Completely unfeasible GTA V DLC ideas thread relating to the Lost and Damned seems to be getting popular around here. How could you expect that I won't drop the bomb on this matter as well?
A bit of a background on how I dug up my ideas.
At first, with the repeated mentioning of 'Johnny Terry and Clay', it became apparent that there could have been a story with these three characters as switchable protagonists, taking place way prior to the events of GTA V.
With Terry, player gets to engage into the meth and arms trading business.
Clay oversees territorial survey, and Johnny leads and handle overall relationships with various gangs as well as management in Lost territories.
But then this idea seemed rather tame in the sense that there is no need to make all three protagonists as Lost bikers; one Lost biker protagonist would have been sufficient and one is all that is needed to tackle all the different sides of the operation.
But bearing the interesting concept of multitude of protagonists in mind, the next step is to wonder who else is going to fill up the character slots and what the story is going to be about. The trafficking deals of Blaine County seemed like the obvious route, but really, did we wanted to play as the Mexican cartel as well as the Lost bikers? would it matter to have three different drug dealing gangs instead of just one?
Then it was the realization that Rockstar already did the work: they created Three biker gangs for the current GTA universe.
So there you have it, Uptown Riders, Angels of Death, and Lost MC.
Now you might start wondering what's the point in having three different biker gangs, they are still going to play the 'same' and it wouldn't be such a different issue as the above mentioned 'play as three different drug cartels' scenario.
The idea here is that each of the biker gang are in Los Santos and Blaine County for different purposes, and all three have negative run-ins with the law enforcement. And the three biker gangs don't behave friendly with one another either.
Last but not least, each of the three gangs includes their own new gameplay features and playstyles to accommodate their individual story.
The theme of the story concerns that of the 'facade', the public 'image', and the overall deceitful nature of those hiding behind the insignia and symbol, whether it be a flag or set of ideals, and in these case, the logo patch of the biker gangs.
A couple of things I ought to mention before diving into the thick of it:
First is that the story is set at an unspecified time Well After the events of GTA V. And so if you're on a itchy trigger finger to face mister Philips, don't bother, you won't find him.
Second is that this game proposal suggests a playstyle that is significantly different from GTA V or even past GTAs. Heists are not much at stake here either, mostly also due to the fact that our three protagonists aren't friendly to one another, and in fact, might as well point that out now, they never will be. It borrows more from GTA IV and the Episodes from Liberty City in terms of creating a specific mood and style, both visual and gameplay, in depicting the three different stories, rather than GTA V's more streamlined rendition.
To the GTA V players who complained so much about the lack of interior accessibility, you won't find such a focus on accessing 'interiors' either. We find it more engaging in handling the outdoor scenery, especially with the biker trope, unless you wanted to see a scene where bikers storm through a mall and riding through stairways on their Harleys.
... hey that's actually a decent idea!
The Uptown Riders are in Los Santos to oversee their import and export relations with the neighboring foreign countries, notably Japan and their selection of motorcycles. The Uptown Riders have gone a long way from the gangland and hood violence; the merchandising idea they had back in Liberty is now their full-time legitimate business and enterprise.
The law enforcement of San Andreas however believes otherwise, they are unconditionally convinced that the Uptown Riders are up to no good, and will stop at nothing to push the Uptown into cracking under pressure and reveal their true enterprise and intentions in Los Santos.
It's a struggle between fundamental prejudice and the hyper-fear of shadow networks. The law enforcement seek to protect society by means of pre-emptive strike, not necessarily due to a corrupt network. The Uptown are just unlucky to have such a negative past image and relations with other gang violence, which they must stress that it is no longer the case today, in order to secure their legitimate international trade enterprise.
The Lost MC makes a gathering at Blaine County, led by the neighbor San Fierro Chapter, joined by a delegate from the Vice City Chapter, and a couple more from Carcer City. At first it appeared sensible that the gathering reunion is both to investigate and avenge the demise of the Blaine County Chapter, especially considering the members that came all the way from the east coast. But a dispute of sorts occurs between the different chapters as different sets of motivations are laid out on the table.
The Vice City chapter isn't as keen on avenging Johnny Klebitz's death as much as they seek to reinstate the 'coast to coast' operation they've barely got started, wishing to continue the flow of this nation wide enterprise and keep their income steady.
The Carcer chapter -a natural 'spiritual successor' to the whole grit and noise-filter tone of Lost and Damned- are adamant in avenging Johnny, believing that sticking to the principles of 'Lost but not Forgotten' is the way to go.
