Emil Englund
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

WEAPON ABILITIES

  • 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.

Example:

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.

gauntlet_weapon_wrath_valkyrie

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.

POTION ABILITIES

  • 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.

Example:

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.

gauntlet_potion_moreofthor_warrior

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 UPDATE

  • 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).

gauntlet_relic_chaos_wizard

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.

THE LOADOUT

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.

gauntlet_20150702_lobby_nonamesEquipment Slots:

  • Weapon
  • Relic
  • Talisman
  • 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.

gauntlet_endless_caves1

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!

Posted in Design, Development, Games, Gauntlet | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Malin Hedström
GAUNTLET: SLAYER EDITION ANNOUNCED FOR PLAYSTATION 4 THIS SUMMER!

Nearly 30 years ago Morak first took his place in the Gauntlet to shape it to his will and torment any adventurer daring to brave its depths. Last year he made his re-appearance to challenge champions on the PC and your cries for more ways to thwart his evil plans were heard.

Today it was decreed that the heroes of Gauntlet must travel to a new realm, and coming August they will finally descend the dungeons on PlayStation 4!

Gauntlet: Slayer Edition will be priced at $19.99 and eager adventurers will be able to get their hands on Mordok’s Screaming Hammer and Reaper’s Visage Helm for the Warrior by pre-ordering the game starting today on PSN.

INVADE THE DARKNESS!

The classic Gauntlet 4-player co-op action gameplay returns in a completely new experience! Play as one of four distinct heroes in an intense monster-filled dungeon brawler, with a combination of both uniquely built and randomly generated levels to explore. Battle the endless hordes of foes as you and your friends fight for treasure and glory via both local and online co-op multiplayer.

gauntlet_20150702_lava

And now a note from Emil Englund, Game Director, Arrowhead Game Studios:

“Hello there,

I am here today to tell you that you were right. Yes, as many of you have already theorized, we will be releasing Gauntlet: Slayer Edition on the PS4. This has been in the works now for a while and it’s been so frustrating not being able to just tell everyone the news. Gauntlet is simply a game that feels right at home on the PS4.

This however, will not just be a straight port, but a stronger, cooler and more slayer-y version of the one we released on the PC. We’ve been shaping up a lot of the assets in the game, both Characters and Environments, as well as improving on the game mechanics.

This time around, we wanted to explore the Heroes and their Abilities more in-depth giving them a bigger toolset for players to explore, as well as a new Game Mode in which to exercise their rights as self-proclaimed monster slayers.

Since Hero Equipment plays a larger role now, we have reworked the loadout mechanic so that it can be done by 4 players simultaneously and regardless of game mode.

gauntlet_20150702_lobby_nonames

For the story campaign we wanted to give the feeling that you are descending deeper and deeper into the Gauntlet, while at the same time giving players more control over level selection. We have also pushed the differences in each environment more, increasing variation both visually and in monster encounters.

That’s some of the stuff we’ve been working on these past months, but more details to come in following blog posts.

On a sidenote, this release is particularly exciting for us here at Arrowhead, since this will be the second game we release on PSN this year, after HELLDIVERS™ (Yay!).”

gauntlet_20150702_caves gauntlet_20150702_crypts

The PC version will of course also be updated for free for anyone who already owns Gauntlet. In upcoming blog posts we will get into more details about the development of Gauntlet: Slayer Edition.

Prepare to Invade the Darkness this summer!

Posted in Announcements, Company, Games, Gauntlet | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Malin Hedström
HELLDIVERS: MASTERS OF THE GALAXY expansion deploys today! + HELLDIVERS to launch on BLURAY

Fellow HELLDIVERS,

Thanks to your sacrifice and bravery, Humanity has prevailed in the 4th Galactic War!

But recently we had some worrying news.
With courage, we now face a threat far greater than any we have encountered before. Very few patrols have survived and intel is sparse, but we’ve received scattered reports of new huge alien MASTER units that have been discovered on outlying planets.

Today we stand ready to strike down this new threat!

As SUPER EARTH’s elite, we stand against all enemies of freedom and our values, no matter the cost, to ensure that humanity, NOT aliens become MASTERS OF THE GALAXY.

MASTERS OF THE GALAXY EXPANSION

Today we announce our second expansion – HELLDIVERS: Masters of the Galaxy – a free content update for HELLDIVERS which adds new Enemy Master units to fight. The expansion will also be accompanied by the release of additional DLC reinforcements.

