As any fool with a spirit level would be able to tell you, multiplayer has never been all that symmetrical, but that hasn't stopped developers from attempting to unbalance it even further. Left 4 Dead's competitive multiplayer, for example, is as asymmetrical as a Shoreditch haircut, pitting a team of zombies against a team of normals and giving each an opposing goal to achieve. The comparatively minimalist The Flock (opens in new tab) takes things in a tenser, less action-packed direction, using elements of Capture the Flag and Doctor Who's 'Blink' episode to fuel a shadow-drenched horror game for four players. It looks faintly bloody terrifying, as you can see from the first gameplay trailer, below.
The Flock was announced at around this time last year (opens in new tab) , but this is the first slice of gameplay footage that has snuck out of Vogelsap HQ since then. It works a little like this. Players start the game as members of an agile alien race known as The Flock. Their goal is to find the coveted Light Artifact, and the first player to successfully do so will be rewarded by being transformed into a more humanoid, slower and more vulnerable Carrier creature. A Carrier will win the game by remaining alive for ages and automatically accruing a load of points; one of the Flock, on the other hand, can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by killing the Carrier before they do so.
The light-emitting artifact should make finding the Carrier fairly easy - but that same light is harmful to The Flock. To get around this, and to lie terrifyingly in wait, The Flock can turn themselves into stone, an act that a) makes them invulnerable, and b) I'm not sleeping tonight.
The Flock is the rare indie game to have been granted access to Steam without having to go through Steam Greenlight, though there's no release date yet. (Thanks, Eurogamer (opens in new tab) .)