Halfway through John Wick: Chapter 2 - the Keanu Reeves-starring action sequel about a badass assassin forced out of retirement - I found myself wondering: what if this was made into a video game? The reason the thought came to mind was due to the many, many headshots the titular character pulls off during the film’s fight scenes, which appear as effortless and precise as those pulled off by a skilled Counter-Strike player. I didn’t watch the first movie in its entirety, but from what I saw it has quite a few headshots itself.
After a bit thinking, I decided that if John Wick were to be made into a video game, it would need the following elements to stay true to (what I deem to be) the spirit and feel of the movie. Whether these would result in a good game is a different matter, but they should probably ensure that the game would be an authentic experience.
John Wick’s deadly, almost machine-like precision applies to both headshots and bodyshots, and while one slightly humourous scene in the second movie proves that his aim has its limits and isn’t completely godlike, his aim is still damn good, to say the least.
So if you’re gonna play a game as John Wick, you’ve got to make the player feel as badass and accurate as him. And what better way to do that than with aim assist?
Aim assist will be a permanently-enabled feature in the game, at least for single player. It won’t auto-direct the player’s gun to enemies’ heads every single time and it won't target enemies who're in cover and unexposed, unlike what is shown in RocketJump's aimbot video.
But apart from that it would be pretty, well, overpowered. Even if an enemy is directly behind the player, aiming (I’m imagining this as a third-person shooter, so it’d be over-the-shoulder aiming) would automatically make Wick do a quick 180° turn towards said enemy. If the player doesn’t break out of aiming, then the game will just direct him/her to the next enemy, and then the next, until they’re all down. There’ll be a key that players can press to direct them to the enemy that presents the most danger (I.e is shooting at you right now) instead of the one that’s closest.
Firing without aiming on the other hand would just have Wick shooting at where ever the crosshair is pointing at, so... technically there is a manual aim option.
Multiplayer will also feature aim assist, though I’ve figured out how to make it balanced (I hope). I’m thinking that multiplayer will feature only asymmetrical modes, with one team playing as some gang of gangsters or assassins while the other only consists of a single player as John Wick. With that being the case, the John Wick player will get the benefit of aim assist, while the opposing team will have to rely purely on skill to score sick headshots.
John Wick 2 may have expanded the scope a bit by taking Wick to Rome, but that doesn’t mean that the game should be open world. Through it all there’s still a sense of focus, and a linear level design would convey that better than an open world or sandbox level with countless distractions.
To ensure that Wick remains committed to the task at hand, there won’t be any secret areas or collectibles in these levels. Alternate paths? Oh, no, no siree. But despite the absence of all these the levels won’t feel constricted or significantly narrower than they would be in the real world - basically, they won’t feel claustrophobic. And when it comes to combat, depending on the location, there would be enough space to accommodate Wick’s rolling and melee attacks; you can’t reduce a night club into a single corridor after all.
Speaking of melee, Wick will be able to perform takedowns with ease, similar to how Venom Snake in MGS V can knockout guards with a button press or two (or a bit more, I can’t remember). Wick obviously won’t be pulling off the same knockout moves as Snake; instead, his moves will involve putting enemies in a gridlock (which may leave them vulnerable to a headshot or two) and whatever else he does in the movies.
For longer melee fights, well, quick time events should do it. This means that player reactions will be aptly tested while at the same time Wick can pull off a set attacks and blocks that are unique to each fight, which wouldn’t be possible in a standard combat system. It sounds perfect in theory, but in practice we’ll all probably just hate it. I suppose that’s the price of being John Wick.
To really capture John Wick’s presence and aura, we must have John Wick himself. Hence, Reeves’ likeness must be used, and he must do the motion capture.
But what if he doesn’t have the time to spare for this or doesn’t want to be involved for some other reason, and won't let his likeness be used either? Well, then the game won’t be made, simple as that. In that case, the only way you can be John Wick is by playing Payday 2, where Wick looks more like an imposter of himself.
No offense, Overkill Software.