A competitive tactical heist game.
3 Nights in Chicago is a competitive local multiplayer heist game with a unique noir style for 2-4 players. Players control teams of 1930s-era gangsters trying to rob the same bank at the same time. The player needs to strategically press switches, open vents, crack safes, and crack skulls to grab as much cash as they can and escape before the cops show up. In between heists, players can use the money they’ve collected to upgrade their crew at the black market, giving them an advantage in the next round. But the player who has the most money after a select number of rounds is the winner, so players will have to spend wisely.
Our thesis started off as a competitive local multiplayer video game with an emphasis on telling a story. We wanted to answer the question “can you tell a story, emergent or otherwise, through competitive gameplay?”
The biggest takeaway from the project was the realization that simultaneously innovating on the micro scale (game mechanics) and the macro scale (theme, narrative, game loop) was a terrible idea. Because of that, our first semester was highly disorganized. It wasn’t clear what we should be working on, and whether we were making progress towards our original vision. The game seemed like “just another multiplayer game”, which was frustrating. We didn’t start the Spring semester in high spirits.
That all changed when we decided to change the art style. It’s fascinating how mechanics started to emerge naturally from the Noir theme. Our ideas that were really hard to justify in a post apocalyptic world made a lot more sense in the new theme. After some concept art and a quick prototype, we were invigorated again. We scrapped everything we had and started over, building the project from the ground up with everything we learned in the first semester. That extra motivation, in addition to deciding to meet 3 times per week, seriously increased our productivity. Interestingly, our roles started to be more specific as well, and everyone knew what they needed to do and how it contributed to the project.
The reception to the new 3 Nights in Chicago was amazing. People loved it, people understood what we were trying to do, and the game was more memorable and exciting than ever. That said, we didn’t hit our original goals. Does that make the project a failure? Not really. The goals changed, the scope changed, but we still came out with something people enjoy playing, and we enjoy playing, while at the same time exploring interesting ideas. It’s something we can look back on and say: “Yeah I made that, and I learned a lot making it.”
3 Nights in Chicago is a very different game than what we initially envisioned. We are proud of it, proud of each other, and proud of what we learned during the development process. And we hope you enjoy playing it.
3 Nights in Chicago
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