The San Fierro chapter, which is blamed by the other chapters for not having thought of coming to Blaine County sooner to help their neighboring chapter, is met with a lack of 'care'. The San Fierro chapter argues that each of the biker chapter are meant to be living independently from one another, and the successes and failures of each is of nobody but the chapter's own business. Furthermore, the San Fierro chapter is a relatively quiet chapter, they neither deal in drugs or arms trafficking, instead living it off the life of the brotherhood, but in peace, not senseless bloodshed, using even the past Liberty City counterpart as evident example it.
A couple of off-hand references could be made regarding Angus and even the diamonds from GTA IV. The Vice Chapter would have been revealed to be partly funded by Jerry the hobo would found the diamonds and set up a gun shop in Vice. Meanwhile Angus would have gone to Carcer city when Johnny Terry and Clay wanted to make the cross country trip, effectively wishing to retire, and now, after the news of Johnny's end, Angus personally requested a couple of Carcer bikers to head over to Blaine County, to amend his regret of not having convinced Johnny enough to seek an alternative from the meth business.
ANGELS OF DEATH
The Angels of Death receives a different form of treatment compared to the other two biker gangs. The Angels lost their Los Santos and Blaine County territory during the past years after the Liberty chapter came and evicted the Angels by force from their 'home', their original biker movement birth place.
Instead of the usual stereotype of death metal blaring 'eat and choke on my boomstick' portrayal of the past, the Angel's side of the story is a more somber and lonely trip.
Interestingly, playing as the Angels may evoke more memories of Lost and Damned than actually playing as the 'business-only' type of the Lost in this new story.
The Angels of Death in this story are nothing but a ragged patch of roaming brothers. They don't have a home turf, they don't have a place to rest, they only have the jacket on their back, the bikes they ride, and their members close to one another. Contrary to the Lost and Uptown gangs, there isn't a single 'nameless goon' with the Angels. They all have a face and specific characteristic in this twelve angry men convoy.
The story is that after the news that Johnny and co have been eradicated, it gave hope to the homeless Angels to resurface in a bid to claim what was 'rightfully theirs'. Yet their low number, no-organization feel, makes it evident that they are just a patch of nomad outlaws, dagger knives that can travel fast, hit hard, and continue on their road, never stopping. Yet at the same time, going nowhere.
Inspiration to this whole 'nomad' feel can be taken from excerpts in Red Dead Redemption, specifically the treatment of the angry native-americans in revolt of their stolen land seen in the third act.
The Angels of Death portrayed here borrows this sentiment of loss, of being pushed by the looming society out of their habitat. That and the endless days spent wandering under the sun surely cooked up some unwanted thoughts in their heads. The Angels doesn't necessarily indulge into drugs as much as they went partially unhinged, with a string of mysticism flair into the ordeal.
The intentions in delivering the Angel's portion of the story is to re-ignite this 'grounded' approach evoked in Lost and Damned, where the brotherhood mantra is dealt in the forefront, and adding this confined and personal feel to the character you play with, down to the movement he makes on mounting his bike, as if it really was his 'steed' rather than some mere means of transportation, which is unlike how the Uptowns or Lost would behave.
CLASH OF THE OUTLAWS
The inevitable clash between the three biker gangs and the law enforcement comes in various ways.
ANGELS vs. UPTOWN vs. LOS SANTOS
When the Angels of Death makes a trip to Los Santos and spots the de-valuation of the Uptown Riders, of the fact that ex-outlaw gangs would now 'whore' themselves out to appease society, through merchandizing and posters, a celebrity stylized outlook, they decided to pull a hit and run on them. Not as much for the white supremacist ideals of the past but rather for the principle of 'once an outlaw, always an outlaw'. It's this idea they hold that there was something sacred to begin with in this whole biker movement, and the self promotion and merchandising of the Uptown is something hideously shameful. Not the least of which is that the Angels had experiences with placing a positive 'public image' back in Liberty, and that whole program went to the toilet as soon as their primal urge and evident nature took form again during the war with the Lost.
When the Angels attacked and the Uptown had to defend themselves, the police monitors the situation, and rather than assisting the assaulted Uptowns, they let the gang violence deal on its own, before placing the blame on both parties. With the media news team heavily on the side of law enforcement, sending words of caution to the citizens of Los Santos regarding the biker menace, is an injustice the Uptown are outraged at.
