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  • Key Features Of Stealth Games

    - Ludovic Servat
  • The meaning of infiltration in stealth games may vary according to the people and their culture.
    Here, I will try to describe the key features that I found while I was analyzing stealth games to work on my own stealth game Volt patrol.

    A stealth game doesn't need every feature I will talk about. That being said, I did my best to include a maximum of stealth game types and that is why I did not go into detailed cases. This overview will only be about stealth games.



    We can define infiltration as the art of accessing the inaccessible through imperceptible, indirect, inconspicuous and unpunished ways.

    Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain


    Infiltration can be used to:

    • act imperceptibly
    • collect hidden information
    • avoid risks
    • remain unpunished
    • access to what cannot be reached directly or by force


    The fundamental context pushing the player to progress in infiltration mode is the need to access, by indirect ways, what is unreachable by the most direct route.

    This need emerges from the balance of power between the avatar played (the player) and the surveillance (the game) creating the dynamics of progression.

    Balance of Power

    The balance of power can be shown in 3 different ways creating these dynamics:

    Advantage to the player:
    When the player embodies the most qualified avatar of the game, the skills they possess help to access any objective despite the constraints that stopped any other attempt. They embody the only solution to the game's problem. The player may take safe alternatives accesses and thus feel satisfied to stealthily trick the surveillance.

    In that context, they are often disadvantaged when confronting several opponents but can handle any lonely surveillance.

    Hitman 2

    Also, with a lot of skills, the player has a wide set of options to operate and can feel at ease and empowered to act according to their needs and desires.

    Here, the dynamic highlights the mastering of the avatar skills.

    Advantage to the Surveillance:
    When the surveillance is implacable, the player is put in a context where the skills possessed do not allow them to face it. Most of the time, if the surveillance catches them, defeat is unavoidable. The player then has to progress using any detail to reach the objectives despite the handicaps.

    In this case, the dynamic highlights the use of cunning to face adversity and fatality.


    Advantage to the Player's Choice:
    Depending on the game's indulgence, the balance of power between the player and the surveillance may vary.

    In this case, the player can pass accesses that are watched by the surveillance by using stealth, or by directly using force and then remedy problematic situations generated when detected.


    Here, the dynamic is variable. The player is more free to choose the way to operate. Using stealth is not always necessary.


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