FREE EXPANSION FEATURES:

  • New Trophies
  • New Bug “Hive Lord” Enemy Master
  • New Cyborg “Siege Mech” Enemy Master
  • New Illuminate “Great Eye” Enemy Master

helldivers_MOTG_bosses_combined

To celebrate the release of this free expansion, we are releasing HELLDIVERS: MASTERS OF THE GALAXY EDITION Bundle for $19.99. This bundle includes the Entrenched Pack – The AT-47 Anti-Tank Emplacement turret, the Anti-Personnel Barrier, and the SH-32 Directional Kinetic shield. Available for a limited time only.

FURTHER REINFORCEMENTS AVAILABLE TODAY

In addition to the MASTERS OF THE GALAXY expansion, three more Reinforcement Packs are added for those in need of even more freedom.

Each Pack is available separately for $2.99 – $3.99.

ENTRENCHED PACK

helldivers_entrenched_pack

Specialized equipment for the HELLDIVER that truly needs to stand their ground against the enemies of mankind.

  • AT-47 Anti-Tank Emplacement: A well armored manually operated gun emplacement.
  • Anti-Personnel Barrier: An airdropped barbwire fence capable of slowing incoming enemies.
  • SH-32 Directional Kinetic Shield: Projects a shield in front of the wearer and will slow down incoming projectiles, significantly lowering their damage potential.

PISTOL PACK

helldivers_pistol_pack

The Pistols Pack is a collection of unique and highly specialized sidearms.

  • P-6 ‘Gunslinger’: A heavy sixshooter revolver. Packs a real punch and comes with built in lasersight.
  • FLAM-24 ‘Pyro’: A compact, short range powerful flamer.
  • PLAS-3 ‘Singe’: Plasma pistol based on the experimental technology of the PLAS-1. It fires superheated gas that explodes on contact with it’s target.

VEHICLES PACK

helldivers_vehicles_pack

The Vehicles Pack is a collection of highly specialized vehicles. Not normally deployed on missions with Helldivers, they are excellent assets for when you need some fast transportation or some heavy armor.

  • TD-110 ‘ Bastion’: A small mobile tank destroyer, prized for its incredibly powerful main gun, large ammunition storage, and heavy armor.
  • ‘Hammer’: A sturdy combat motorcycle complete with sidecar. This lightly armored vehicle is excellent for when you want to move fast. Upgrades with a standard machine gun.
  • EXO-51 ‘Lumberer’: An anti-tank specialized exosuit incorporating a 90mm cannon and a flamer.

SUPER-EARTH ULTIMATE EDITION RETAIL RELEASE

Following HELLDIVERS amazing success on the PS Store, today we are very happy to announce that HELLDIVERS: SUPER-EARTH ULTIMATE EDITION will launch at select retail stores and PlayStation Store on August 18th

helldivers_retail_packfront_ps4

SUPER-EARTH ULTIMATE EDITION will contain:

  • HELLDIVERS™PS4 Game on Blu-Ray
  • HELLDIVERS™ PS3 and PS VITA digital games
  • HELLDIVERS™ TURNING UP THE HEAT and MASTERS OF THE GALAXY Expansions
  • 11 DLC packs + bonus weapons pack + PS4 Dynamic Theme

helldivers_weapon_pack

The War can not wait. It is every adult and child’s responsibility to contribute in all ways they can. We have a responsibility as human beings to bring the freedom we enjoy to all reaches of the galaxy!

SIGN UP AND #SPREADDEMOCRACY TODAY!

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Malin Hedström
HELLDIVERS: Masters Of The Galaxy first intel

Fellow HELLDIVERS, heroes of Super Earth,

A new threat of unprecedented magnitude has emerged!

Enemy Master units have been located on certain planets in each region. We have discovered that these new units move tactically and you will need to strike fast once you encounter one, or the opportunity is lost. To increase our chances of mission success, Super Earth will only send in HELLDIVERS above a certain rank to meet this superior enemy.

Super Earth Command has been able to retrieve some initial visuals thanks to the first exceptionally brave HELLDIVER scouts on the front line.

helldivers cyborg siege mech 2 helldivers illuminate great eye 1 helldivers bug hive lord

We remember and salute those fallen comrades who never made it back, but sacrificed themselves to bring us intel and put us one step ahead in our fight for freedom!

Liberating the galaxy from this new threat is each and every citizen’s responsibility. We welcome you to bring both friends and family to your nearest recruitment centre for training.

With the experience that all HELLDIVERS have been gathering, we expect to be able to dispatch troops to these new planets in July. More information to follow once Super Earth Command have fully assessed the situation.

