Hey everyone, Ian here, artist and game designer on Crimson Keep. It's been a little while since our last article/major update, but rest assured we are working hard on the game and it's coming along nicely. The biggest news is that we have a publisher! It's Merge Games. They have a large number of indie games under their belt, and have also done physical copies for some pretty well known titles. Without their help we'd be looking at releasing on Greenlight (or whatever it becomes) before the product is truly ready. And though we may still release into early access (games like ours (randomly generated, focus on replayability) tend to do well there), we have a lot more work to do on the game. An added bonus of working with a publisher like Merge are avenues to release our game on PS4, XBONE, and even Switch. Very exciting!
Shields have been a highly requested feature for awhile, and it's somewhat of a contentious subject for me. On one hand shields, historically, play a very important role in any medieval setting, on the other, they can end up overpowered in games, sometimes hurting the experience. One shield in the history of gaming that comes to mind is the Counterstrike riot shield, which was well known at the time for making people very, very mad. My first trips through Dark Souls 1 and 3 both used the shield as a crutch, great shields when used properly made parts of both those games trivial. But I don't want to say that's necessarily a bad thing, the variety of play styles and equipment types in Dark Souls, is without a doubt one of its greatest strengths. And in the end I think Crimson Keep will be able to do one better than Dark Souls, forcing players out of their comfort zone if they are to 100% the game (This will require unlocking achievements for different classes, and while meeting certain criteria). All that being said, I realized we had to have shields in our game, but wanted to make them a little different.
- All shields block 100% of the damage they block. I've never liked shields that only partially block, why use a shield at all then? The player should just dodge instead!
- The Shield's block function replaces your weapon's special ability while equipped. This is essentially the penalty for using the shield, the player still has access to every other offensive ability though.
- Shields break. Shields have a chance to break when you block an attack. Some enemies can also do special attacks that can break a shield outright depending on the strength of that shield.
In the end I think players will like our shields and these ideas. One of the things we're pushing in Crimson Keep is that feeling of desperation, resources are scarce, monsters are everywhere, and oh shit a Pigman just broke my shield ;)
Since our last major update we've also worked on several areas of visual polish. The most notable being blood decals on enemies, and also dropped onto the environment (from gibs) when you use melee attacks on enemies. Honestly I think blood and gore can add to the fun factor to a game, so it's great to get some of it in there! We've also setup quite a few particle effects, sounds, and supplemental animations to help better telegraph the player's own abilities, which is more important than I initially thought!