It’s called One Life, naturally.
One Life recently joined the roster of hopefuls on Steam Greenlight, and it’s got a—I see what I really didn’t mean to do there; too bad it’s impossible to delete words on the internet—killer concept. Die once and you’re done. One Life, its developers told me, will lock out your Steam account as soon as you kick the bucket. The “play” button in your launcher will go gray, and you’ll only be able to stare somberly at the history of your character.
“One Life is the first multiplayer survival game with perma-permadeath. If you die, you will leave the game forever. Will you manage to survive in this harsh world full of dangers? Upgrade your battle truck and set off for hot spots with friends. Play with your own rules but remember: your every move can be the last one.”
Here’s what it’ll look like in action:
Pretty hammy (and, um, unrine-soaked), but not too shabby compared to the lion’s share of multiplayer survival games—especially given that the game will theoretically function like a biker bar (from back before bikers went extinct and were replaced by hipsters who love the concept of bikers): people will walk in, get the beating of their lives, and never come back.
OK, that’s not necessarily true. First off, you’re not immediately dead-dead just because you bite the big one in combat. Players can choose if they want to spare you or finish you off, at which point things can get downright demented. “Forgive, humiliate, finish off, take everything he has—it’s your choice,” reads One Life’s Greenlight page. “Saved [the] life of some loser? Take them captive and make them work off. They will do everything to be free again. No other game will give you this feeling of power over other people.”
That’s uhhhhhh... sure! Alright then! Please stop smiling at me while licking your lips and sort of... are you purring? What even is that?
The game’s developers are, however, aware that players don’t love the idea of plunking down $10 only to lose their heads in ten seconds. They claim you’ll have a lot of control over where and how you start the game. Beyond that, they advise that you find friends and play conservatively.
One Life’s developers also told me that they won’t be able to stop people from creating entirely new Steam accounts to play again. However, they hope that players honor the game’s one-and-done deal, to keep it authentic. “Creating another account won’t be the easiest thing as the player will feel the loss of the character and the ability to play One Life again on the emotional level,” they said.
Still, One Life strikes me as something of a tall order, especially since unlikeUpsilon Circuit—which has a similar “die once, die forever” thing going on—there’s no alternative means of playing after you kick the bucket, no afterlife of vengeful spectator ghostliness. This in a genre where death lurks around every corner, behind every conveniently shaped slab of concrete, and sometimes in the netcode itself. I imagine we’ll see a lot of Steam refunds on this one, at least if players end up dying before they’ve spent two hours with the game. Meanwhile, if you really want to account loophole your way back into the mortal realm, you still have to buy the game again. Are you interested in trying One Life, even if it ends up being $10 dumped into an endlessly swirling toilet?