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Hahah, by ‘player shooting themselves’ I meant the game protagonist, of course, not the player!))
btw, the ‘surrendered’ player can restart the game and and see ‘himself’ standing\lying as another mannequin (broken).
If I may indulge in a little more speculation while salivating about your game mechanics (considering what you said above).
First off, ‘tongue-in-cheek’ horror is a compromise, imho. If you look at horror games that really did succeed, you’ll notice that they didn’t go that way, didn’t dilute it with humor or make it softer ‘to appeal to wider audience’. They appealed to THEIR audience. They didn’t listen to the people saying ‘ooh, no, that’ prolly too scary’. Remember, the whole genre was nearly killed by industry managers who thought ‘hmm, that probably is a bit too scary for our target audience, let’s make it more tongue-in-cheek’. And then saw the whole thing fail. Please don’t make that mistake.
Imagine if Red Barrels got hooked with some publisher and asked them, ‘Okay, we’ve got this blood-drenched asylum with insane sexually challenged freak stabbing our protagonist in the crotch, whereas the inmates have their genitals freely hanging. You think its okay for an AAA title?’ You can imagine the odds that publisher would say ‘Okay, good to go!’ Pretty close to none. That’s why Red Barrels shy away from such publishers and eventually they won, by creating a very off-putting, fairly disgusting, but very successful game. Because they din’t do compromises.
We played your pre-alpha with my wife yesterday, and it made us realize how the mannequin mechanics (while being a real, genuine gameplay innovation) invoke the ‘lucid nightmare’ feel, because in a bad dream you rarely actually see something moving; the nightmare is something that’s just there, with you simply registering it being there (dropping bricks on the way from such realization)). So, for your game strength lies exactly there, in inducing that weird dream-state with the player. The whole ‘static menace’ mannequin scheme replicates how our nightmares function, when we sleep.
When you are chased by a horror in a nightmare dream, what you are afraid of is NOT actually dying. You are afraid because of NOT KNOWING what will happen if you are caught!
That’s why a mere ‘death of the player’ is simply not scary enough, in the circumstances of this game. The whole ‘being chased and killed’ model is simply too old for you, too cliche.
That’s why whichever protagonist-death-sequence you eventually opt for, it should serve the same purpose: make the player EXPERIENCE MORE WEIRDNESS. Like, make a player ‘wake up’ (respawn) after death someplace, with the world around changed visibly. Or make him wake up in a ‘temporary’ world for a while, where all mannequins are lying around (not standing), and then wake up again (this time effectively restarting a level).
So scrap ‘player death’, I’d say. Weirdness is your money in the bank, with this particular game. It’s like the slogan for your game would be: ‘YOU THOUGHT DYING WAS SCARY? WE’VE GOT SOMETHING WORSE FOR YOU’. And that is a winning ticket.
<end rant> ))