Negative publicity was what the Uptown dreaded to have, and to top it all, unhinged bikers on their trail.
LOST versus BLAINE COUNTY versus ANGELS
After the many Blaine County incidents depicted in V, the countryside sheriffs have received a greater budget and resource to counter any other increasing threat, which poses difficulty for the Lost to re-instate the drug business.
The investigations on Johnny and co's demise is met with cold trail when local cartel could not be more specific as to 'who' actually done it other than it was just some crazed hobo with a shotgun.
This is placed in a context where 'Trevor Philips Industries' is shown to be really unknown to much other than, well, Trevor himself and his personal friends.
Scouting the McKenzie airstrip and the Sandy Shores airfield will lead the Lost to run-ins with the law, who had just recently seized both areas.
The Lost eventually come to have a run-in with the Angels, which not only lead the Lost to huge disbelief that the Angels 'still exists', but it convinced them that the Angels were the 'crazed hobos' responsible for catching Johnny and co off-guard in the first place.
The fact that the equally angry Angels neither confirm nor deny the accusations, as the Angels find that the Lost themselves have already much to answer for their current condition, leads to an even easier war ignition.
ANGELS versus BLAINE COUNTY versus LOS SANTOS
With the Uptown and Lost under heavy surveillance from the law and taking all the manhunt resources and budget, and the fact that the Angels operates in desert nomad fashion, easily leads to their 'myth' status from city officials.
Virtually all acts committed by the Angels are blamed upon either the Lost or Uptown, notably because these two biker gangs have a much broader size and influence, and also because the city officials and sheriffs find that the Lost and Angels are 'pretty much the same sad thing', and therefor does not take care in differentiating the two gangs when they have violent encounters. The law treats it as if the Lost were fighting amongst themselves, a belief not so unpopular based on the fact that the Lost are a drug dealing gang, and thus not unsurprising to be prone to self-destruction.
GAMEPLAY AND ATMOSPHERE
In General, it should be noted that the busted/arrested system is treated differently than in past GTAs. Law enforcements are now capable of forcing their suspects to arrest and deny them a 'suicide by cop' last stand by completely surrounding the player, and/or by means of using non-lethal weapons to incapacitate the player.
This causes the player to be cut-off from his allies and deny them a chance to assist their downed friend.
Health system have also been altered, giving a separate health bar to physical pain attained from traffic accidents, and another bar for gunshot wounds. This new system applies to all three gang characters, as well as removal of the 'special abilities' bar in return.
Individual Character Stats makes a return, although they now remain 'fixed' and can not be improved so easily as in GTA V.
All three bikers features specialties in driving bikes. Uptown has specialties in Stealth, Lost in Flying, Angels in Stamina.
Similar to Grand Theft Auto V and its "pursuit of the almighty dollar", the three biker gangs in San Andreas are here mostly for business rather than pleasure. Money is earned in a different fashion, rather than playing the stock markets or abusing the robbery system, each gang has its specific story-related methods in appropriating their resources.
As such, each of the three biker gangs as its own series of gameplay rules and features, all three following the mantra of a specific "M" for 'Money', which are: the Merchandizing, the Meth, and the Myth.
UPTOWN RIDERS - the Merchandizing
"Business is business. And the Angels? They're the Angels" ~ Jim Fitzgerald, 2008, Alderney
The Uptown Riders have to maintain a respectable public appearance throughout the two week in-game time needed until the shipment they're expecting from Japan arrives. In the meantime they rented off a giant hotel complex in Los Santos, serving as the player and the gang's pimped out safehouse, the entire top floors of the hotel suites never goes through a quiet night to say the least.
The playable character is one of the three available-to-play lieutenants of the Uptown Riders, the other two that the player doesn't play as remains your NPC companion.
What this means is that you only get to play as the other two if the one you currently have control over is either in jail/busted, or in the hospital/wasted.
The three lieutenants are not in charge of the gang, they take orders from the higher ranked officers and commanders.
The point of having three-playable-characters within the same gang is due to this concept of keeping the 'respectable popularity' with the city and its citizens: the Uptowns can not afford to repeatedly gain police attention, therefor if your playable character attracts trouble, it will not only bring heat to him but to the entire organization.
You will need to juggle between the actions you partake in and the public relations minigame, which is essentially a dialogue based sequence where you find the best way to promote popularity with the city that praises the excess.
