Dead Crusade – New Unreal Engine 4 Medieval Hack ‘n’ Slash Game

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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