Designing Gauntlet: Slayer Edition
During the past few months of development we have been hard at work improving on Gauntlet for the Slayer Edition release. The key points we wanted to address were Hero depth, gameplay variation and overall visuals. We did this among other things through the addition of some new features and updates to existing ones. Now, I’d like to tell you about some of these Slayer Edition-features and our thoughts behind them.
HERO ABILITY UPDATES
- Heroes can now change their Weapon Abilities – The ones represented by the big shiny icon in your HUD with a cooldown – by unlocking and equipping the different weapons available to them in the Shop.
The Valkyrie’s default weapon set gives her the “Shield Throw”-ability. Equipping the set “Wrath of the Heavens” instead gives her the “Lightning Strike”-ability. This particular weapon set also adds a lightning finishing move to her Light Attacks.
We have been striving to give more depth to, and push the unique feel of each Hero. It felt like a natural step forward to expand on the Abilities, both to explore each character more and to give players more options to their play-style within the scope of their favorite Hero.
Since we already had a system for switching weapons in the game, we chose to place the Ability selection within that system, making the choice of Weapon have an actual impact on the gameplay. This means slightly different things for different Heroes. For instance, the Valkyrie can switch out her one attack-ability, but in addition to that, one of her weapon sets also changes her Spear Thrust into a Spear Throw. The Wizard switches out one of his schools of magic (ice, fire or lightning – effectively giving him 3 new spells) whilst the Elf switches out both his Magic Bomb and Magic Shot ability.
- All Heroes now have a Hero-specific Potion Ability – high-impact Abilities that cost a Potion to use – from the start, replacing one of the Relic-slots.
- More Potion abilities can be accessed by unlocking and equipping Talismans in the shop.
The Warrior’s starting Talisman gives him the Potion Ability “Improvise”, where he throws the potion like a grenade, dealing tons of damage around the point where it lands. Another Talisman instead gives him the Potion Ability “More of Thor”, making him grow into a giant, becoming invincible and dealing extra damage with all his attacks.
We always felt like the Relic system wasn’t pushing the personality of each Hero enough, and we also felt that it made little sense that you could walk around without being able to use the Potions you had picked up if you had no Relic, so the obvious choice to us was to give each Hero a built-in Potion Ability that was unique to them. This idea was expanded upon further by adding a new type of Equipment in the shop called Talismans. What Talisman you have equipped decides what Potion Ability you have.
- Relics no longer cost potions to use but are instead limited by a cooldown.
- All relics have been re-balanced and some have had their functionality changed.
- You can now only carry one Relic (since the other slot is taken up by the Potion Ability).
With the Potion Ability taking the role as costly, high-power Abilities, we wanted to take this opportunity to make Relics into something you use more often, making them a bigger part of how you play. To do this, and to make the Relics feel more like actual upgrades that enhance your character – They are after all magical items that you buy and upgrade for yourself – we removed the potion cost from Relics completely and re-balanced them to make sense within that scope. This has moved them away from being kill-abilities and more towards utility, while also allowing us to make them more varied and interesting.
Since Hero Equipment plays a larger role now, we have reworked the loadout mechanic. It has been built into the Hero selection so that it can be done by 4 players simultaneously and regardless of game mode.
- Cosmetic: Body
- Cosmetic: Head
NEW GAME MODE: ENDLESS
- In Endless, parties of Heroes will be able to slay their way down an infinite number of procedurally generated floors in the Gauntlet.
- Fight to reach highest on the leaderboards, get rich, and also most likely, die trying.
It made a whole lot of sense to us to create a game mode where we could keep having fun with the game and keep exploring the different Hero Loadout combinations after having completed the Campaign. We wanted something that could provide fun beyond a single playthrough and that could put your skills to the test regardless of skill level. The Endless mode is something we felt we could make with our limited resources and time, while still providing that challenge and replayability.
So these are some of the features we have worked on for Gauntlet: Slayer Edition. In the coming weeks we will release more information about the coming update as well as insights into the development history of the Gauntlet project. I hope you enjoyed the read, and as we say in Sweden: Have it good!