Grappling Hooks in Modern Video Games
The Game Mechanic No One Talks About
When was the first time you used a grappling hook in a Video Game?
Could you even remember how long ago?
So far grappling hooks have not appeared to have the spotlight it seems to deserve, a mechanic that many modern games deem as a must-have in their movement range. We have seen very little into understanding in detail why this feature is appearing more and more.
Grappling Hooks have appeared in video games in the starting from 40 years ago. Players that have experience this mechanic up-to the present day would have gathered long-term experience and would adjust to the various attempts at this mechanic.
Even a very famous super-hero moves in a fashion similar to grappling hooks and has since had many games based on them.
Simply put, games are evolving and as we reach a limit of moving across a only 4 directions as a human-based character (Forward, Backwards, Left, Right) the only two options is down and up.
Down usually means swimming and Up mean flying, but grappling hooks is the solution to both. Swing from a high location to go down, and from a low location to achieve a new height. Something that extend the range of movement in a game primarily aimed at having both feet on the ground but allowing a player to take off from those feet, even just for a small period.
The most interesting element about grappling hooks are that they are not exactly real, they are a sort of fictional tool when shown in games, there are forms of grappling hooks in real-life, but none could achieve the feats that video games do.
We have experience something that has stormed games as a new movement feature that many users already exposed to a range of games would need very little guidance to know how it works and how to use it.
The result is that is has become a 6th sense to most user, as familiar to those who know how to use WASD on a keyboard to move as it is to use a Grappling Hook.
Exploring the Mechanic in Unreal 4
As part of the research, I created my own range of grappling hook implementations and had a range of users who play games to test and provide responses into where their preferences lie with the mechanic.
Only the Beginning
Grappling Hooks are not going anywhere, in-fact more and more games are introducing this mechanic. Researching this mechanic in 2019 have we seen that in only two years a new wave of modern titles is beginning to introduce this mechanic when possible. No game can emphasise movement can be the same without it.