Game Design: Open World Superhero RPG.

Thinking about game design is a fun hobby. I’ve been dreaming of an open world open-world superhero RPG, and perhaps I’m not the first, but this is my take on it.

Tentatively this game is called Justice City. It takes place in my Meta\Mutant universe. I won’t hide it I’m obviously pulling from both Marvel (mutants) and DC (metahumans) often it is said that in DC gods try to be men, and in marvel men try to be gods. What an interesting dichotomy where both groups exist together.

But wait… isn’t that Marvel? I’d like to think my concept differs from Marvel, but I’ll let history decide.

Ideally, there will be two or more intros to the game.

Intro one long/tutorial: This is a more story driven intro designed to introduce people to the world and give them a basic understanding of the game controls. This intro will have some unique quest options in the game.

First person. You find yourself adrift in the ocean the seagull’s screech around you and you see the sun setting in the distance. Suddenly you are lifted out of the water as if by magic.

“What do we have here?” say’s a disembodied voice. “Oups! I forgot ye can’t see me.” A fishing boat becomes visible as a cloaking field turns off. On the deck of the boat sits a tractor beam emitter that looks out of place with the rest of the boat. Operating it is an old grizzled sailor, but he looks human.

“That’s better,” He laughs. “Let’s bring you aboard, and get a better look at me’ catch.”   You float closer to the ship. As you do the sailor steps away from the controls and waits for your approach.

“Well now,” as you get closer his image begins to glitch out revealing that he is not human perhaps some kind of wale creature. “I see I’ve caught myself something truly special… My name be’ Ahab, and I have a few questions for you…” His tones are ominous as he uses some kind of taser you, fade to black.

You wake up in a chair. You are restrained. “I’m sorry for the accommodations,” Says Ahab. He can be seen through a window sitting in a control room. You are in some containment room. “I got to know what I’m dealing with before I let you roam freely on me’ ship. What are you?”

This prompt begins the character creation menu. There are several races to choose from Humans, Lizards, classic Grays,  Logic elves, space humans, bloodthirsty space smurfs, tall greens, small furries, space trees, space squids. (names will obviously change.)

All races have different attributes, some races Grays, Greens, and Space trees, will have no gender options. Space Squids will have three options: Male, Female, and Condit. Greens gender will change depending on disguise options as they are gender fluid. Space trees are hermaphrodites.

Once you choose your race and appearance. Ahab replies. “I know what a ____ is, what I want to know is what’s going on with your DNA. Take a look.” A screen lowers and you see a mostly healthy DNA strand, but a black sticky substance is coating part of it. “What do you suppose that is?” He says as the DNA is highlighted. Alarms blare as the substance begins to grow. You rip your arm free of its restaurants, and You watch as your arm changes looking like some kind of claw.

“This can’t be!” cries Ahab. “You’ve been infected with Jossfire DNA! I’m sorry, but I’m gona have to destroy you…”

“Fire suppression system activated.” A computer says as an alarm blares. Smoke begins to emit from the ceiling but stops just as quickly. “Error! Fire suppression system offline.”

“Dammit! Forgot the parts are still on order…” cries Ahab, “New plan. I’m letting you out of the chair.” The chairs restraints release and you are able to walk around. A panel opens at the back of the room. “A watch is sitting on the wall I need you to put it on.”

You have two options, you can talk to Ahab, or you can use the watch.

Talking to Ahab.

Option: “You tried to kill me!”

Ahab: “What!? Are you still holding a grudge? Let’s move past that.”

Option: “How do I know that watch won’t kill me?”

Ahab: “You don’t, but that Jossfire DNA is spreading. Unless you want to be a soulless murder machine you don’t have much of a choice.”

Suboption: “Soulless murder machine doesn’t sound that bad…”

Ahab: “What about free will?! Will it be as entertaining if it’s not your choice? Besides you are not getting out of there until you put on that watch…”

Option: “What exactly is a Jossfire?”

