Mark of the Ninja

edited in General
I was thinking about jamming a game this weekend where the core mechanic was stealth. Basically if you got detected you would just lose. I was think about being a ninja climbing a castle to kill the shogun. And you would have tools like grapples and stuff to climb. And you could only kill enemies from behind.

So I was just randomly browsing youtube(because that what you do when you have a day job :P) and found this.

Which looks AWESOME! and kind of killed my motivation to jam it this weekend. The guy is a bit talky, but still a good vid. One of the interesting things to me was the information hiding when the character is not in the room. Most stealth games I have played the player has more information about the world than the character. Here is basically the same which would probably place you more on edge when first entering rooms.

No real point to this discussion...just thought it looks like a cool game :)


  • Mark of the Ninja is an awesome game. TotalBiscuit is an awesome guy (He's done 2 WTF is Desktop Dungeons videos, so we love him).

    For more on the design of stealth games, read these excellent pieces on Rock Paper Shotgun: The Stealth Letters part 1 and part 2. It's a directed set of questions around stealth gameplay and design by the lead designer of Mark of the Ninja, Nels Anderson. He's asking questions of Andy Schatz (Monaco), Patrick Redding (Splinter Cell: Blacklist) and Raphael Colantonio (Dishonored).

    It's fucking brilliant. Also, Monaco is seriously amazing too, especially co-op :)
  • Stealth games has always had to walk a fine line between having the information that you can use to make you stealthy (Commando had visual raycasts visible, thief had light things, metal gear was pure deduction and then later noise levels) or the realism of info that you couldn't have. It's really difficult to get right without a pile of 'OMFGSHITRESTARTLEVEL' moments that gets out of hand. Don't believe I've seen any totally convincing and fun to play stealth game, though metal gear and thief came close. assassin's creed's not really a stealth game but still fun :)
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    @Tuism: Have you read the articles I linked? Or played Mark of the Ninja? There's a demo, AFAIK... It might give you some new thoughts about stealth :)
  • Is it just me or can no one else in SA find it on Steam >.>
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    I've heard about it..... And I've searched on steam, can't find it @@ will read the articles sometime :)
  • I think its only just come out on XBLA, Steam version coming soon.
    Its the same guys who did Shank, so they'll probably port it to PC soon enough.
  • Ah wait, just found something on their site (from comments on the announcement of the steam version):

    MHM on October 16th, 2012 at 9:57 pm Reply
    Is Mark of the Ninja region locked? Steam says “This item is currently unavailable in your region”…

    NELS on October 16th, 2012 at 10:25 pm Reply
    What region are you in? The game isn’t region locked, but there are few areas where we haven’t received a rating from that region’s rating board (yet) and we can’t release there until that process is completed. We submitted all the ratings at the same time, but I guess some rating boards just process that stuff a lot more slowly than others.

    MHM on October 16th, 2012 at 10:39 pm
    I’m in South Africa. As far as I know, games is already available on XBLA, but our FPB (Film and Publications Board) may be treating the PC version differently and they are notoriously slow… Thanks!

    NELS on October 16th, 2012 at 11:05 pm Reply
    Yeah, South Africa and Taiwan are the last two regions (I think?) that are outstanding. And yeah, they do rate the XBLA and PC versions and make them go through the entire process even though they’re the same games. Bureaucracy =( Hopefully that will be wrapped soon though, we don’t want you to wait any more than you do!
  • Give me one good reason I shouldn't be on the Steam US store schedule rather like the iPad app store... going to go look for a setting.
  • @dislekcia, thanks for the links. I'll go check it out.
  • Cool read :) actually I just remembered Assassin's Creed multiplayer - I think that's one of the most PERFECT stealth games EVER, it allows for stealthy as well as gung-ho play, and rewards each accordingly and justly. It's a great simulation, and it's also bloody fun :)

    Man I wish I could get MOTN :S awaiting steam...
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    I really hate that Mark of the Ninja got released before Gunpoint, which I feel it owes so much to, and certainly directly inspired it.

    (Though obviously it does distinguish itself, the early videos were a lot more like Gunpoint and they've added a lot, I just wish it were the other way round).
  • @BlackShipsFilltheSky: What makes you say that MotN was directly inspired by Gun Point? I've heard Nels, the lead designer on MotN say publicly that MotN was in development before Gun Point appeared. Do you think it's a clone? Am I reading too harsh a tone into what you wrote?

    @Nandrew downloaded Stealth Bastard after we talked about this thread today and I pointed it out to him. I'm pretty sure it was made in Game Maker (all GM games do look the same, after all).