Helldivers Masters of the Galaxy

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Malin Hedström
Arrowhead partners with Swedish Game Awards 2015

As main partners to Swedish Game Awards this year, we are excitedly waiting for the Finals days and the Gala announcing the winners this upcoming Tuesday!

We started our own story in 2008 by winning Swedish Game Awards with our early 2D version of Magicka, which became Game of the Year. Now it only feels right to go full circle and give back to where we came from.

It seems both not very long ago, and a lifetime away that we were up on that stage, newborn game developers shaking of surprise and not understanding what had just happened.
Let us present you with a recently resurfaced (and tiny bit embarrassing) video of the event! (this time it’s all in Swedish but hopefully Youtube’s subtitles will help a bit)

I believe winning Swedish Game Awards and the fantastic boost we got from the encouraging comments from both judges and established game developers was a huge factor in starting Arrowhead Game Studios.

The Magicka of those days was very different from what we released in 2011. It was fully 2D, slower paced but crazy hardcore. You could not move while conjuring elements, and every element was created by drawing a more or less complicated symbol with the controller stick.

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The Magicka from days of old, 2008

Magicka 2009-08-27
Magicka has turned 3D, 2009

magicka_2011_02
And of course the final version of 2011 we know and love

The competition this year has been tough as always, but our very own Helldivers Game Designer, Patrik Lasota, was on hand to help make the decision as part of the judges panel.
At the SGA Conference we also had Patrik and Rob Tatnell (Art Director for Gauntlet) give talks about their line of work and all the ins and outs of working in a developer studio.

You can see Patrik’s wonderful talk here on designing for co-op and Rob’s inspiring talk on visual FX here.

arrowhead_hearts_sga

The final event for the Swedish Game Awards 2015 is taking place soon, on June 16th. During the day there is the Expo showing off all of this year’s contestants, and visitors can also vote for the winner of Gamer’s Choice.
If you have time and are in Stockholm why not join us? Arrowhead will be around at the Expo, and you can find more details about the event on the SGA website.

But don’t fear, if you’re one of the other 6 billion people in the world that don’t happen to be in Stockholm for the awards you can always watch the livestream which starts on the evening the 16th, at 19 CEST!

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Malin Hedström
HELLDIVERS Patch Notes 2.01

Hello HELLDIVERS,

You have been fighting bravely for freedom, ever increasing the reach of democracy to the outer edges of the galaxy. After the setback of the last war, your renewed efforts are truly showing.
Super Earth Command is ever vigilant and have addressed the latest issues you have run into during the current war.

Here is the latest campaign update (Patch 2.01).

helldivers_patch_2.01

View full post…

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Malin Hedström
Regarding Magicka 2

Hi everybody,

There has been some confusion whether Arrowhead is involved or not in the creation of Magicka 2. We have had no part in the design or development of the game, and any questions should be redirected to Paradox Interactive.

It is however exciting to see that Paradox and Pieces have taken the game in their own direction, and are continuing to develop the generic fantasy world™ we put so much love and dedication into creating.

We just received keys and are looking forward to finally playing the game!

magicka_blocking
© Paradox Interactive
Posted in Announcements, Company, Games, Magicka | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Emil Englund
Gauntlet – It’s alive!

Gauntlet fans,

I know that you have been in the dark for a while now, possibly thinking that we were concentrating all our efforts on other things.

I am here to tell you that this is not the case and that the team has been tirelessly working on the game. We have big improvements and a few new features coming up for Gauntlet! Something which we know a lot of you were crying out for.

View full post…

Posted in Announcements, Company, Games, Gauntlet | Tagged , , , | 78 Comments

Malin Hedström
HELLDIVERS Turns up the Heat today!

Honored HELLDIVERS,
With your help and determination the 1st Galactic War was won, then the enemies of freedom retaliated and we were forced to find a new home. New Super Earth is safe… for now.

But how can we stand by while so many still suffer under the burden of independence, outside the democracy and justice that Super Earth brings? We have a responsibility as human beings, to liberate once more.

So today we announce a new expansion in the war against terror, because freedom has no bounds.

View full post…

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Malin Hedström
HELLDIVERS: Turning up the Heat – Environment

Monday. You gotta have something nice to watch on Mondays. Therefore we offer you the last video in this developer feature series, and after this you should have a pretty good picture of what’s contained in the free update.

The third video is all about the new environment and some other goodies being added with HELLDIVERS: Turning up the Heat.

So re-enlist today because the countdown has started!

Tomorrow evening (CET) we’re also aiming to stream Turning Up The Heat. We’ll be back with time!

SUPER EARTH NEEDS YOU ONCE AGAIN

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