Andrew Mussell, Incoming MFA Candidate at Savannah College of Art & Design, Revenge of the Magi: The War On Christmas
GENRE: Casual Strategy/RTS with Action elements
SETTING: Players take on the role of the Three Magi of the Nativity story, who are disgusted with how their example of gift-giving has corrupted a once-sacred time of year. They seek to place magical gifts that, when given, turn the recipients into Christmas-haters.
AUDIENCE: gamers disinterested in the commercial aspect of Christmas, especially teens and adults
The game takes place in locations around the Christmas-celebrating world, which are unlocked through gameplay, progressing from rural and developing areas (Christmas tree farm, South American village) to large cities to megalopolises (Tokyo Department Store, Mall of America). Playable areas are floor maps of commerical areas and notable Christmas locations (North Pole, Bethlehem).
Players place a limited number of items on the maps, which are interacted with by non-controllable Revelers who become Humbugs, and convert other Revelers to Humbug status.
Humbugs are converted back to Revelers by spawned Hero NPCs (Santa Claus, Bob Cratchit, Ralphie), who may each be neutralized by a temporary player-placed Hero (respectively, The Krampus, Ebenezer Scrooge, Ralphie's Mom) that also functions as a Humbug while it is on the map. Humbugs also revert to Revelers after time.
Each of the Three Magi is also given one unique Power that can be used once per map attempt (e.g. slow all Revelers, temporarily banish Heroes, etc.). A player must choose one to three Magi to bring along on every map attempt, but only two or even one may be brought to gain a bonus to that map's Humbug value when completed. Finishing a map with many items unplaced also gives a Humbug bonus.
A map is completed when a proportion of Revelers on the map are converted to Humbugs. Completing a map will unlock new maps (with at least 2-3 available at all times) and increase the player's Humbug value, a game-global currency that can be spent on passive upgrades (e.g. duration of Humbug status, Magi and Hero upgrades, etc.).
Overall the game should aim for humor and light satire. In keeping with the Christmas theme, violence should be very limited or not present.
Maps may incorporate famous local Christmas-related elements; for example, the Branson map should incorporate the Festival of Lights while the Tokyo map should incorporate some unusual Christmas in Japan motifs, such as fried chicken and robo-Santa. Music for each map should be appropriate to the season and area.
Revelers say "Merry Christmas!" when bumping into each other; Humbugs say "Happy Holidays!" Heroes have unique sayings: Santa says "Ho Ho Ho!", Mr. Cratchit says "God Bless Us, Every One!", and Ralphie says, "Adios, Black Bart!"; while The Krampus snarls at Santa, Ebenezer says "Bah Humbug!" to Bob Cratchit, and Ralphie's Mom says, "You'll shoot your eye out!" to Ralphie.