    Also, I'm trying to get Klei to abandon the whole "Steam game going through FPB" thing so they can just release the game here :)
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    @dislekcia No, I didn't say clone. Those first videos they released were uncomfortably similar to Gunpoint. They've added a lot since then.

    I guess I've got to take their word for it, though I'm not convinced that they don't owe more than they make it sound (and that irks me). Not that they made a cool stealth game, but that they're not giving credit where credit is due.
  • @BlackShipsFilltheSky: Well, having met Nels at GDCs past and how incensed he was when DD got cloned, I'm pretty certain that his design decisions in MotN were made in response to the game's needs. The dude's a good designer.

    I'm looking forward to Gunpoint too, the rewiring mechanic is really cool.

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    I never said there's anything wrong with being influenced and implementing ideas you're learnt from other games. I do that all the time. I specifically said I didn't consider it a clone and I didn't question Nels's skills.

    What I don't like is Mark of the Ninja being in the same space and same market as a game they learned from and them not giving any credit, from what I've seen. In fact specifically denying credit, from what you've told me. And I find it implausible that these two games share so many core mechanics and that Klei came up with all of those overlapping mechanics entirely independently.

    I know Tom was not privy to what Klei were doing, and I know Klei were privy to what Tom was doing. So any influence could only have gone one way (again, influence isn't bad, but releasing a game in the same marketplace before the game that influenced you and not giving credit that might help promote the game you've successfully overshadowed is somewhat unethical business) (in my eyes)

    It's not even about Nels or his game design skills. I don't like Klei's conduct.

    Like I said, if Gunpoint had come out first, and then the much bigger Mark of the Ninja by the much bigger studio with much better promotion came second I wouldn't be at all bothered. But this way round I expect Klei to make some effort to pay their dues. Klei are not in a shaky position right now, and they're in a particularly powerful position to help Gunpoint.
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    @BlackShipsFilltheSky: Ok, I'm afraid I don't understand your position here too well, so let my try to echo back and see if I'm hearing you correctly...

    It sounds like you're saying that Klei should help Gunpoint because they owe Tom recompense for ideas inspired by Gunpoint in Mark of the Ninja.

    Here's why I don't understand this argument:
    1. The mention of Gunpoint that I remember was in response to a question about Gunpoint possibly inspiring MotN, the context was that while Nels was looking forward to Gunpoint very much because it looked awesome, MotN was in development long before Gunpoint appeared. So I guess it is possible to view that as specifically denying influence if you want to, but to me that seems more like wanting to view people as bad to support an argument. I don't disagree that there's probably influence both ways (seeing as Gunpoint isn't out yet and MotN is, maybe Tom is inspired in other ways) but I don't see the hostility there.
    2. Gunpoint and MotN are very different games. Sure, they're both stealth-based, but they hardly share mechanics outside typical platformer commonalities. Gunpoint's key mechanic of being able to rewire connections between objects is not being cribbed by MotN where you can see wires and trip switches, but not affect the actual wiring itself. MotN and Gunpoint both approach stealth very differently: MotN's core mechanic is only being able to see what the character can see, with visualised audio cues; Gunpoint is a full information game, so you can see everything in a level and plan accordingly.

    How should Klei and Tom treat Monaco? Do they both owe Monaco homage because it's been around and visible longer than Gunpoint and MotN? (Monaco, BTW, shares has terminals that you hack in order to turn off lights/security systems AND you can only see what your character sees, except it's top-down) Or does Klei owe support to Monaco because MotN released first (is the RPS coverage of Monaco, initiated by Nels that support? Would you be less annoyed if Gunpoint had been included in that design discussion?) and does Gunpoint/Monaco owe support to the other depending on which releases first?

    It almost feels like you're annoyed at Klei because they're successful, but I'm seriously trying to understand where you're coming from here.
  • Also, two things related to the OP!

    More Stealth Bastard: - Coming to Steam, should be awesome :D

    And turns out that Microsoft are handling MotN's FPB submission, no idea why they're waiting for FPB certification for a Steam game, but they are. Maybe they want to release on console and Steam at the same time or something.
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    You keep on framing my argument as if I'm suggesting drawing inspiration from another game, or learning from it is bad.

    Klei released Shank 2, which was very uninspired and was less elegant and less emergent in many ways than it's forebearer.

    Then they release a very emergent stealth tactical game a long while after another developer shows his emergent tactical stealth game and talks about how much he likes emergence and openly explains his approach.

    Which is fine.

    What I don't like is them downplaying or just not mentioning how much they've benefited from the research and development of other developers.

    But that wouldn't be a problem if they weren't in the marketplace first, but they are.

