Dungeon-crawlers have been around in gaming for several decades and almost all of them tend to stick to the same formula. Therefore, any changes in the template of the tried and tested genre are always welcome and it looks like the upcoming game, Barbaric, from developers Ignited Artists is attempting to mix things up a little. One of the biggest appeals of dungeon-crawlers is the cooperative play and Barbaric appears to embrace this wholeheartedly but with a sinister twist at the end. We ask Scott Foe, the game director at Ignited Artists about his latest title and what’s in store for gamers.
Q: What was the inspiration behind BARBARIC?
Who isn’t disappointed by the shocking lack of cooperative, multiplayer rogue-likes out there? I’m a born dungeon-crawler, and I have always wanted an experience which can be played at lunch, with friends – one where we didn’t run into the standard role-playing game problem of, “You’re level 50 and I’m level 20 and we can’t meaningfully play together.” For gamers who have gotten frustrated going through the co-op dungeon-crawling titles, wondering where their cooperative rogue-like is, we give you BARBARIC.
Q: What differentiates BARBARIC from other dungeon-crawlers?
Trying to explain BARBARIC to you as a “dungeon crawler” is like trying to explain Cirque du Soleil as a “circus.” Yes, Cirque du Soleil is a circus, but it’s a circus like nothing you have ever seen before! BARBARIC is a dungeon crawler like nothing you have ever seen before!
We wanted to avoid the click, click, click spam fest
BARBARIC is fast, fun for you and up to three friends – and plays out in about thirty minutes. The lack of persistence is a blessing, as you may always pick up and play with your friends.
Combat resembles more fighting game than action role-playing game: We wanted to avoid the click, click, click spam fest. Attacks have interruptible windups and vulnerable recovery animations. Friendly fire is on – meaning that you really have to coordinate with your pals! (And watch out for permanent death!)
Communication is key in BARBARIC, and each character has something that the others do not: For example, Lightfuries can see the health of other heroes and monsters, and Firstborn can tell the quality of an item.
All of the loot in the game was developed with the goal of feeling truly special: Weapons have their own animations and combos, and even serve different functions when equipped by different heroes.
Our Adventure Architect is capable of generating over 100 billion adventures: You could play every day for 100 million years and never see the same thing. We go beyond simply scattering dungeon rooms around; our Adventure Architect even procedurally generates puzzles!
Add on to all of this the idea that we give you what is probably the most beautiful rogue-like experience out there, and you’re never going to put down this game.
Q: The combat is inspired by fighting games – how will that work? Why did you choose to go down that route?
Click, click, click loot piñata can be fun, and those games are already out there. BARBARIC is not a thinly disguised slot machine: BARBARIC is a thoughtful, cooperative experience. We wanted players talking to each other, and we wanted skill-based gameplay to be rewarded.
The combat is real time and skill-based: Every move in the game has a windup animation that may be interrupted, leaving your hero vulnerable. The heavier attacks have longer soft-cooldown recovery animations, also leaving you vulnerable. The higher-quality the weapons, the more and more powerful the combo chains.
When you put down that first enemy, you’re going to feel the difference that giving each hero over 300 animations has made, and you’re going to love that difference.
Q: Once a mission draws to a close, teammates can fight each other. How does this mechanic work?
As a designer, I adore a dynamic that reaches out of the software and into players’ souls. The key word here is “can.” You can betray your friends; nothing in the game forces you to betray your friends.
You will need to work together to defeat a dungeon boss: If you try to play this game single-player, you will get smeared. After a victorious boss fight, what you do from there is all up to you and your friends.
Q: There are 8 playable characters with different abilities. Can you give us an idea of some of these abilities?
Neadra, Lightfury Prophet
In her mind’s eye, Neadra sees visions of the world of Aldderas bathed in light, but there is a staggering price: The timeless evils which have made root in the inmost abandons of the world of Aldderas must be broken. Torch in hand, Neadra travels from tribe to tribe, rallying others to her cause.
Lightfury: Springing from the first light, Lightfuries have battled the demonic Firstborn for as long as memory, decimating both races to the end of their relevance. As Lightfury and Firstborn societies retreat into legend, new races born from the magics unleashed during their terrible Forever Wars have emerged to claim Aldderas for themselves.
Racial Trait, Life Vision: Lightfuries can see the life force of a living creature as easily as other races see torch fire.
Racial Trait, Gravefury Return: When a Lightfury dies, she returns as a Gravefury, a sentient demon, a perversion of her former self; this second life is bent toward an unquenchable desire for destruction and the infliction of pain. Shunned by Lightfury culture, Gravefuries find themselves alone in the world of Aldderas.
Special Ability, Life Cloud: Neadra may expel her life force in a cloud in front of herself, easing the suffering and healing the wounds of those nearby, at the cost of her own life force.
Check out more of theses special abilities at www.barbaricgame.com
Q: How do players augment their powers? Is there a levelling system in the game?
There is a procedural leveling system, with over two million progression paths possible per hero. We expect the characters to level up about five times per adventure, starting fresh each adventure. This session-based philosophy ensures that friends will always be able to meaningfully play together.
Q: There appears to be a big focus on co-operative play. Will the game allow for single player?
We even throw up a warning when you go to play single player – you will die horribly – and you can if you want. I’m sure some YouTube genius will set the internet ablaze the first time a dungeon gets cleared solo.
Q: Is there a story in the game? If so, will there be a narrative told by way of in-game cut scenes or cinematics?
There is a story: Aldderas is covered in unending darkness; Neadra, the Lightfury Prophet believes that ridding the world of ancient terrors will bathe the world in light. As far as cut scenes or cinematics, well, the design philosophy is “fast fun,” and ain’t nobody got time for cut scenes.
Q: Do you have any plans to bring BARBARIC on to consoles?
We are not ruling anything out and will take BARBARIC where there is demand.
Q: Will there be player customisations?
We may introduce character skins or other fun character customizations in the future.
Q: How many missions will feature in the final?
Over 100 billion adventures. It’s a rogue-like!
Q: How will you ensure replayability in the game?
BARBARIC’s Adventure Architect software is taking the world closer to “artificially intelligent game design.” The whole point of BARBARIC is that people will never run out of adventures to go on … see you in 100 million years!
Thank you for answering our questions.
No, thank you! I really appreciate you taking your time to write these thoughtful questions!
Barbaric will arrive on Windows PC via Steam in Q4 2017.