Other means of attaining positive point with the media comes from promoting merchandising items with citizens on the streets. Creating websites and signing deals with various marketing department leads to greater recognition of the Uptown Riders, up to having large publicity banners raised on tall buildings and skyscrapers.
Word of caution though, the more you raise your popularity, the more you 'whore' yourself out in the eyes of the Angels of Death, and the more you risk getting attacked.
Getting provoked into an attack leads you to either fight back, or attempting to flee the scene.
Fighting back results in a series of survival encounter where you hold on as long as you can until the Angels retreats. Because the Angels of Death are comprised of just twelve unique characters, they can not be easily killed through gameplay, and will always flee before risking near death.
Fighting back also results in police notoriety, which will often lead to your character getting arrested and spend time in jail.
During the time where your character is in jail, you've still got the two other lieutenants to play with. Note however that if all three are in jail or incapacitated, you will be forced to deduct a large sum to have your character bailed out. Again, due to the uneasy relationship the Uptown has with city officials, the characters that are busted aren't so easily released after several in game hours and a sum of money, it doesn't work like that with the Uptown. Releasing a jailed member requires huge lawyer fees and setting bails, and the lieutenants are a necessity to the Uptown to ensure protection until the oversea deal arrives after two in game weeks time. Having a high popularity rate will make the law a bit more lenient to your cause, but only just.
Players might decide to basically force-sleep your character until the timed deadline arrives, making the process easier and skipping risky gameplay. Doing so however causes the game to force players into playing as either the Lost or the Angels while the Uptown character is sleeping, and once the character is awake, he will not be permitted to sleep again as he'll be bossed around by his superiors, stating they didn't hire him so that he can rest all day.
Getting wounded by means of traffic accident causes your character to be spending a hefty time in the hospital, waiting for treatment of your bones to heal, or at least until the adrenaline boost drug makes it so that you can walk out of the hospital again. If all three characters are to spend time in hospital then the Uptown will suffer a great blow in their popularity rate, as suddenly no one would be there to keep an eye out of things in the public relations.
Characters that are wounded by means of gunshots spend less time at the hospital, but will have to tackle the press and law figures before being allowed to walk out the streets.
The three-character system also allows you to strategize on which role each lieutenant should take. You could assign for one to strictly act as the 'hitman', which means the brute enforcer. His role would be to attack and defend the Uptowns in case of an attack, or as a payback, but not wearing the Uptown colors or patch, wearing a blank jacket and bandana instead. This therefor sever his 'relation' to the Uptowns, and would often require to spend time in hiding waiting for things to cool off after every hit. But the advantage is that if caught in the act, the police would not associate his dealings with the Uptown, so therefor only he and him alone takes the blame, should things go wrong.
You could also assign another strictly as the entrepreneur or PR representative and avoid using him in any combat situations.
LOST BROTHERHOOD - the Meth
"Times are difficult, there's a recession going on. And as such, you have to make a few compromises" ~ Johnny Klebitz, 2008, Liberty City
With the Lost MC, the player plays as a nameless Lost prospect, or rather, as a whole 'basket' of Lost prospects.
Contrary to the Uptown lieutenants, if the Prospect dies, then he stays dead, and the player is given another Lost prospect to play with.
If the Prospect is arrested, then he is kept in jail or in the penitentiary. If kept in the penitentiary, you could pay visit to him. There is no possibility for bailouts, and unlike the Uptowns who are given the choice as to whether disclose the lack of relations with the arrested lieutenant or not, the Lost prospect will always be viewed upon as guilty as they refuse to give-in to media representative, and as proud as they are of being part of the Lost Brotherhood, the prospect will never consider denying his involvement either.
The difference between each of the given prospect to play with comes in fact from the different chapters. Once the player loses the prospect from the Vice chapter, he'll next be playing as the Carcer chapter prospect, then the San Fierro chapter, then back at Vice, and so on. Never as the same chapter twice in a row.
The jailed prospect will also only be visited by his 'brother' from the same chapter he is from. So if he was with the Carcer chapter, the player may have to lose two more prospects before returning to the Carcer chapter and be able to pay his brother a visit.
This new system of wasted/busted comes in relation to the in-universe treatment of the Lost figures when they are either 'lost but not forgotten' or 'buried alive', as seen in their website and clubhouse memorial, as portrayed in Lost and Damned.
All three Lost chapters are united together in Blaine county however, and all operate under the same flag. The difference being their chapter leader's intentions, which may occasionally give rise to alternative objective depending on which of the chapter you ride by. But never is the idea seeking to betray one another put in place.
