So, if you’ve been following us on social media, it’s very possible you’ve already seen these GIFs. This is all from gameplay we had in the Barcelona Games World Event that took place in the first days of October. Although combat and the use of abilities still need a lot of work, we were pretty proud of the visual result and the general feel of the experience.
So, we’ve already presented a little of the project to you but we wanted to go more in depth with some visual aids that we now have. As you might know, Sold O2ut is a beat ‘ em up. And who says beat ‘em up says combat.
The objective of the Sold O2ut fighting system is to be fluid, frenetic and rewarding. Players can do simple combos and use their special abilities which have specific effects on enemies. Zephyr throws an energy hook that attracts whoever it touches. Kiara creates a plant which throws people in the air and heals allies whenever she hits enemies. Lilith can dash onto enemies and from that enemy to another and so on, dealing damage to each one of them. This is (except for Lilith’s ability) what we had until now. Our objective from now on is to implement more complex combos that would result in combining normal attacks with the ability button (or even the push button). In this case, we would get combos that not only include physical attacks but also special effects. Say that the player using Zephyr presses the «hit» button twice and the «ability» button once. Doing so, he would hit twice and then use his hook on a circle around him, pushing and dealing damage to everyone.
A game which used this kind of combo is Sacred Citadel, but it did principally to add damage. Our objective is to affect the enemies doing other things than damage depending on the combo used. Our endgame regarding combat is to make it as fun and unique as we can.
But combat is not the only thing. There is also Platforming, and lots and lots of running.
We recently received good and productive feedback, and most of it was regarding the control and fluidity of movement in general, and we are currently working on making it better. We were convinced that some actions were meant to be punished: if you run, you get a skid animation that slows you down and makesyou decide when it’s best to run and when it’s best to walk; the same happens if you jump while running, or when you make a powerful attack. And that works in games like Dark Souls, in which this kind of decision making is the core of the game. But our case is different: we want the player to feel free and have fun using a character, even if there’s no enemy to be found. The recently released Super Mario Odyssey is a good example showing that you absolutely don’t need this kind of «punishment» in most cases. So we’re now working to improve this. Eliminating some states, like contact after a jump, would be a good start. Another thing we will do is try to reduce the length of certain animations (skid, long jump…). And we also want to allow the player to act and do things while some other animations are playing: they shouldn’t have to wait for a character to get back to its idle position after a punch just to be able to start running again.
We will keep you updated on all changes in any case. That leads us to another key aspect of the game that, sadly, wasn’t really present in the event: the plot.
We’ve always talked about Sold O2ut saying that it’s a narrative-driven beat ‘ em up. And it is. We are currently working to implement elements to create an experience where gameplay is king AND where you can discover and see the story if you want. We do not want cut scenes. We want the player to feel like they felt in the Half-life games for example. So we redid our level design time and time again, trying to insure that gameplay and narrative wouldn’t destroy each other but, on the contrary, work together. We’re also writing dialogue for all of the characters to make the players feel like they each have their own personality and uniqueness. We don’t want them to be stereotypical figures that are just good at beatin’. We want them to have reason in their fighting.
Anyway, I guess that’s enough rambling about for one article right? We did not get to talk about everything but at least we were able to present some things you might not have known until now.
Thanks for sticking around until the end of this, you rock.
We’ll see you on the next one.