Ahab: “It is theorized that ninety percent of all sentient life evolved from the same species of waterbear. One of the few who hasn’t is the Jossfire, their the most feared things in the galaxy. It’s said they can evolve on demand, and they kill without warning or reason. They’ve wiped whole systems and we’re not talking about backwaters like earth. The whole Cerulin empire disappeared overnight.”

Option:”What is that watch?”

Ahab:”Put it on and I’ll show you.”

If the player waits too long they will change into a Jossfire and a cutscene showing the destruction of earth.

Putting on the watch will cause your arm to change back to normal. Ahab speaks. “Excellent! It’s working! Best way to stop the Jossfire DNA from spreading is to have total control over your DNA. That watch is a relic of the Curlin empire. It pains me to lose it but you need it more. It allows for Total control of one’s DNA, you can change yourself any way you see fit. Make yourself taller, smarter, laser beams that shoot from your ass, you name it! Just takes some time for the watch to sink with you. The more you use it the more control you have.”

A brief tutorial on how to use the watches options follows including the watches disguise feature which gives you a built-in secret identity. From there the door opens and you have the option to leave the room. To make up for trying to kill you Ahab will a few options.

A Test of your abilities: A optional tutorial to familiarise players with the controls.

Training: Because he has holographic training simulator Ahab can train any skill in the game.

Recommendations: Ahab knows the locations of several of the game’s factions and can point you in their direction.

Shopping: Lots of things to buy, including costumes, secret hideout upgrades, vehicles, and weapons.

Quest: Ahab has several jobs for you to do, some reputable some not so much. He’ll also start you on the main quest.

Job: Ginny pig. Ahab happens to be a scientist studying local fauna, if you let him experiment on you he’ll pay you.

Leve: Just leave and start the game. Ahab’s ship will be your fist discovered location. You can return to his services anytime.

Intro Two Short: This is more of a skip, and is more ambiguous letting the player decide their own backstory. The main quest can still be completed, but the player will be exposed to the Jossfire DNA as part of the quest. It’s only recommended for players familiar with the game’s controls and gameplay.

After character creation, a brief cutscene plays showing a meteor crashing in the woods. The player begins the game close to the crash site. The only thing to do is activate the watch and put it on. After that, you can leave and play the game. You are placed not far from a quest hub and can start there, or go wherever you like. There are several people who will steer you in the direction of Ahab, and others who can provide similar services.

Class system: The class system is designed not to give the player unique abilities, but rather give unique attributes to those abilities. There are four classes with another class that is unlocked through the main quest.


Meta: Meta’s get their abilities from their DNA, almost all sentient life forms have genetic abilities coded into their DNA. These abilities can then be unlocked by a recessive activater gen. In this universe, Meta’s have been a part of human history since the dawn of time. They are considered completely human, and often revered and respected. Aleins who are Meta’s are seen as still being natural. Not everything has been smooth between Meta’s and normal people, but they have a certain privileged existence.

Defining atrabute: Control. Given training, a Meta can gain complete control. This can help with things like aiming and distance. Meta’s will also caus less damage which helps with public image.

Mutant: Some believe the meteor that killed the dinosaurs brought with it an alien life form which mimics the chromosomes of lifeforms it infects. These “mutant” chromosomes absorb the attributes of the host DNA including latent powers. When activated the chromosome will often give the host great power, but often at a severe cost. This has sparked a debate as to whether the mutant chromosome is a parisite or symbiote. Because mutations can often be grotesque they are seen as mosters and a public hazard. They are often seen as bad guys is mythology. Until recently they’ve been treated as slaves and second class citizens.

Defining attributes: Power, often seen as a boost to damage or defense. Powers often come with drawbacks that get worse as the level grows. They cause more damage which is seen as a negative.

Magic: Magic is energy and it’s wielders conduits. Learning how to harness this power magic heroes and villains seem out of phase with the rest of the world. Because of this they can resist damage and bypass the defenses of nonmagic users.

