I could actually see this working. I wouldn't worry too much about the length being too long, because it wouldn't have
to go on for hours to give you that experience. There are other open-world games that do this very, very, well. Project Zomboid comes to mind, and if you haven't heard of it I suggest you look it up. It's a zombie survival game, and the rounds are short enough that there isn't even a save function (at least in the last update I played). It's a really compelling game where you spend the majority of the time a) not starving b) not getting seen c) exploring to make sure a & b are met for as long as possible. There are points in the game when you just have to lay low, in darkness, waiting for danger to pass. My average round in this last about... an hour and a half, maybe. But that experience could be refined to a much smaller timeframe, while still keeping the key elements that give it this feeling. So don't worry too much about people saying it's impossible to convey the experience of Hunger Games in a multiplayer round timeframe.
Of course there would still have to be parameters in place for when a player does log off unexpectedly... It shouldn't be too hard to blame that on the "gamemasters," by creating a little environmental hazard that "killed" the dropped player (it would have to be a small enough hazard to not allow for any trolling, though). As each player is killed or dropped, those that died can remain in a spectator mode (maybe they could even bet on the players), and the game could ramp up the frequency of natural hazards to make the difficulty actually increase.
One of the big problems I see off the bat, though, is that dying wouldn't be particularly consequential: quit out of spectator mode and find a new game. Thus, all the players will be a lot more reckless than they should be, which would make it basically impossible to convey the experience you'd want to. A possible way to fix this would be to make you lose all your stuff if you die right off the bat but get some benefit from being the last player standing. You'd probably have to give some more trivial reward to people who survive longer, too. It's not a perfect system, but it could probably be tweaked.
Just some ideas. I think you should definitely try to make it, I'm betting it's totally possible. It will
be incredibly difficult to design and program, though. At least the story has a built in excuse for any deus ex machina you'd have to do to make the gameplay fit with the story (Gamemasters: game developers' dream story-element for making a game, it was awfully nice of Collins to put in a specific story element just to give an excuse for more random stuff to happen), which is a benefit most fangames don't get.
Edited by Spyro Conspiracy Theorist, 21 April 2012 - 01:40 AM.