A neat aspect about gameplay development for this generation of games comes from design choices centered around interactivity. Both the PS4 and Xbox One have native options for streaming gameplay content on Twitch, and the notion of bringing others into your gameplay experience is a prevailing thought behind creating a number of games these days. Nowhere else is that more evident than in Rise of the Tomb Raider, with Twitch announcing gameplay features for Twitch broadcasters that allow for viewers to affect their own gameplay session.
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Broadcasters playing Rise of the Tomb Raider can undergo Expedition Mode in order to implement such features. Sporadically during the course of the game, the choice between two Expedition challenge cards pops up. Which one will be implemented will be decided by the fans, with the resulting card’s effect running for 5 minutes, a death or a reset, whichever is quickest. Such effects are silly (rainbow trail, big head), advantageous (headshots resulting in poison gas clouds, slowdown bubbles) or challenging (dying once ends the replay of the level).
Even more surprising is that voting for certain challenges or features for the streamer you’re watching can benefit you, the player. Those broadcasting Rise of the Tomb Raider through the Xbox One Twitch app will allow those participate in said streams to receive gifts from completed side missions, challenges, crypts or specific achievements. Viewers have 30 days to retrieve them from the Rise of the Tomb Raider in-game marketplace.
While playing Expedition Mode means having beat the game already (defeating some of the surprise in playing the game’s story), it goes to show that development of gameplay features are starting to go beyond just the owner of the game. Tailoring experiences for the audience member brings an unforeseen focus from companies on promoting players to promote their games in exchange in a unique, interactive way. Hopefully, such ideas for social promotion in games don’t get more nefarious than that, but seeing how we’re more than a decade removed from horse armor DLC, ideas can evolve quickly.