If you are viewing this web page, there is a strong chance that you came across the expression ‘I’ve been urbed’. But what does it really mean?
A little bit of history:
Urb is few things. First of all it is my name, which is derived from my older moniker (urbanprophet.. don’t judge it was 1994). At some point on the very old urbanprophet.com website, a user made a reference to how hard and unforgiving my game was based on the three first letters of that nick name. ‘U’ for unfair, ‘R’ for random and ‘B’ for brutal. Since then, it caught on and has been the motto of every project done within this community.
Unfair: The core principle of Urb Games is that they won’t take you by the hand. Ever. They will actually slap your hand, spit on your face and kick you in the junk. They will not give you the expected tutorials and reassuring early victories to build up your fragile ego. If a Vietcong armed with an RPG surprises your squad with their pants down and all bunched up, he will shoot a rocket in the middle of that squad. No questions asked. Even if it’s your first mission. No Care Bear stuff. Sorries. When you boot an Urb Game for the first time, you’re in it. The real deal from day 1.
You are a guest in a very treacherous world filled with hatred and gruesome realities that has been living without you before and will carry on after it has dispatched you. To me, this is the foundation of violence which is a pillar for fun in hard video games. Why? Because it is a caricature of how the real world works. Luck, as bitchy as she is, is part of many aspect of our life and if there is combat involved, even more so. More than enough, I’ve seen very good soldiers ending up with the short straw and consequently not so good/undeserving soldiers ending up with all the good go’s.
A shit sandwich does not warn you, you don’t expect it and it drops on you full force. It helps the immersion, makes you feel vulnerable and constantly on the edge. It also empowers victories and survival significantly. When you prevail in an Urb Game, you earned it. Be proud. Was it luck? Was it skill? Who cares, the day is yours. Remember, every beast is tameable… especially if you beat them hard enough (see brutality).
Random: Every game I make are extensively randomized and this for only one reason: replayability. People have been playing Mud and Blood 2 for seven years now and still have unique and crazy experiences. My goals is to give the player a world filled with its own rules and let them loose in it. Experiment and find new ways to prevail and hurt the enemy as much as they want to punish you. A pure sand box experience.
Nothing is scripted and events unfold in a chaotic way awfully similar to RL. This type of game takes more time to code and are hard to balance. When you have so many moving pieces it is a challenge to not disturb this delicate symbiosis by adding an element that influences the world too much. If it is done properly however, you end up with a sandbox filled with amazing adventures and crazy stories waiting to be lived (take a look at our forums)
Brutality: Lastly, the brutality part. In all our games death is violent, quick and to some extent common. Life is cheap in the worlds I create. You have that soldier that is under your command for some time. You appreciate the guy. He is experienced, effective under fire and has never failed you. He is the pillar of your squad and you build the team around him. Well guess what: Urb’s games don’t care about your bromance. No saving throws; no second chances. One day he will step on a mine or peek over the sandbag wall and it’ll be over. He’ll become blood in the mud and war will move on. Some will even go and affirm that because this guy was the solution to too many problems Murphy’s Law took care of him.
But brutality goes both ways. Due to the extensive randomization empowered by the unfairness of the world we created, the winds of war can sometime turn in your favor. Sometimes, while it appeared your faith was sealed, suddenly you find a weak spot in the enemy strategy. Not because the game decided your self estime was hurt, but because of you, the player was able to see an opportunity amidst the chaos of battle. If well executed, brutality will be experienced by your enemies in a way and to an extent that most games are not willing to allow in their controlled environments (see random). Is there not something more satisfying than hurting your enemies so much that it changes the dynamic of the game your playing?