Defining attribute: bypass, greater strength with abilities like mind control, illusion, and disguise.

Tech/combat: Who needs powers? Whether you are just a gun aficionado with issues or A tin suite wearing superguenus. There are a variety of options. Sacrificing power for general combat readiness and tatical advantage. Most T\C characters have a gadget for almost any occasion. Anti-Meta rounds, Magic suppression fields, and mutant control gas be prepared.

Defining attributes: The weakest of all the classes T\C come equipt with all the other classes weaknesses. They fight dirty, but they get the job done.

Jossfire: Jossfire gains the best qualities of all the other classes, without any of the weakness.


(coming soon)

Factions: Proposed list of factions.



Justice City Mutant Police Department JCMPD: Good, A group of mutant cops trying to make a difference.

Mutant School: Neutral/good Hidden school teaches mutants to control their powers.

Mutant Underground: Neutral, they hide underground.

Mutant nation: Bad, Sure they may have some good points but their methods are terrorism and genocide.



Meta league: Neutral\bad, they are a group of self-serving elites. Thier public image is great, but they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo.

The Masquerade: Bad\nutral, high-class bad guys they control things behind the scenes, they rarely recruit non-Meta’s.

Meta squad: Neutral/good Not an official police force, they are owned by a privet company, but they often help. Despite their name the sometimes have non-Meta’s in their ranks.



Royal Order of Sage Enchanters R.O.S.E: Good, its members are defined by colors pink for illusion yellow for healing, they may be a bit pretentious, but they protect the city from magical threats.

Hell’s Cantina: Neutral, they keep the balance.

The Knights of Core: Bad, Core was a dark deity with a penchant for pain and misery. These assholes want to bring him back.



The science academy: Good\Nutral Because Science!

Vigilantes ‘R’ Us: Neutral, has an unfortunate family tragedy set you on a bullet-ridden quest for revenge? Has a childhood incident left you with a penchant for dressing like rodents and dispensing justice?  Vigilantes ‘R’ Us for all your taking-the-law-in-your-own-hands needs. Remember who needs therapy when you have guns!

Eddison Technologies: Bad, Because evil science!



The Justice City Advergers: Good, most well-known hero group in Justice city.

Valued Entities Xiphoid Xoanon V.E.X.X industries: Nutral\bad, Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid to be a superhero, V.E.X.X. industries have the solution! We’ll set you up with the best gear and a ‘job’ for your secret identity, all we ask in return is some scientific data in return.  V.EX.X. has a strict morality clause and will fine you for excessive city damage, but they pay well and have good benefits. Humans without powers need not apply.

The League of Extrodinary Criminals. Bad, Only the best of the worst get in, become infamous enough and they’ll find you.

A’merc’a: Nutral, A freelance ‘milita’ that sells it’s services to the highest bidder.

The shadow of death: No one knows if knows if these shadowy assains are real because anyone who has gotten close to them dies…

Meta-Mutant affairs. Neutral, Govement agency.

Fearce United Righteous Independent Eternal Sisterhood F.U.R.I.E.S.  Good, All Female superhero group.


Fishmonger: Neutral, He was a humble seller of fish the government turned him into a weapon of war. Now he deals in both. This fishy Pun-isher serves up his vengeance with a side of tartar sauce! Known associations: Vigilante’s ‘R’ Us, A’merc’a

Geoterra! Good, The worlds only kown Meta-mutant, having both the meta gen and the mutant chromosome. She get’s the best of both worlds. Basically, my worlds Superman, her powers are earth, if eath does it she can do it. Known Associations: F.U.R.I.E.S The Justice City Advergers.

Gasp! Good, A mutant with the power to teleport. She has to hold her breath to teleport, which is hard because she burned her lungs in a fire a now must use a breathing machine. Known Associations: F.U.R.I.E.S, Mutant School.

More to come


































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