Blood, Guts, 'N Glory (BGnG) can't possibly be real, but project creator Tejay Beauparlant assures me it is.
Beauparlant and his business partners are raising money on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to launch BGnG, a real-life combat shooter where your explicit goal is to inflict physical pain on other people.
If the Kickstarter is successful, people will be able to pay $100 for the ability to run around in video game-like environments and zap each other with light electric currents. While I'm unsure why anyone would pay to get hurt, it seems people don't really mind being electrocuted.
"This is using all military equipment."
Beauparlant tells me over the phone that most people love playing action video games and watching heroes in action movies save the day: BGnG aims to give ordinary people the opportunity to be in the middle of the action, to be the hero, to fight the zombies and to take out the insurgents. And it'll do it with real weapons, real combat and real pain.
"We didn't want to come across as paintball or some kiddy laser-tag game," Beauparlant says. "This is using all military equipment. Everything is wireless so every stat you can pull out of a video game like Call of Duty or Battlefield will be tracked. You'll have to change magazines, carry extra ammo. You're not walking around with a two-pound toy. You're walking around with a nine-pound real automatic weapon."
The weapons Beauparlant refers to don't shoot bullets, of course. They shoot infrared beams. Every participant and enemy (played by actors) wears a "pain belt," which registers the beams and produces six levels of feedback. The lowest form of feedback is a slight vibration. Then there are five levels of light electric shocks that vary in the amount of pain they cause. The lasers aren't your standard laser-tag beams, either. They shoot through glass, smoke, haze, cloth, fog and wood.
Welcome to the apocalypse
BGnG plans to offer participants two tracks to choose from. There's the post-apocalyptic zombie track, where teams of five, led by a security personnel, make their way through a series of rooms as they solve puzzles and fight off zombies and mutants. The actors who play the zombies wear their own version of pain belts, which come in the form of a vest and headband. If players can shoot at the quarter inch target on the headband, it counts as a headshot and the zombie stays down.
I ask Beauparlant about melee attacks, since getting into fist fights with zombies and hitting them over the head with weapons is a large part of most zombie games. He says the project organizers will ensure players don't make physical contact with the actors, and the only kind of pain they can inflict on each other is through the zap of the pain belts.
"There are sound effects, it'll squirm, and that eyeball isn't going to come out easy..."
"We will maintain a four to five foot separation between actors and players," Beauparlant says. "What we don't want to do is having a zombie or mutant actor corner a player in a room and have the player reach out and punch them."
According to Beauparlant, the zombie track will take place across a dozen rooms, each filled with live actors and mannequins. The sets, which are being designed by professionals who have worked on TV shows like The Walking Dead (Beauparlant himself is a prop designer who has worked on films like Iron Man), will be dressed to look like a laboratory that has experienced a zombie outbreak.
"It's almost like walking through a bad haunted house with people in there that want to kill you," he says. "You're not looking at a screen — you're living it. You have to step over and climb over things."
In one room, players will have to find a way to turn on the power, activate a computer and clear a retina scanner on a door to access another room. Beauparlant says the only "person" in the room with an eye that can clear the scanner is a mannequin bolted to the floor under a table. In order to get the mannequin's eye to the scanner, players will have to cut it out.
"The mannequin is incredibly realistic and life-like," Beauparlant says. "There's a medical device in it that makes it move. There are sound effects, it'll squirm, and that eyeball isn't going to come out easy. It's going to have all the velcro hook fasteners, so getting it out is going to be a gruesome, nasty experience.
"The people that like horror will love this."
In the battlefield track, players will enter a re-created war-torn region. The organizers said the set was originally going to be based on Fallujah, a city in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, but they recently changed it to a more neutral location due to the controversial nature of Fallujah's role in the Iraq War.
BGnG will build out an urban war environment and players will combat insurgents and other special forces, also played by actors. Similar to the zombie track, teams in the battlefield track will be accompanied by a security personnel who will guide players through the challenges and be on hand in case of emergencies.
"Everyone loves action-oriented games and movies, and when we look at some of those things, we see some of the coolest situations that you can't get in real life," Beauparlant says. "Our goal is to put people right in the middle of that."
The project is currently seeking $125,000 to fund the developer of its sets, which will be built in Atlanta, Georgia. If successfully funded, the project will have a limited run from Oct. 29 — Dec. 31. We'll know then if it's real.
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