Lodus Gameplay Rundown
We are super happy that so many of you have shown such a huge interest in Project Lodus! Seeing as how we couldn't fit everything about the game into the project video, we thought it would be cool to do a couple more informative posts answering a few of your questions and even go beyond. In the next few days we'll go deeper into who our main characters are as well as give you a better understanding of Planet Lodus and its inhabitants. Today, however, we want to talk about some of the down-and-dirty details of game play and the combat system in particular.
Obviously, from the title and the project video, you all know that we are making a Cyberpunk Co-op Action RPG. But what does that mean in terms of how the game plays? Well, for you seasoned gamers out there, the easiest way to describe the game play is Diablo-meets-Marvel: Ultimate Alliance with of course own own spin on the combat system. To put it a little more plainly, being an Action RPG means that you have real-time combat, rather than turn-based. When you press an attack button, you will see your character on screen attack in real-time. Our biggest difference is that single attacks can be strung together with other movements very naturally, making for more interesting and non-repetitive combat. But more on that later. Another big element to RPGs in general is exploration. In many RPGs, you have an open world with town hubs where you go and to stock up on bunches of quests. Project Lodus is not targeting that experience. Instead, we are opting for a more linear, handcrafted experience. That is the best way for us to focus the personal journey of our heroes and push players through the twists and turns of our story. Exploration will be a big part of the game, but not in an open world sense. And there is a hub, but don’t expect tons of random side quests. Those can be fun in the right context but we find many times that can take away from the impact of a well-crafted story. The last main impact of our decision to focus on story is that you will step into the boots of one of our four specific playable characters instead of creating your own. We’re fans of customizability, so you can expect plenty of that in the loot system, but each character has a story to tell. Expect their general appearance (sans armor) and play styles to be locked down.
We've also had a few questions about our camera. One of the most important aspects of any game, and the easiest thing to get wrong, is the camera. A lot of work goes in to making a camera so that it is... well, unremarkable. Honestly, the best cameras in games are the ones that are never talked about. But of course the bad ones get bashed to no end. So we'll hopefully avoid that last bit. Project Lodus will have an eagle-eye, 3rd-person camera. Again, for reference I'll send you towards games like Diablo III, or for you Kickstarter vets, think fellow ARPG Grim Dawn.
When we say that this is a Co-op game, we mean 4-player local and online co-op. How that will work out in terms of configuration of course depends on the platform, but we are absolutely committed to making the best co-op experience we can. That means being prepared for configurations like 3 local players and one online player, or 2 sets of local players connected, etc. Given the games Project Lodus is inspired by and the teamwork with 4 players on screen at the same time, we are shooting for all 4 players to be on the same screen as that seems to be more beneficial for everyone than split screen. Generally split screen works for “this is MY character’s perspective” type games. Our game is not really that way. Generally, all 4 characters will be on the same screen at all times. That doesn’t mean we’re decided on no split screen, we’re way too early in development for that. If you have a suggestion otherwise, let us know!
Moving on to our combat system, early on when we were designing the thing, we realized we were asking a lot from our engine in terms of animations. And in the same vein, the more animations we put into the game, the easier it would be to burden the player with too-long or cumbersome animations. We hope we’re not just speaking for ourselves here when we say that it flat out sucks to have to blame a character death on lag or cumbersome animations. So, we are making sure that when you press a button, you get a reaction instantly. Even if you are in the middle of a sweet attack, if some baddie charges you from behind and you need to block, you will block. Even though, yes, our heroes will have inhumanly fast reaction times, the result is something far more functional and hopefully enjoyable.
While I would not describe Project Lodus as having "one button combat", we are pretty close. Our philosophy in terms of input method is close to what you would find in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. A simple press of the attack button will lead you to some pretty astounding moves, but we want to go deeper for the hardcore fans out there. The further you dig in to Lodus's combat and its timings, the more rewarded you will be and the more formidable. We will of course have specials, abilities, blocks, and dodges, all of which can be triggered using different buttons, as well as passive abilities you can upgrade from our menu. The main points we are driving towards are: Will my thumb stay in the same place on the same button throughout combat? Not if you want to live. And: Will my casual-gamer-buddy see the same moves and animations as me even though I'm pretty much the greatest gamer alive? Yes, but if you are indeed the greatest gamer alive, he probably won't be doing as much damage as your perfectly mastered button timings. ;-)
So that's it! Let us know in the comments what you think, or join the conversation on our forums. Another great new tool to use is Gamersuggestions.com, with whom we've just announced a partnership. Anyone can make a suggestion there or vote up or down everyone else’s. We think it’s pretty cool. As always thank you so much for all your support, and take care.