Do you like the idea of robbing people, gaining crazy amounts of cash and buying really cool stuff, but hate the idea of having to sneak around listening to guards’ conversations for hours? Well, then Size Five Games’ The Swindle may be for you.
The Swindle is a steampunk/cyberpunk heist game that takes place in a version of London where the police have the perfect solution to all of the city’s crime: they’re going to use artificial intelligence to surveil all of London. “As a master thief, that will sort of ruin your job,” explains Size Five Games Director Dan Marshall. The police are going to activate this AI in 100 days, which means that’s all the time you have to try and steal it. Every time you do a heist, whether you succeed or fail, the counter goes down.
Players will collect money while on heists, and, naturally, having more money means you can buy better upgrades and tools that in turn increase your security clearance. Your goal is to collect enough coin throughout the game to gain a high enough security clearance to enter the police district and steal the AI before times run out.
While at PAX East, XBLA Fans had a chance to play The Swindle and talk with Marshall about his inspirations for the game.
Marshall had been playing a lot of Assassin’s Creed II prior to development of his game, and it had “this perfect economy where they had all this cool shiny stuff you wanted to buy and just enough money to make you really want it.” From this obsession with bank building came the idea for The Swindle. The game would task players with breaking and entering to build up a huge bank account to buy upgrades such as double jumping and increased movement speeds, as well as tools to help in your heists such as bombs, hacking tools, remote-detonate mines and teleportation.
Technically The Swindle is a stealth game. A stealth game developed by a man who says he’s decided he doesn’t “really like them, or I don’t like quite a lot of the stuff that they do.”
At a high level, he does like stealth, but he feels that the industry hasn’t gotten the execution quite right. “I like the idea of stealth,” continues Marshall. “I like the idea of creeping around in games, but so much that they do just doesn’t resonate with me. Like the idea of crouching behind a guard and following him like hammering [away] to try and do a silent take down, hoping that the AI doesn’t sort of turn around on a whim.”
He goes on to add that he hates how guards will be hot on your case and then suddenly change direction and head back to their post as if deciding the disturbance they heard or saw “must have been a rat.” As a result, The Swindle will have no return to safe state, and when a guard sees you, it isn’t a failure, you just “have time to react, and you change tact and it becomes an action game.”
The Swindle is expected to release on the Xbox One sometime in 2015. A price point has yet to be released.