What would make it even more interesting, for me at least, is if you could find a way to make the game output somehow 'alien', an interpetation of what a rat would sense, so you couldn't completely rely on your human intellect.
I have actually thought about this a bit, but for another project. The idea holds true for the rat game though. Rats don't have very good eyesight, in fact their vision is terrible, but they can orient with touch (whiskers) smells and hearing.
Here's a site that can explain it better than me. At the bottom is a vision comparison. http://www.ratbehavior.org/RatVision.htm
They apparently don't see all colors, but can also see infrared, so that could be a cool thing to experiment with.
Another idea I had was using force feedback to give information about the environment. Feeling sound like footsteps or voices might be a fun way to get further into the game.
If you want to discuss ideas like this you can send me a message. No need to hijack the thread with talk about conceptual features that are so specific.
That kinda reminds me of Tokyo Jungle in some ways. If you play an herbivore, you're tactic is pretty much to avoid being spotted by carnivores while you look for food. It can get rather tense.
Yeah, the adrenaline rush you get from such games can get pretty intense. What I have in mind is more of a "heist" game rather than an action one though. Also, Tokyo jungle is based at least somewhat around group building, while in my head the rat game would be a solitary experience, at least when it comes to the active part of the game, ie stealing food. Then again, who knows, rats are said to be social, so maybe a community building game where you need to share your food or such could be cool too.
You might want to check out this Kickstarter project:
Also, while we are on the topic, sound design was another aspect which Thief pretty much nailed, imho. The sound propagation and its use in the stealth mechanics, the voice acting, the ambient music, everything was spot on.
One thing that I noticed about Tenchu Z that kinda bugged me at first, and then made much more sense later, was being able to stealth-kill the 'boss' of the stage.
It bugged me at first because it made the end of each stage very anti-climactic, especially when compared to the first two. But as I thought about it more, it started making sense because they're only human, like the rest of the mooks you (are encouraged to have) plowed through. they may not be aware that Gohda's sent a ninja to dispatch them, or they may know, but not know when it's coming.