Hello again! Right now, I've pretty much gone through my set of ideas for both singleplayer and multiplayer settings. However, I've had this idea inspired from a few other games, namely Portal 2, which I think could fit in the BioShock setting: co-op. Now, this may seem like an outlandish idea in a narrative-driven game series such as this one (it is), but it could potentially work. Just read what I have to offer, and think what you will:
What I had in mind was that you could pick up the story of Eleanor where it left off. Thus, one of the players could play as Eleanor, while the other would play another Big Sister by the name of Allison. Following my story suggestion, Allison wakes up on a beach in Iceland, cured of her feral state. Whereas Eleanor's initial purpose is unknown (and up to the player), Allison's looking for her parents. You'd then go through several Splicer settlements across the world on their trail.
One of the central elements here is choice. In addition to being able to choose your own upgrades, Plasmids and Gene Tonics (see below), each of you would be able to make choices that would end up changing the way you interact with the world and with each other, and eventually determine the outcome of the ending. These would rely mainly on three types of choice:
- Dealing with the Little Sisters: As a team, you could decide whether to harvest or save the Little Sisters (you can't adopt them, though). Although harvesting takes precedence over saving, you receive ADAM according to your choice (see below) and people see you differently according to the choice you made. This type of choice would affect the ADAM-related rewards you'd get and the way you handle ADAM and the Little Sisters in general. This affects mainly Eleanor, as she (and therefore, you) can choose whether to turn the ADAM she finds into a cure, destroy the ADAM stocks she finds or hoard it for herself.
- Dealing with NPCs: Again, this determines how you deal with important people. Even if your partner is the only one to kill the NPC, though, the choice you make is your own, so you are the only true determinant of your choices. How you treat the NPCs could reflect your personality, and would affect Allison most as she could be more vengeful towards her parents (for placing her in the Little Sister program) or forgiving.
- Agreeing with your partner: The more you agree with your co-op partner on the above decisions, the better Eleanor and Allison get along. This affects the ending specifically, as well as the soundbites you throw at each other. On one extreme, the two could grow a sister-like bond, whether they're both good or evil in their decisions. On the other, they could hate each other to the point of wanting the other dead, which would break out towards the end.
Since this is co-op, part of your arsenal could be geared towards assisting your partner. In addition to existing combos (Electro-Bolt and a sniper-type weapon, for example) an expanded toolset could further cater to that. Also, to avoid many, many technical and enjoyment problems, you have your own specific resource (ie. money, ADAM and parts) pool, so you don't end up using your partner's earnings to buy something they don't like. However, whatever you earn, you earn in common. That is, if one of you finds 10 dollars you both get 5 dollars each, and if you find a U-Invent component you both get it. However, if one of you chooses to save a Little Sister while the other wishes to harvest it, you get the ADAM reward according to your choice. However, if you do choose to save while the other harvests you get exclusive gifts your partner can't access.
Also, in case anyone asks, you can't deal friendly fire. Basically, all of these decisions that limit how much you share with your partner are mainly there to avoid griefing and real-life grudges. Imagine if you just got a hefty amount of ADAM and your partner just rushed to the Gatherer's Garden to spend it all on Tonics and Plasmids you didn't want without asking you - that would be incredibly frustrating.
Also, in-game, the enemies you encounter are meant to be fought by the two of you at the same time, i.e. they'd have a lot more health and would deal much more damage than in the singleplayer. They'd also come in much greater numbers. Although you could technically run off and kill a few on your own, you'd die very quickly. In addition, there'd be sections which would require close cooperation, such as environmental puzzles and bits where you'd have to separate for a short amount of time to progress. To make things easier, you'd be able to see your partner through walls, as well as how much health and EVE they have.
Boring Technical Crap
Since this is co-op, you could be able to play with a friend, the AI or with a random player. But then, you'd ask, how would the game cope if you two have completely different records? First of all, since all the choices you make are your own, your experience would be completely compatible with any other player. Although the way the two characters talk to each other would change according to the agree/disagree system, your partner's choices would only affect gameplay at the ending. Secondly, you'd be able to choose from which point in the campaign you'd like to start, as well as what type of partner you'd like to play with according to their personality (kinda like a dating site). Thirdly, if you two have made different progress, you'd play the campaign from the most advanced common checkpoint (you reach checkpoints after major plot points). Fourthly, in the case of an AI partner you'd be able to determine their personality (i.e. whether it would save or harvest, kill or spare, or agree or disagree with you). Fifthly, you'd be able to load multiple different campaigns, in case you'd want to switch characters.
And that's pretty much the foundation for my co-op ideas. Thoughts?