Unless the story demands for a schism to be put in place ... And whether the Angels of Death places enough pressure on the Lost ...
Because the Sandy Shores Airfield and McKenzie Hangar are under the sheriff's surveillance, the Lost find themselves setting camp Within the northern woods and mountain valleys, making use of this often overlooked map territory in GTA V. The tricky road path and desolate feel of the area gives them the ideal position to set up shop, including a makeshift helipad.
The Lost's goal is to re-instate their meth market, as such the player will have to protect, escort, and lead the different merchandises and take them to the areas closest to where it is destined to. San Fierro from up north for example would regularly send in shipment by sea, requiring you to use the helicopter and retrieve the out-of-bounds merchandises in the Pacific Ocean and head back to the mountains.
Meanwhile the export business back to Vice needs you to follow the highways in the east sides of the map and head to the docks at the Elysian Island down south, another under-used territory in GTA V, and operate your smuggling business there, before even potentially setting-up an outpost there in one of the abandoned warehouses.
Other possible outposts of use includes the two bars often frequented by Blaine County Lost Bikers, the Hookies on the west, and another bar in the north east of Los Santos.
The Blaine County Lost that remains in these two bars may not take kindly to the 'other' Lost chapter's involvement for various reasons as well; disliking Vice chapter's blunt intention of just wanting to return to the trafficking business and the San Fierro chapter for not having sent assistance sooner, for example.
Meanwhile the Carcer chapter often tackles head-on against local Latin American gangs in their relentless investigation of Klebitz's death, which in turn leads to unwanted attention with the other lucrative businesses.
ANGELS OF DEATH - the Myth
"Today, the Angels are finished! They're but a myth!" ~ Random Lost Biker, 2013, San Andreas
As described earlier the Angels of Death have neither a home nor territory of their own, except for their bikes, and their brothers, and perhaps even 'sisters' given the out-of-shape situation they are in, anybody still friendly to one another counts.
Perhaps the biggest notable difference as soon as you start playing as the Angels is their complete disregard for tools of the digital age. Namely, mini-map and cellphones. They use neither.
The mini-map hud is thus gone, requiring the player to explore the landscape through their own senses and memories. This further gives the sprawling 'scope' feel of the land and city, the camera by default is also given a wider edge and look.
The lack of cellphone isn't so much as a detriment when you consider how the gang always roll together, so you can never lose track of your close allies. However the lack of cellphone also suggests the lack of 'touch' with the media and news of world events, further giving the Angels this desolate and 'ruined' feel.
Lack of cellphone to contact your allies is replaced by a new selection of 'handling orders' table, akin to the new select weapon slow motion wheel, the Angels can give and receive orders from one another. Orders ranges from taking cover in a specific position you aim your cursor at, targeting a specific enemy or vehicle, defending, suppress, or retreat.
You only play as One Angel of Death member, however, because of their small number and lack of hierarchy -implied to be a mutual decision to treat each other as equals-, they are each as valuable to one another. So while you can give out orders to assist you, you can also be expected to receive orders asking for your aid.
The Angels of Death characters are named specifically so that, if taken by the first alphabet letter of their first name, you can form out "The Lost (and) Damned B", 'B' as in 'side-B' or 'part II', or just 'bikers'.
Here's an example of the first names given to the bikers, point remains on the use of the first letter anagram:
Theodore - Holden - Edmund
Lynch - Otto - Smith - (Theodore)
Dustin - Arthur - Mortimer - Norman - (Edmund) - (Dustin)
And finally Bain, the playable protagonist.
The name comes mostly from 'Blaine' County, but the etymology of the name can also be traced to the slang for 'bones', referring to the skeletal enterprise of the Angels, or 'white', which refers to the near-white supremacist mantra of the gang in its past days, and last but not least 'Bain' is also French word for 'bath', which is what he and his buddies here are sorely needing, and adds to the whole Rockstar humor thing.
Aside from this easter egg to Lost and Damned's title, the importance here is to stress out the Angel's unity despite being a wrecked flagless gang. The contrast here is in having a full cast of named character, each with his own avatar model, voice, and personality, against the nameless and endless supply of prospect goons from the Lost and the constant measures of business value and interest the Uptown treats its own.
The Angels of Death treats the Wasted and Busted system differently as well.
