GP: Now let’s talk about the meat of it: the combat. Melee weapons, ranged weapons, special abilities, all sorts of interesting things. How are you going to balance it all, especially in the face of players that always look for that one extra tiny bit of edge?

CG: Obviously, the goal here is to not make one weapon more powerful than other. Or if it is, to have drastic downside with it. For example, one of the weapon in the demo is very powerful, but very slow. We found out that good player could just stick with it, and even if it was slow, they would just plow through the enemies with it. We will have to balance it out. It’s a very long process of numbers, excel sheets and playing the game for hundred of hours, doing small changes. We want player to not feel pushed into a specific path. Like, if you want to have it easy, use this weapon, or this build! That’s not what we want. The best is if all players just used the equipment they feel the most at ease with. We want a spell caster to feel as powerful as a tank or a ninja-like character. It’s one of the things we [do] differently in Hellpoint: the energy (mana) is used for powers (spells), abilities (weapon art), and guns. However, that energy doesn’t regenerate alone. You “leech” it by hitting enemies with weapons. It’s a kind of loop where you go in, hit enemies, pull back and decide the best way to deal with them. Should you heal? Or cast a power to deal devastating damage? Or use a firearm to stun them so you can hit them again?

Hellpoint gameplay

GP: In the demo, the combat felt very fast-paced to me, with a good Bloodborne feel to it. Striking, retreating, and dodging – that was clearly the name of the game. Can you elaborate a bit about the mechanics you plan to implement to make Hellpoint’s combat feel unique?

CG: We went and got pieces we believe was the best from other games. Like we have poise like Dark Souls 1 or firearm like Bloodborne. We have iframes. The dodge is a dash when you’re locked on, and a roll when you’re not. The dash is faster, but doesn’t go as far as the roll. It gives you choices. What makes it different is stuff like the jump on spot, which allows you to dodge horizontal attacks. Or the fact that as long as you hit enemies, you can’t run out of mana. We want the combat to feel familiar, but different at the same time. The place where we want people to be less familiar with comes in two parts. First, the melee weapons can be leveled up as you deal damage to enemies. As they level up, they unlock perks and abilities. Abilities are “spells” you can use when using that weapon. Every weapon is totally different. It can be an explosion that push all enemies away, or a massive forward dash to deal massive damage. Or it’s a series of very fast combos. Or simply a temporary buff where you have infinite stamina. The perks are passive buffs.

The second part is the power editor. You can drastically change how your powers work. For example, the heal you pick up in the demo is simple; you cast it for 1.5 sec, and it heals you instantaneously. However, if you place that power in the editor, you can change how it works. There’s sliders for you to move around. You can make it use less energy, but it will heal less and take less time to cast. You can make it work over time, so it will heal more, but will heal you over 5 sec instead. You can also have multiple version of that power, with each different setting for different situation. And then you can add modifiers to that power. You can make a “magic-missile” like power to bounce off walls, or explode on impact, or stun enemies, or split. Each power can have two modifiers, and those modifiers also have their own sliders to tweak them. In other words, if you fight against someone, we want you to have no clue what kind of power they will use.

Hellpoint split-screen

GP: And last but not least, can you share your intended size for the game? How many bosses, rooms, quests, etc? Maybe a rough estimate of hours, discounting New Game Plus?

CG: We actually have many design plans for the size of the game, based on factors previously listed; investors, publishers and so on. We go for an adaptive design, where the game can scale up or down based on our resources, without putting the game itself in danger. Our biggest plan goes for 11 bosses, and a space station about 10 times the size of the demo. Our smallest is 5 bosses with a station 4 times the size of the demo. The game should be between 5 and 12 hours of gameplay if you don’t explore at all and just do the story and don’t do any New Game+. Again, we will never promise something we wouldn’t be able to deliver. However, we design the station to be highly re-playable, include the “Quantic System”, which triggers timed events all over the station. You can see some in the demo. As for bosses, we will soon add our first boss to the demo… You will see that it’s quite a challenge to defeat it.

If the Kickstarter campaign proves to be a success, Cradle Games are hoping to bring Hellpoint to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in Q1 2018.

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