Wednesday, January 07, 2009

WWII in America

It's been a while since I tossed out a game idea. Here's one I came up with a few weeks ago.

My grandma worked for the Corp of Engineers in Mobile back during WWII, so she was one of the few people who knew at the time that German U-boats were in the Gulf of Mexico. One was even spotted in Mobile Bay! She had to keep that info to herself.

The fact that the Germans had attack ships along our shores, were sinking our merchant ships, and that we had mandatory blackouts all along the Gulf Coast is an almost forgotten piece of history. I had no idea the war had come so close to home until I read Torpedoes in the Gulf for a college history class. Few people of my generation seem to know much about it.

Anyway, the game idea is a "what if' scenario. What if U-boats were secretly landing on the American Gulf Coast during early WWII?

The tale could be told from the perspective of a Cajun in the rural Louisiana swampland. He notices the Germans landing in his area and sneaking through. The man (player's character) decides to take matters into his own hands and uses his knowledge of the area to find, track, and capture or kill the Germans.

There's no better environment for a mysterious, edgy game than Southern swampland -- an environment which hasn't been seen much, if at all, in games. Something can get right up next to you in the swamp water without you realizing it. And the adventure could pass through other charismatic and potentially unsettling areas, like the wards of New Orleans, the Mobile docks, and the Everglades. Victorian architecture, aristocratic politics, extravagant hospitality, colorful language... the Deep South has a lot of flavor to make it a unique and attractive setting.

The game's swamps and bayous would be dangerous and dynamic. Cajuns are hunters, and a hunting rifle and shotgun are the perfect weapons to start the player with. The protagonist would start out hunting soldiers and avoiding local wildlife Turok-style -- gators, panthers, bobcats, etc. He would also be warning locals, enlisting aid, and gaining motivation through tragic interactions. Later, he would be tracking spies through the cities. Much of the South was populated by Germans, so it wouldn't be hard for German spies to mimick a Southern dialect and infiltrate our bureacracies. The game might even allow the players to kill or capture the wrong people, and suffer the consequences.

Anyway, the South is a great setting for a game that I don't recall ever being used. I would only ask that the designers enlist real Southerners for the voice-overs, so we wouldn't have to endure the terrible impressions Hollywood likes to use. And WWII could feel fresh if the setting was here in the States and the player wasn't playing as a conventional soldier.


  1. The game would need plenty of banjo music and bucktoothed yokels.

    Jason (resident drunken idiot of Channel Massive)

  2. 'squeal like a pig' comes to mind...

  3. /e (pushes submit to Valve button..)

  4. I like this idea. I would be glad to see it made.

  5. I want Cajun swamp voodoo witch doctors turning Nazi invaders into zombies at some point, please.

    That's a great idea for a game setting, and I didn't realize the war was that close to home, either.


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