If Bain is severely wounded he will black out, and awaken some time later at a distant location as the Angels treats his wounds through a limited supply of medicine and drugs they have. This limited supply of medicine will have to be constantly refurbished and appropriated, through theft, either at hospitals or by sabotaging supply trains.
The aspect of Biker attacking supply trains, either through derailing the train or jumping on board from drive-bys, along with their general rugged and covered in dust appearance, intentionally gives a reminiscent look to the age old classic view of the native americans and bandit attacks on passenger trains during the wild west.
The dirty look of the Angels in general also serves as a narrative tool wherein the sheriffs are unable to see the difference between them and the Lost, and therefor falsely accusing of the Lost on the acts perpetrated by the Angels, which leaves the Lost confused, and provoking suspicion on one another amongst the three Lost chapters that are striking their fragile alliance.
Contributing to the themes of perception and public identities.
This is part of the increasingly volatile relationship tackled between each gangs, as the acts that benefits each biker gang ends up causing harm or provoking another. An idea that was tackled with the Trinity affair in GTA IV, but disappointingly under-used in GTA V.
Attacking supply trains and military convoys in the desert, with options of setting wide variety of ambushes in the hills, is also a necessity for the Angels to appropriate their weapon arsenal. This gives a more desperate angle and necessity in 'looting' for supplies when playing as the Angels, where they simply walk into an Ammunation shop an buy their arsenal for two reasons.
There's an increase in city-wide lockdown regarding the whole biker menace situation -partially affecting the Uptown and Lost as well in regards to Ammunation- thus leading the appropriation of high-grade hardware from these biker gangs difficult. Secondly, whereas the Uptowns and Lost have the money resources to 'bribe' vendors into backroom deals, the Angels doesn't have a dime in their pocket.
Nor does the Angels feel the need to appropriate monetary resources either, as the things they need, weapons and health kits, can be appropriated through brute force.
Only if the story demands that the Angels gain a necessary fund do their resort into ugly businesses that can get them the money they need to use it for whatever reasons they inquire to, and not spending it for leisure or clothing or ammos, unlike most other GTA protagonists ever does. The Angels strictly use money as a source to attain their goal, and progress the storyline, in their continuous work of attaining their mythical status.
If Bain is arrested, the law will similarly keep him in jail as they will do to the Lost prospects.
However, rather than just leaving their brother to rot, the remaining 'lost and damned' Angels will ... you've guessed it. Storm the place and free their brother.
This either leads to storming the local sheriff's office or police precinct, by numerous means of just walking by the front door or using a tanker to bust into the building, or wait until the prison bus leading to the penitentiary is on route to attack the moving target.
The player will temporally play as another member of the Angels in the meantime, and can not proceed through the story unless Bain is freed again. This will require to perform more train robberies or convoy ambushes if resources are low to carry the operation.
If Bain is repeatedly arrested in the same location that the Angels have already succeeded in breaking him out from, the law enforcement's presence will increase.
And finally, if needed, Bain will be directly sent to the state penitentiary.
So what do the Angels do? They storm the bigger castle and free their comrade.
What was once a singular story event is now treated as an optional/random gameplay event, that may or may not be repeated.
If Lost prospects were located in the penitentiary during the prison break, they will along with the other prisoners attempt to flee, and if successful they'll return to their chapter and bring them of the news of the death roving Angels, further leading to jaw-dropping reactions.
The player can also choose to directly find and kill the imprisoned Lost prospect, if they so wishes, and recognizes the Lost prospect's face during the riot.
Because of the importance of the Angels of Death biker members as oppose to nameless troopers, there's bound to be some gameplay tweaks as to how gunfights will now occur. Rather than killing-off the Angels easily when playing as Lost or Uptown, they can only force the Angels to properly retreat, or at best, survive the random attacks and flee.
If an Angel is wounded, their medical attention and needs are obligatory for the player to watch over. Wounded Angels can't just be tapped in the back and pulled back on their feet, they will have to be escorted away from the scene, which will also force a couple of other Angels to ride their wounded friend away, back to a secluded random hideout.
And because the Angels never contacts by means of traceable communication, the law and rival gangs can never properly locate the nomad Angels' hideouts.
Setting up a temporary hideout with the Angels allows the player to enjoy some passive and 'safe' moments with the other characters, through banters and drinking and laughing, a montage of sorts to depict this very close and bonding brotherhood, and a far cry to the always "deadbeat" enemy to be shamelessly killed as shown in past games.
