August 25, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili
It usually sounds ridiculous when opponents to video game describe them as murder simulators, but that label is spot-on for this indie roguelike. Serial Killer started off as a fan project for Showtime's Dexter TV series, but developer Crimson King adapted the concept to allow you to play as a general (or famous) serial killer.
He's worked on the project on and off for almost five months, and has implemented a lot of features in that time: line of sight, stealth, weapons, targeted attacks, basic AI with victims and witnesses reacting to your actions, and the possibility of leaving behind evidence (e.g. bloody shoe prints, hand prints, body fluids, etc.).
Crimson King's also coded a crime tracking system that follows your criminal activities while you're committing them. If you kill without anyone noticing, the cops won't catch wind of it, but if a a witness spots you, they'll call the police. Cops will eventually be able to establish a profile on you and make carrying our your murders more challenging.
Serial Killer's material system and combat is "heavily inspired by Dwarf Fortress", and allows you to break bones, remove limbs from your victims, and kill characters by suffocating them or letting them bleed to death. Character stats are supported, too, like strength, agility, attractiveness, fatigue level, and mental state (influenced by alcohol/drug use).
The developer says his eventual goal is to create a large city filled with NPCs who adhere to a schedule and are clustered in factions like civilians, police, and criminals -- allowing you to play like Dexter and only kill violent criminals. He also wants to add day jobs for making money, and a real estate system.
Despite its disturbing subject matter, Crimson King of course doesn't want anyone acting out the virtual killings. "Keep in mind that this is merely a game, and that I am not advocating or condoning murder or any of the crimes that take place in this game," says Crimson King.
"I merely feel that the subject of serial killers, specifically the psychological conditions that drive them to do what they do, is one of interest and will hopefully translate into a unique game that has a vast number of potential options for play."