A Directed Escape is an interactive gameplay sequence where the player is unable to successfully fight back or otherwise survive, and is forced to flee to the next checkpoint to resume normal play. Particularly common in the Stealth, Survival Horror and First-Person Shooter genres.
The game developer has a multitude of means to both channel and guide the player from one checkpoint to another. The problem is in presenting the illusion of choice, to not break immersion. A scripted sequence may arrest control from the player by means of an interactive cutscene with quick time events. The concept of directing a player's escape implies that the player retains control while receiving directions, and can fail to follow those directions accidentally or deliberately.
Methods of Direction
- The pursuit of an antagonizing character or other imminent threat, combined with a series of narrow corridors effectively funnels the player in a specific direction.
- Receiving navigation guidance by audio is commonly used in games where the player is in radio contact with another NPC. This can sometimes result in a seemingly omnipotent narrator that is spatially aware of the player; a conceit more easily explained in modern settings that presume the player's location is monitored by the NPC.
- Markers and signposts are basic visual cues that can guide the player in a specific direction.
- To increase tension, these direction cues may be given at the last possible moment, making success depend on the player's reaction time.
Methods of Escaping
- To prevent frustration in an unwinnable sequence, attacks from enemies or the damage received by the player may be temporarily minimized while in motion. Standing still may then be scripted to result in a quick death by attack or environmental hazard.
- An escape sequence typically concludes at a map checkpoint that has a scripted environmental block, removing the threat, or a cutscene transition that advances the story.