From Aesthetic Games comes a medieval co-op horror game, currently being developed in Unreal Engine 4, which is set in 14th century Europe during the times of the Black Death outbreaks.
While the setting may be real, the plague goes a little bit beyond that. Anyone afflicted by the plague would suffer and likely be dead within days. However, the disease mutates, causing any people killed by it to rise again, attacking and feeding on the living.
Dead Crusade has features and mechanics you may not be familiar with in your typical zombie game, such as becoming one of the infected which, depending on the strain, will cause you different debuffs. The zombies, or ‘plagued’, are able to adapt and adjust to your fighting style by ducking, dodging your attacks, or charging at you head on. They will learn as they fight you and exploit any weakness you present them.
There is also a class system which allows you to customize your experience to fit your play style. As of now there are 3 different classes to choose from: the Soldier, Skirmisher and Plague Doctor, each with their own abilities, weaknesses and play styles, making each unique during gameplay. Dead Crusade gives you the option to take on the story in single or multiplayer fashion allowing you to cooperate and build a team in your efforts to take on the plague.
Choosing which character to play as depends on how you’ll be taking on the hordes of infected. With 3 classes to choose from, ranging between the up close and personal fighter, to the longer distance Skirmisher, there are plenty of ways to play the game, and whichever character you choose has a huge impact on that. Each class also has their own attribute tree, allowing you to further customize your experience and improve your character. You’ll be able to unlock different perks and skills this way, though there are some skills you can learn outside of leveling.
Gameplay in Dead Crusade is primarily focused around their ‘Hybrid Objective System’ which creates a dynamic feel to the actions and tasks you perform. It adds depth and complexity to the campaigns while removing the need to complete too many repetitive tasks in order to unlock new skills or items. The other mechanic the gameplay revolves around is the ‘Dynamic Spawn Factory’ which is a unique way of spawning enemies and supplies. Based on how the player is doing, where they are, what skills they have, or even how quickly they’re making their way through a section depends on what kind of resistance they may face. “This adds an ebb-and-flow dynamic to the game, allowing the players to recover after a nasty incident, or meet heavy resistance when rapidly progressing through a map.”
One big danger the player must be careful of is becoming infected by the zombies they are fighting. This is made possible via ‘The Affliction System’. With three different strains of disease to be infected by, just one mistake can cause you to change how you play dramatically. Some infections may not be fatal, however there are some that will kill you, and in some cases, even bring you back as a powerful enemy to those struggling to survive. Currently there are 3 different plagues that can affect you:
- “The pneumonic plague arises from infection of the lungs. It causes coughing and sneezing and will slow your movement forcing yourself and your allies to remain at your side or leave you behind. Sprinting and rapid movements will increase the risk of death and expose your party to become infected as well.“
- “The bubonic plague rapidly spreads to the lymph nodes. Your attacks will become slower and weaker as the infection spreads. Hallucination induced paranoia are common, such as suddenly being attacked by enemies that do not exist and disappear into thin air.”
- “The septicemic plague is absorbed into the blood stream and will cause the heart to explode within hours of infection. This is the most dangerous and rare form of the plague survivors can get, and can not be cured. As survivors struggle with their remaining humanity, they become enraged and are able to move faster and deal more damage until death takes them.”
Aesthetic Games is looking to continue the development of Dead Crusade via Kickstarter and we look forward to reporting on any new information they release as time goes on. Dead Crusade is currently planned to release on PC, Mac and Linux sometime in Q4 of 2015.
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Building Hades’ Myth-Born Characters Has Been “Refreshingly Different” for Supergiant Games
Hades is the first game developed by Supergiant Games without an original cast of characters, but the studio’s creative director says this has not hindered development at all.
Unlike Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre, which produced Supergiant characters such as The Kid, Red, and Hedwyn, the majority of Hades‘ characters come from Greek mythology.
However, borrowing from Greek mythology is extremely common in video games—God of War, Kid Icarus, Persona, and Saint Seiya are just a few series that do.
Building an interesting world around an environment that so many gamers are already familiar with could prove challenging, but Supergiant’s Greg Kasavin told OnlySP in a recent interview that this was a very welcomed change.
“Part of the appeal of creating a game based on an adaptation of an existing mythos is that it’s a refreshingly different process from what we’ve done in the past. We know what it’s like to create worlds from scratch! We’ve never adapted one, though.”
As a kid, Kasavin would grow frustrated by how modern adaptations of mythological characters would be diluted to the point of dismissing all of their complexities and “disturbing qualities.” He told OnlySP, “[Supergiant Games] started from the observation that the Olympians are a big, dysfunctional family, and everything flowed from there. I think we’re being true to the source material, as well as true to life.”
There are some original characters in Hades, though, and the game even builds upon a few mythological characters who do not have as robust of a story behind them. “Our protagonist character, Zagreus, best represents this. We know almost nothing about him from the source mythology, other than maybe he’s a son of Hades, or maybe he’s even an early version of Dionysus. The idea that Hades, god of the death, might have secretly had a son was so compelling, we decided to make it the premise of the whole game,” Kasavin said.
Kasavin even shared insight on his personal inspiration from Studio Ghibli on the subject of working with familiar characters: “If there’s any inkling that adapting a work is somehow a step down from creating your own original setting, Ghibli films such as Howl’s Moving Castle and The Secret World of Arrietty remind me that that’s nonsense. Adapted works have no less inherent merit than original works.”
Hades is currently in Early Access and is available on PC as an Epic Games Store exclusive. Look out for OnlySP’s full interview with Greg Kasavin in the next few days!
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