    Also I find it specious that you view the hacking element as the key mechanic of Gunpoint. It's only one system amongst many, the hacking doesn't work without the others in place, Monaco's system couldn't benefit from that sort of hacking (for instance), and it's the only system not present in Mark of the Ninja (Mark of the Ninja has other systems not present in Gunpoint (some of which generate similar results) to compensate of course).
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    @BlackShipsFilltheSky: I'm not framing your argument any particular way in order to achieve anything nefarious, I'm echoing back what you seem to be saying. The idea of drawing inspiration being "bad" comes directly from the way you seem to be saying that Klei owes Gunpoint something. I'm still not sure what it is they owe, nor what they should do about that, in your eyes. You don't like Klei for doing something, doesn't that make the thing they did bad?

    Read those stealth letters on RPS. Please. They cover so much of the stuff you're making assumptions about, mostly how much inspiration and studying games went into MotN. Yes, other games were studied, how could any designer NOT look at what's currently out there and use that information to make decisions, even if only subconsciously? But what I don't understand is this dislike you have for the game's creators, is it seriously only down to MotN being out before another 2D stealth game with public development videos?

    If that's the case, why don't you feel the same way about Stealth Bastard? It's much closer to Gunpoint in stealth mechanics. The only difference appears to be Stealth Bastard being free...

    I'm not trying to be specious or misleading at all when I mention Gunpoint's hacking mechanic. To me that really seems to be the core of the game, that's the big thing that makes it different. That's what the game seems to be designed around... Yes, you need other systems around that, because just straight hacking that way wouldn't make sense nor be much fun, but those systems are there to support the core interaction of the hacking. Sure, they're fun on their own (because Tom is a good designer) but they don't seem to be the core of the game. That's all. Which is why I don't see them as hostile to each other, as games.

    I'm trying to understand why you do.

  • you can get stealth bastard for free already: played it a bit it's lots of fun. Strangely laggy, I'm guessing it's made in GM with lots of transparent layers.

    I guess Deluxe will have more content :)
  • I think @blackshipsfillthesky meant only that they should give credit and acknowledge that they've gotten inspiration from Gunpoint instead of "nope we didn't see that game before we made ours".

    To me, it's nice if they gave credit, but if they don't, there's no proof either way that they definitely didn't know bout MOTN or did, really, and is therefore not really an important point cos erm, noone's gonna sue anyone else (successfully) for it.
  • @Tuism: Seriously, the exact quote is here:
    And that’s the long, circumtuitious path to the guiding principles I had when designing Mark of the Ninja. Because 2D side-scrolling stealth hadn’t really been done before (Tom Francis didn’t make the excellent Gunpoint known until about 6 months after we started Ninja, ditto on Stealth Bastard), the design process ended up being a lot about deconstructing what works in 3D stealth and figuring out how to provide gameplay that *felt* similar, but actually was achieved through rather different means.
    The two articles I posted are really, really interesting. One of the first concepts that they all talk about is the natural way that stealth games HAVE to have emergence in them, because the worlds have to work in complex ways without the player doing anything - then it's up to the player to disrupt those systems to achieve their goals. It's not the same as a mostly static game world that doesn't have any simulation aspects other than "Shoot the player!" AI that spawns when the player enters a specific area.

    Yes, this is similar to what Tom was talking about in his various Gunpoint videos. That makes sense, because the idea is that good stealth games NEED that functioning external world. To me it looks very much like two people reaching similar conclusions from the same source material...

    I don't even know why I'm trying to defend anything. I guess I just don't like the idea that nice people are being made out to be dishonest based on assumptions that seem to persist despite data to the contrary being available. In all likelihood, I'm probably being far too sensitive about what @BlackShipsFilltheSky is saying, because obviously I care about the moral frameworks around making games (seeing as they're my major defense against being cloned) and their punitive application to people that I know don't merit it bothers me.

    I'll leave it alone now.
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    (-edit-) Oh hey! This vid was made by Terry Cavanagh!
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    Lol yeah :) "Nothing is original" strikes again :) Great point man :)

    Back to the original note - why is it that MotN has to go through FPB when clearly a million other games that we can buy off Steam hasn't? I doubt seriously that even 5% of it has seen by our esteemed government officials.
  • @Nandrew, I didn't know Micheal Jackson was in a Spy game aswell?!!?
  • I'm just going to leave this here, because it's incredibly relevant:

    Best opening line ever:
    "I wish more people would acknowledge the fact that all games are really shit for a long time,” said Mark of the Ninja lead designer Nels Anderson.
  • What happened to Mark Of the Ninja for Steam? Are we still region locked? Been looking for it, still can't find it.

    Can we go into US stores?
  • @Tuism: Presumably still in the hands of the FPB and/or Microsoft somewhere, waiting for classification when they don't actually need it :(
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