varied animation. Our technology should also be superior.


Max Payne     [Remedy/3D Realms, GT] 3rd person, real world full of character and atmosphere. Graffiti textures, cool smoke effects and particle effects. Dark comic book characters. Choose playing style, two-fisted action or stealth. Intense action.


Unreal     Very successful first person shooter and currently the most technologically advanced. Third person pov gives our characters much more potency. Story and dynamic character will create more emotional involvement. Hand to hand and cool body physics will create a larger cool factor.


Prince of Persia 3D     The main feature of Prince of Persia 3D seems to be its “stunning animation”. While we cannot know exactly how we compare in this aspect until more is known, we will most likely differ on a number of issues. Prince of Persia will most likely be an adventure oriented game in the same vein as Tomb Raider. Oni’s advantages over Prince should be similar to our advantages of Tomb Raider III including: action orientation, hand to hand combat and a distinct style.


Beneath     “Use your caving equipment to climb, rappel, and swing your way through puzzles.” This is clearly a puzzle oriented adventure game with heavy dependence on exploration. This should be a very different game than Oni for generally the same reasons as Tomb Raider III and Prince of Persia 3D. It’s nice that many of our competitors seem to be aiming for the same type of game play, but we need to make sure we are differentiated from them in our marketing. We also need to note their 3D technology as well as animation and character control.


Omikron     This seems to be our most similar competitor. As such, I’ve added more information.

From the Gamespot preview:
It's a 3D action-adventure game, replete with a full combat system, one actually said to be like that in Tekken 2. According to Marx, "Omikron combines three 'genres' of gameplay - adventure, action, and fighting - in one seamless, real-time whole. Making the transitions between modes of play as invisible as possible reinforces the cohesive feeling of participating in a 'real' world."

According to a different Gamespot article
“This game's hallmark is its extensive dialogue and character interaction.”
From the Quantum Dream page:
“Arcade/Adventure game, mixing a complex and original scenario with arcade sequences. Complete freedom within a city in real time 3Dwith passers-by and vehicles. – New concept of ‘Virtual Reincarnation’, -Real time 3d combat game in motion capture with incredible moves made by several martial arts world champions,-Shooting scenes in real time 3D with spectacular action,- game play based on “Instant fun”.
Omikron seems to be aiming for the same general audience as Oni though with a lesser emphasis on action and greater on npc interaction. It is unclear from their literature how integrated the various aspects of the game are. The phrase “mixing a complex and original scenario with arcade sequences” seems to indicate that fighting and exploring are separate and distinct portions of game play. However, the Gamespot preview indicated that the game is “seamless” and has a combat system comparable to the Tekken series.


Oni will definitely be seamless and will have a better flow than Omikron where it seems that you stop and fight Tekken style. Oni also has superior technology in both our IK system and our 3D system. Omikron screenshots were not overly impressive, especially their characters.


Messiah     Messiah is a highly technology based game from Shiny. Shiny is capable of impressive technology as well as impressive hype.

From a Gamespot-UK article:
“The game's two biggest features are the possession gameplay and the revolutionary engine. The gameplay is unique in that you have to possess enemies to overcome obstacles. You might take over a cop to bypass a security gate or possess a powerful monster to fight a legion of bad guys.
“The technology behind the game is called RT-DAT (Real-Time Deformation and Tessellation). Deformation simply refers to the skeletal animation system of the game, whereby creatures are composed of skeletons, with muscles and skins wrapped around the bones.
“The result is more realistic characters, with the skin moving to simulate rippling cloth or the rising of a chest as a character breathes. Tessellation basically means the game generates only the polygons you need to maintain a high frame-rate. If a scene gets complicated, with huge explosions and enemies onscreen, the game will simply subtract polygons from peripheral areas (like from a character on the edge of your vision rather than from the explosion in the middle of the screen) to maintain the high frame-rate. If your machine can handle more polygons, the game will add as many as it can take to increase the quality of the graphics. “
From a Gamer’s Alliance article:
“The characters that you see on the sites are the original models that are imported into the game. They range from about 80,000 up to 500,000 polygons. Now, when they get imported into the game and displayed when you're playing, the engine displays as many polygons as possible to create the same shape as the original model. The detailed textures over the top of the polygons stay the same.
“In the game, the characters will have between 500 and 8,000 polygons or so - depending on where they are within the scene and how beefy your machine is. You might ask, "So why do such a hi-rez version of them to begin with?". Well, if we just did a model that had say 800 polygons (like Quake or TombRaider) then you can't really 'add in' detail when you get right up to a character's face. But, in Messiah, when you get into a character's face, we can dedicate all the polygons that your machine can display into just that tiny area of the character's features. That's why we make them so detailed.”
Oni is much more of an action game and much less of an adventure game than Messiah seems to be. While they seem to be working on impressive 3D technology, Oni will incorporate advanced physics and IK technologies as well.


Urban Chaos     LOT of similarities to Oni – sprawling city setting, “unbelievable” physics, interactive environment, freedonm of exploration, hand-to-hand combat, two characters, one female one male, multiple ways to achieve objectives, use of scenery in combat (swing around telephone poles). Only thing it doesn’t have is shooting.


Shogo     Only other mainstream PC anime game. First person shooter, focused on mecha.


Amen: The Awakening


Overall, Oni seems to be the only third-person game (in the near future) aiming directly at the action crowd without incorporating substantial puzzle or exploration elements. [more to be added in this section]


Other Important Points
Remember, this is an action game. This is not an adventure game. People will get killed and they’ll die quickly.


Avoid comparisons to Tomb Raider – Don’t use the Konoko model by herself. Use her with the approved “group shot” art.