The Angels of Death are also depicted as half-unhinged through other moments during these passive safe zone moments. Bain for example will often be fixated on the watching of the starry night stars. At times, if reverting back to the Angels after playing through with Lost and Uptown, transition moments may also depict Bain rambling on his own, drinking on his own while walking in the desert and tossing the beer bottle to the ground. But unlike GTA V protagonists who may also be caught in similar situations, Bain never seems to be 'drunk', and the screen never goes hazy or wobbles around.
Instead at times it even appears to give an additional 'flair' to the visual, at times even making it seem clearer.
These are part of the plot points regarding the 'landless' mentality of this lost tribe, and overall the most depressing, if not atmospheric, story content in this three-sided-tale.
And as you can see, probably the biggest contribution in terms of actual narrative and gameplay content I've contributed! And there's more!
Mission markers are treated differently, mostly due to the lack of the mini map GPS HUD.
In Red Dead Redemption and GTA V, the 'strangers' side missions would at times, rather than pinpointing an exact spot to trigger the next sub-objective, display a circular colored area at one spot of the map, tasking the playing in finding the object or person of interest within the vague designated spot.
Angels of Death's mission structure takes great inspiration from this idea, and applying it to its whole mission branch: when starting as the Angels, if you head over to the pause menu map screen, you'll see a gigantic red colored circle that covers the entire map of the game.
The idea here is to immerse the players into this nomad feel of "knives travelling through the desert" by never precisely indicating 'where' a mission has to be started. Instead, players are encouraged to simply ride along with the whole convoy across the entire map, and missions are triggered instantly as you ride along and pass by the appropriate location. Except that since it is never properly indicated on-screen, it lends to this idea that the Angels operate under a string of continuously random events and situations, where, appropriately, there is no sign of a destination, but it's also the journey that matters anyway.
It also give credence to the image that the Angels of Death pretty much operates like an underground cell militia, ready to implode on the city at will, at anytime, and never stay put in one spot for long.
Thus furthering the need of placing importance in actual outdoor geographical scenery, rather than indoor confined interiors.
Some additional inspirations as to setting an atmosphere to the Angels of Death from these incidental musics, which could be listened both on foot and while riding:
Two instrumental tracks from the 2012 video game Hitman Absolution, where a portion of the game took place in the barren locales of South Dakota.
The David Bowie song, "Somebody up there likes me", which was previously used on the rock ballad channel of San Andreas back in 2004.
And Robert Plant's Big Log, used in GTA V, specifically for its instrumental work.
Eventually at one point or another players will find themselves unable to always save their Angel brothers; the new story-based design makes the npc tougher to die in principle, but that doesn't mean their death to be an impossibility.
It can happen while playing as Bain, or while controlling Uptowns or Lost, not just in scripted situation, but in random skirmish as well. And the story will revolve around it as well, taking into account the seamless gameplay event, to the point where, yes, the Angels of Death can be wholly decimated long before the 'defined end' of their story branch if the players don't play they cards right.
There was a random news article in GTA V, where it described a new funeral parlor service where, instead of placing the body of the deceased lying in the coffin, this new service will put bodies into 'action poses', so that the deceased may appear to be doing the thing he had always liked doing, such as sitting on the couch in front of the television or driving or sun-bathing on a yacht, "facing eternity" as the news article described.
One such example of body position is thus of sitting and riding on a motorcycle.
I thought it would be intriguing if the Angels of Death took this idea seriously and perform it on one of their brothers. Perhaps even as a fear tactic, such as the El Cid myth where the dead leader is forcefully mounted on his horse to lead the charge against the enemy, providing morale to his troops and deliver an unexpected blow to the enemy.
The Angels may as well perform such an act, or even booby-trap the dead-riding-biker.
As you can see I haven't described just how the story for each of the three gangs end, mostly because I myself haven't cooked up a satisfying conclusion, but also for you to have something to play and dream with.
However there is one thing I thought that would be worth exploring, on the subject of player's choice.
PLAYER'S CHOICE ON PLOT TWIST
As an interesting element to the theme of facade and insignia, is the possible hidden identities or motives within each of the biker gangs. 'Possible', because it will be entirely up to the player to choose as to whether these hidden motives are real to their narrative or not.
Throughout the story there would be signs that indicates a purpose and/or suspicious elements that leads to different assumptions than what is actually stated to be:
The Uptown Riders' heavy insistence on overseeing their trade market and over abundance of merchandising is interpreted by the police as a scam front to hide their illegal activities.
