Why, in the every-loving gaze of the Stag Man, are there just Roman examples when I search “Hannibal games”? While not the most transferable concept to ever exist, I’d have thought there would be one or two brave developers to make something succulent out of this great beast. Hold on…
There’s not even a Red Dragon game! What the hello, world?! Fine, I’ll do it myself!
Take the Characterization of Hannibal…
The rise of Hannibal Lecter was a complete surprise when a wider audience saw him on the big screen almost 30 years ago. Not so much to see him (Brian Cox had done the character before), but to both be so charmed and terrified of him. The modern example is the television show that has Mads Mikkelsen as the titular psychiatrist to highly-praised cult status.
The violence, while married to the character, always seemed secondary to the charismatic mental cultivation of Hannibal’s ideas into another’s mind. His is an imaginative, almost-ethereal sense of beauty that only the demented can ever connect with. He is patient, he is controlled, and he does not make many mistakes. How does one take down a serial killer that eats his evidence?
Of course, you also have Hannibal attempting to, on occasion, connect with another person, which is where deeper characterization comes in. He can be open and receptive to fellow scholars (of a certain, unhinged type) or even just to those he finds interesting at the time. His curiosity and boredom is what can set up some of his greatest successes and failures, making him as interesting a psychopath as has ever been created.
Add the Interrogations of LA Noire
Imagine a game where you’re an FBI agent working with Hannibal Lecter as your boss or a special agent. He accompanies you on missions and helps you characterize these terrible, awful killers that you then have to catch. I don’t picture this as an “open-world” game so much as an open area. Clues are littered everywhere and can be extremely missable with a quick-travel option between potential crime scenes. In that sense, you are in a place where Hannibal has very direct power of you, making your only option solving cases to strike out from under his shadow.
The juicy bits would be in the interrogations where your agent will have to really hammer away at this person with all the evidence found. This would be something of a deeper take on Phoenix Wright to where their statements would have to be picked apart to uncover more branches. These would lead to cracking the case eventually to move you forward, or backwards in your career.
A new mechanic that would light this puppy up is having Hannibal in the room with you as your advisor. If you wish to bend just a little, Hannibal would be able to give you some advice on how to proceed or which buttons to push. You’ll have to confide and trust in him in order to really gain the insight you’re seeking, therein giving players risk and reward.
Of course, we all know where this leads eventually: you will have to take down Hannibal the Cannibal. But how dependent have you been on him the whole time? How many of your techniques have you shared? When you finally do get Hannibal into an interrogation situation, you’ll have to bring out all available stops to topple his incredible defenses. Otherwise, Hannibal may end up pinning the whole wrap on you in the end and fleeing to kill again.
This is a concept that could lead to a multiple-ending adventure filled with tension and intelligent design decisions. And it’s not like L.A. Noire clones are in vogue these days. So, bring it to life!