In a nutshell, asymmetric gameplay refers to the situation in which two players will have separate gaming experiences as they play together. We believe that applying this concept in designing multiplayer video games can give an interesting twist to the experience of playing together and this can be seen at its full potential within Populate.
Symmetrical multiplayer games offer players only one perspective and one given set of circumstances. Of course, players will have their own reactions and gaming skills, but the fact remains that they are interacting with the same thing. In contrast, asymmetry allows different players to view different sides of the game.
So how does this work for Populate?
The Populate game prototype consists of a battle between two types of characters: an Attacker and a Defender. The universe of the game is set in a dense forest, with an isolated village at the edge of it. The Explorer leaves the village and arrives at an altar deep in forest where the Forest Deity resides and where the battle takes place.
The Explorer has a specific set of skills that are oriented towards a dynamic scenario. Meanwhile, the Forest Deity can interact with the Explorer and also give orders to his armies of minions.
The asymmetry of the Populate gameplay can easily be summed up like this: while the player who chooses to be an Explorer has a third person action-adventure experience, the one who plays from the perspective of the Forest Deity experiences a type of action-strategy game.
All in all, asymmetry is an important component of the Populate prototype that helps provide gamers with a multitude of options while offering exciting experiences in same shared space from different perspectives. So using asymmetric gameplay is definitely something we won’t get bored with very soon.