If the player so chooses, this can indeed be the case, where the Uptowns are truly in Los Santos to conduct a lucrative drug business, and potentially participate in human trafficking on the other side of the border. Or, it could merely remain as unlawful accusations, and that the Uptown were merely here for their prized motorcycle collection, which they believe it is of their right to have the product they paid for after all.
This adds an entirely new approach and view to all the gameplay events that precedes it: were the Uptowns' PR media and responses a legitimate business ambition or was it a careful diversion from their illicit import/export enterprise? did the player voluntarily lied to the law and to media, pretending to be a victim of prejudice and circumstance, in a shameless effort to make profit as an organized crime estate? or was this all a misunderstanding from a city that is increasingly worried with the sudden and inexplicable rise of crime as a consequence to the plot depicted in GTA V?
Meanwhile the different motivations from the various Lost chapters could carry an additional motive underneath if the player so chooses. The Vice chapter's insistence on re-establishing the coast to coast operation is as much as merely a business standpoint where greed may or may not be involved, as much as it could have been an undercover police operation all along, where the point was to re-instate the nation wide operation in order to bust the whole biker trafficking business all under one single master stroke.
The Carcer chapter is as much as vengeful in wishing to honor Johnny as much as they could be in fact a different gang pretending to 'be' Lost bikers in the first place. In fact, they may not even be gangsters at all, but disgruntled veterans who as much wanted to avenge Johnny as they wished Johnny to be dead in the first place. Either because they believed what Johnny did to the Lost to be unworthy of what the original Lost biker gang were made out to be back in the post Vietnam years of the seventies. Or in fact these are modern-day veterans who, under the wish of the equally-recently deceased Michael Klebitz, Johnny's brother, who are concerned in carrying out their former-US Marine friend.
The San Fierro chapter isn't as cool headed as they appear to be as much as they are in fact shameless profiteers eager to benefit from the death of Johnny and co by reinstating a bigger and better lucrative trade market in order to quickly cash-in and desert the organization, as they are but unhappy citizens who just seeks a big paycheck at the end of the day to seek for a more at-ease lifestyle in the Vinewood Hills, and aren't really so much into this whole "brothers for life" philosophy.
Or hell, one of these three chapters may even in fact be Angels of Death from the Midwest, who caught and killed the real envoy from Carcer Vice or Fierro, and disguised as them, both to sabotage the new Blaine county chapter as much as they seek to 'congratulate' whosoever killed Klebitz in the first place.
Last but not least the Angels of Death's return in the region which is deemed so surreal by all the participants of the story as well as the San Andreas populace is potentially because, quite simply ... they are not Angel bikers to begin with.
They were mere hobos, homeless people, thieves and gravediggers, citizens who were caught by the recession, friends who lost their families or betrayed by their friends, simple people who failed to attain a place or lost their position in society. And one day, one of them found a stash of abandoned Angels of Death jackets, tools, and bikes. After the Liberty and Alderney Lost chapter moved in to San Andreas they Were successful in banishing the Angels completely, those left-overs of the gang just dumped their supplies and equipment and ran.
Now it's just a rat pack of nameless folks who took on the identity and lifestyle of the banished folks, took the names inscribed on the jackets and pretended to be them and reinstate a community of their own, and use their new identities as a pretense to mock about the society they couldn't fit in, yet wanted to be with in the first place. Embracing the identities of the damned and using it to justify their presence and aimless directives.
But all of these secondary characteristic and hidden truth and motives are only up to the players to unravel it if they see it fit as their playstyle and beliefs.
None of these revelations will appear unless the player so chooses, but the elements that can foreshadow these plot twists will still be there to accommodate with the player's decision, therefor if the player choose not to follow this alternative path, they'll remain as red-herrings.
Instead of making the players choose a pre-defined end, where one option leads X to die while another leads Y to die and so on, here is a narrative decision where players chooses the 'meaning' of the journey they partake -which stays the same regardless of the choice- rather than the destination.
All in all it still remains a depressing atmospheric tale, which is probably what a spiritual successor to Lost and Damned would have felt like, I believe.
It could have just stuck with the whole simple concept of an outlaw biker gang and 'giving the man the finger' again and just be done with it, but considering the degradation of the criminal lifestyle Rockstar has been portraying in their games lately lately, this tale of loss of position, deceits, and expectation, in interior and exterior of both the biker's own community and the society at large, seems fitting for the biker trope.
That and, three biker gangs for three character slots, just seems begging for it.