An anonymous source has given Destructoid a portion of an internal document from developer Terminal Reality outlining an unannounced project with the working title, "Monsters." Dating from 2008 with an expected release window in the fourth quarter of 2012, the concept for the game is described as, "Call of Duty 4 set in a dark fantasy world ruled by Universal Classic Monsters."
Sources have told us that the project was pitched to Universal, who was seeking to revitalize their monster franchises, but that Monsters is not currently in development. It seems likely that this was one of several concepts Universal looked at before settling on the massively multiplayer title announced last year.
Before you dismiss this as a terrible idea, much of what is described in these pages actually is pretty cool. The setting is refreshing in that it's fantastic without being ridiculous, a world that could conceivably function to some degree assuming monsters existed and have controlled this world forever.
The document describes an alternate reality where monsters rule the world, broken into a number of different nations. These nations are all formed from the offspring of Universal Classic Monsters such as the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein (a vampire kingdom is mentioned but Dracula himself, curiously, is not). All the nations were to be uniquely themed towards aspects of those characters societally, governmentally and architecturally, and "analogous, though not exactly, to societies and regimes in our world." These "Monster nations" have been at war for the whole of history.
What the nations (and those of our own world) all have in common is a need for a valuable resource. In the case of the world in Monsters, that resource is human beings, who are, "barely considered a cognizant species." As, "this world's most crucial and finite resource," they are, "penned, bred, bled, herded, slaughtered, hunted for sport, kept as playthings, trained as gladiators, harvested for parts, used as war-fodder, and some, the lucky ones, are groomed as new receptacles for the blackened spirits of aristocrats." Not a good scene for the descendants of apes.
But all hope is not lost for humanity. Hiding from the watchful eyes of the Monsters, a human resistance force has formed. This group is described as consisting of, "hardened crack paramilitary squads" and "strange genius abolitionists sworn to scratch out a place of equality for humans in this world of horrors."
The document is weird for the very simple reason that the dumbest idea I see here is that Monsters was to be a first-person shooter. Take this paragraph as an example:
The goal of the Resistance is twofold: keep the vast Monster Powers fighting each other while humans grow their forces strong enough to declare freedom; and prevent any of the Monster Powers from gaining dominance over the others. If any single Monster nation solidifies power, it will spell doom for the fledgling human independence.
You know what that tells me, knowing that the game is going to be an FPS? It tells me that my plucky band of humans is going to go on a whirlwind tour of the world and one of the Monster nations (Vampires, just saying) is going to solidify power. It will very nearly spell doom for the fledgling human independence, who will be saved at the zero hour by the courageous actions of a desperate few. What a waste.
Imagine instead a third-person, open world game in this setting. Playing as a member of the human resistance force, you must manipulate the various Monster nations in a variety of ways to keep them embroiled in conflict and recruit new humans to the cause of the resistance. You would have to maintain the balance of power as well as your own growth, as moving too quickly could attract unwanted attention. That's a game I want to play.
Someone go make that.