I thought I'd kick off my contribution to dtoid with something that I like to think of when I'm pissed that someone has ruined (or potentially ruined) one of my favorite franchises, or just when I think they started with a good idea and then missed the mark. And that my friends is how I would do it if I was in control of a game. So my first entry is a franchise that had already been butchered pretty badly before it was even imagined as a game, and that is Highlander.
The first movie was amazing, I saw it when I was a kid and then again later when I was a teenager. It was the perfect fantasy: it had a good story, lots of action, a tortured hero that wasn't too emo and several good love stories. After the first movie they forgot the whole "there can be only one" rule and started with the "but wait there is another" movies. The game seems to be a continuation of this, unfortunately. So here is how I would make it:
The game play would be in the free roaming style similar to grand theft auto and their ilk, but with heavy narrative and story driven sections like Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. It would heavily mirror the first movie in the beginning as that is the best setup for the character and the game. You would begin by going into battle in medieval Scotland with another Scottish tribe. The head of this tribe is a highlander. You have to fight in this battle until you make your way to the leader who cuts you down and laughs maniacally at you. Then while they are prepping your body for burial you wake up and all of your former comrades chase you out of town thinking that you are a demon that has possessed your former comrades body. This is not a cut scene and you are actually chased out of town, if you stop and they are able to kill you you will wake up in a ditch or shallow grave where they have left you.
At this point you are teamed up with your friend and mentor who, surprise, also carries a grudge against the cruel highlander who initially killed you and introduced you to your immortal life. At this point you get your tutorial and so I will explain to you some of the mechanics of the gameplay. You cannot game over unless your head gets cut off, you can "die" if you take too much damage which basically means you are helpless until your body regenerates. The only people who initially know to cut off your head are other highlanders. If your nature is revealed to mortals in the past then they will think you a demon and chase you away. If it happens in the present than you can get in some trouble with the law or other problems could arise.
After your training in a small village your mentor offers you his head. This is another element to the game as you can befriend or otherwise team up with other highlanders, and if after certain conditions have been met where they believe you have more of a chance becoming the one than them they will offer you their head instead of fighting you. You can take their head or not. If you take their head then you will get their power (like experience points you need these to level, leveling increases your strength and lets you regenerate quicker and take more damage before becoming incapacitated). If you do not they will be grateful and provide you with assistance in other ways until they get killed by another highlander. If you kill your mentor than you will level up and then have a confrontation with the main villain, we'll call him bob from now on to prevent confusions. In this confrontation bob almost kills you and you get buried 6 feet under. It takes you to the present day to dig yourself out. If you do not take his head your mentor intervenes and you escape. You get a small benefit in experience as you are around but in hiding during the time till the present.
Now that you are in the present you really get to experience the free roaming style. You are in a city with about 20-30 other highlanders you need to defeat before you can fight bob. These highlanders are at various strengths and abilities. You have to research your enemies and find out their hiding places and patterns. While finding out about them you can meet with them at churches and talk to them. Their personalities will range from good to evil. Depending on your playing style you will gain altruism and deception points. These matter because you can for temporary alliances with other highlanders. If you are good then you will befriend other good highlanders. These are somewhat useful and eventually they will offer you their heads. You can also form alliances with other evil highlanders. These are more helpful and you can send them to dispatch your enemies for you. However, if they ever think they are more powerful than you or are in any situation where they can sneak up and take off your head they will. You can also do this to other highlanders.
You can be as sneaky or as honor-bound as you wish. Some dirty tricks you can use are to lure a highlander into another highlanders territory. While they are fighting you can sneak up and kill one or both. You can also wait until the quickening and kill them while they are vulnerable (this will only work in the early levels). You can also set up traps and enlist mortals to help you out. You can use the police in your favor or get chased by the police yourself. You can use modern day weapons to weaken a highlander to make it easier to cut off their head, but if you do then all the rest of the highlanders will lose respect for you and it will eventually become impossible for you to form alliances. You can also form alliances and then cut off that persons head from behind, although that to will make it impossible for you to form alliances.
After all of the highlanders are dead except bob you will have a final confrontation. You will have some time to prepare and formulate a plan of attack. You will be able to have some control over the battle place and once the battle starts run from location to location. You can use your environment and any mortals you are able to enlist to help. You will also be able to use whatever weapons you wish and stash weapons caches in various locations. These are things you will have been able to do so far but they will be at a much larger scale in this confrontation. Also if your play style was very alliance heavy then you can use your last ally to help you, but if he is killed by bob then bob will regain strength and be harder to beat. If you kill bob before your ally is killed you will have to fight your ally and if your ally kills bob then you have to fight your ally who is stronger. Then you win, you are the one! But wait maybe there is another.....
This is just a general outline, but it is how I see a kick ass highlander game being made. If you have any suggestions or changes lease add them.