Every month, Game Career Guide has a contest called Game Design Challenge, which asks game developers to explain a game design concept in 500 words or fewer and with a maximum of three images. August’s challenge, titled “Fun for the Whole Family,” was themed around redesigning an M-rated game to make it suitable for all ages. “M” stands for “Mature” in the ESRB ratings system and indicates that a game has content unsuitable for children.
My first step was to make a mental list of M-rated games, which included notorious and popular series like Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat. Ultimately, I settled on the Assassin’s Creed series. Since I had played and immensely enjoyed Assassin’s Creed II earlier this year, it was still fairly fresh in my mind.
Assassin’s Creed has a compelling story about two present-day organizations with opposing ideologies who battle each other across real-world historical time periods. Of course, even though some of the content can be educational, the series is not intended for children. True to its title, the game has some missions that require players to perform assassinations.
To repackage the material into something more appropriate for kids, I redesigned the story, items, and missions. Instead of hunting down and killing a target, players need to chase and tag a wrongdoer to encourage them to make moral choices. Smoke bombs and throwing knives are replaced with paper airplanes and marbles, which distract and trip up targets, respectively. Missions involve bullies, cheating on tests, and shoplifting.
From the beginning, I was very confident and enthusiastic about my idea, and I had a very strong feeling that designing the concept would be worth it. So I wrote and rewrote the game pitch document until I was pleased with the quality, and I even included three images to accompany the text. Thankfully, my effort paid off; my entry was one of the top picks!
If you’d like to check out my entry, you can view it here.