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The Flock is one of the most interesting games I’ve ever heard of, and that’s not just because it looks good, but you only get to play for a limited time.

Each death in the game will go towards a counter to the game finishing forever, and no one will be able to purchase it again—say what?

Their PR folk emailed in to let me know it will release on Linux in “Q3 of 2015”.

Press release copied below:
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HILVERSUM, Netherlands - July 16, 2015 - Vogelsap delivers their first-person asymmetrical multiplayer horror game The Flock to Steam in Q3 2015, in a way that has never been done before. Time left for people to buy the game depends on the death rate of the players within The Flock. Developer Vogelsap commits to a hands-off approach and puts the lastingness of the game into the player's hands.

With each death in the game, one life will be taken from the Flock's population. When the Flock's population reaches zero, the game will never be purchasable again. Only players who have The Flock in their Steam library will then be able to partake in the yet to be announced climactic finale. After the ending, the game will go offline permanently and no longer be playable.

The Flock population countdown will be embedded in the game's menus, Steam store page, Vogelsap's website and The Flock's sub-reddit to make sure all gamers are aware of the amount of lives left.

Gamescom attendees will be able to play The Flock in the Indie Arena Booth.

Indie industry luminaries behind Indie Fund such as Ron Carmel, John Graham and Kellee Santiago have provided financial backing to flesh out what started as a student project into a full commercial release.

The Flock are a tragic race as they are doomed to extinction. The titular abominations are irrevocably attracted to the light of the Artifact which will lead to their death or transformation into a whole other being. Trying to convey this story into the game as well as the team's aspiration to find a solution to the anticlimactic ending of multiplayer games, resulted in the idea of the Flock's population countdown.

"A multiplayer game can take players to incredible heights, but at some point gamers will start to play less, get disinterested and stop playing altogether," said Jeroen Van Hasselt, creative director, Vogelsap. "In opposition to other multiplayer games, we want The Flock's experience to inspire a sense of awe, to keep players eagerly anticipating what is coming next and to end with a memorable climax."

Set in the year 3000, an unrecognizable Earth is in ruins. Centuries of devastating pollution have blocked out the sun, blanketing the planet in darkness. No longer able to support human life, a horrifying race of monstrous creatures known as the Flock is the world's new dominant species. That is, until the emergence of the Carrier.

Each player begins as a member of the Flock, when a strange light emitting device known as the Light Artifact will suddenly appear somewhere on the map. The first player who touches the Light Artifact will transform into the Carrier, who then becomes the hunted.

Equipped with the Light Artifact, the Carrier can defeat the Flock by using the Light Artifact to illuminate the creatures. The Flock can in turn avoid the light's lethal effects by remaining motionless when caught by the beam. When a member of the Flock successfully lunges at the Carrier, it seizes control of the Light Artifact and becomes the new humanoid hunted. The previous Carrier then respawns as a member of the Flock just arriving at the scene.

The only way of winning a match of The Flock is to survive as the Carrier while keeping the light lit or to capture certain objectives. Objectives can be captured by directing the artifact's light towards these key points. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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38 comments
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melkemind 17 July 2015 at 11:17 am UTC
It's an interesting concept, but maybe not such a great long-term business model.
stss 17 July 2015 at 11:41 am UTC
I think this is a brilliant idea!
I've actually always wanted an online game that was only playable for specific periods of time. But permanently going off is good too

melkemindIt's an interesting concept, but maybe not such a great long-term business model.
I don't think so at all, especially while this is a new concept in online games.
For starters, they don't have to waste any money on supporting the game after it's finished.
But I definitely think they'll be getting a ton of sales they wouldn't have gotten otherwise, just because of how unique the idea is.

Personally I hope this sort of thing does become popular, and we see more games like this. I'd also like to see variations on it like periods of temporary unplayability instead of permanent unplayability.
opera 17 July 2015 at 11:41 am UTC
Looks very interesting. Actually I dont like the never-playable-again idea, cause its stoping you from revisiting the game at a later time.
And I hope they somehow prevent abusing the population idea. I can imagine some people having fun dying all the time to reduce population and spoiling the game for others.
DrMcCoy 17 July 2015 at 11:41 am UTC
Interesting artist concept, but kinda shitty from a player perspective (planned obsolescence gone wild) and from an art preservation perspective (I don't want games, or any artistic work, to vanish just like that).

And I'm going to call it: people will be dicks and just kill themselves as quickly as possible, just to troll. Especially the usual suspects of arseholes will think that, as they say, "top kek".
DrMcCoy 17 July 2015 at 11:49 am UTC
stssFor starters, they don't have to waste any money on supporting the game after it's finished.
Instead, the people who bought this will have wasted money. As someone invested in several FLOSS projects to make old games playable on modern systems and in a portable manner, I really don't like this.

Just like I really don't like that idea of that one band (Wu-Tang Clan, IIRC) only selling a single copy of an album, withholding it from anybody else. Even though I really don't care about their music.

stssPersonally I hope this sort of thing does become popular
If it does, you can bet your life that you'll find me in demonstrations against it.
pb 17 July 2015 at 12:03 pm UTC
What a tremendously stupid idea.


[edit] If the game turns out *good*, I can easily predict people buying several dozen copies, then dying a million times so the game is pulled from the store, and then selling these copies with 200%+ profit. So I hope the game turns out really bad and nobody cares about it.


Last edited by pb at 17 July 2015 at 12:08 pm UTC
Keyrock 17 July 2015 at 12:11 pm UTC
This sounds like a publicity stunt to create a buying frenzy. Only time will tell if said publicity stunt will be successful. I, for one, ain't biting.
Eike 17 July 2015 at 12:27 pm UTC
That does sound interesting to me.
Imagine the endgame is not one endgame,
repeatable, beatable if you take enough time,
but the endgame.
You either save the world - or you don't.
EKRboi 17 July 2015 at 1:23 pm UTC
Odd concept.. will be interesting to see how it plays out. Seems like a terrible idea to me. Why would you build in a mechanism to limit sales? What happens when it is a sleeper hit and they end up missing out on millions of sales? It will get cracked and released to the wild so people will still play it they will just not get paid for it. Seems kind of gimmicky to me.. but I'm interested to keep an eye on it just to see how it goes.
Robert 17 July 2015 at 1:45 pm UTC
This is brilliant!!!

The geniuses designers of this game have created a sociological experiment to demonstrate how stupid the human race is. Do not be mistaken about them, they are dressed up scientists.

I am looking forward to the sequels of this game. I hope we will see a game that can not be played at all, or maybe a game that doubles it's price after every purchase. I am really excited.

Where can I preorder it?
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