Dustforce Devs Sticking Up A Spire

A bit of Spire, yesterday
I like it when developers take a bit of a leap. So Dustforce developer Hitbox Team’s announcement that their next game won’t be a 2D platformer made me tingle. Instead it’ll be a first-person platform game called Spire. Spire is a good name. The real-world has buildings or towers. It’s only a spire if it’s in a fantasy world. And you know if you hear such a name then it means you’re going to be ascending. Spire is Esperanto for “climb the bloody thing”, after all.

Spire’s about adventure and movement. In it you’ll “ascend a monolithic tower of unknown origin. The internals of the tower are ever-changing: it’ll be a different adventure every time. While exploring, players will encounter myriad dangers and elusive secrets; they must use their wits and limited resources to climb as high as possible.”

Hitbox will be imbuing that sense of mystery in everything Spire does. While an “ever changing” world speaks of prodcedural generation, the truth is the world will be somewhat curated: “We want to keep this in mind in order to create a procedural level generation that has flow and character. If the generator has created a dangerous, frantic sequence with lots of combat, it might think to then generate a scene with lower intensity to better control the emotional arc of the experience. In this way, Spire will generate intentional level flow instead of randomized environments. The resolution of the generation is very high: there are no premade rooms or scripted events. Everything from the placement of the books on a shelf to the shape of the walls and floors will be generated with intention.”

It’s the same with monsters and rewards. Fantasy in this case just means they have a framework to make things oogly boogly, not gobliny. And I note in the weapon screenshot, there’s a harp! Players will have to combine the left-hand and right-hand weapons to overcome issues, though those problems aren’t mentioned in any specific terms.

It’s the talk of movement and combos that really grabbed me, though. Dustforce’s janitor moved with the precision of a thousand Lionel Messis, and even if this is an FPS, it’ll hold true to those elements. The level generation will build a game that’s there to be flashily, but efficiently, climbed while “incorporating walljumps, wall sliding, and other advanced techniques.” The touchpoint is this Quake video.

It seems a tall order (that cliché is worth it for the pun), to create a game that constructs a world that takes into account a movement set that’s built to take on challenges, but if they get it right, Hitbox will have made something gloriously exciting. Previous form is with them.


  1. Kinth says:

    That first shot reminds me massively of Windwaker, if they can pull of that style it will be a good start to making the game great.

    Yet to see anyone do cel shaded as well Windwaker.

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Came here to say the same. Despite the final act being clearly hashed together, it’s my favourite Zelda by a long way. Anything that even looks like it has my attention.

      • Kinth says:

        The whole game has a rushed feel to it, Things like Jabun just handing you the third pearl and the chart collecting just showed that they ran out of time. A shame really, had it not been rushed I think it would easily have been my favourite Zelda game.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I thought of Dustforce, but hell, both have a really nice art style.

      Probably the only reason I haven’t picked up Dustforce is that I think it sounds a bit to hard for me to actually enjoy.

      • Lobotomist says:

        Dustforce is probably bit harder than Super Meat boy. But its also a truly unique platformer game.
        Both are really next generation platformer games redefining the genre IMHO. And their difficulty is part of the appeal.

      • Kuro says:

        It does indeed get hard as you go along but it’s a fair kind of hard that rewards your efforts and makes you always want to keep going for bigger and better. My biggest gripe with Super Meat Boy was that it was actually very unfair, especially in its hitboxes which were extremely deceiving. You think you can get over that spike if you jump this way but you end up realizing you really can’t, as the hitbox is a square and not a triangle as the graphic would lead you to believe, and it ends up requiring exhausting trial and error to get right.

        Another thing Dustforce does very differently from all other platformers is that its emphasis is not in simply finishing the levels, it’s on perfecting them. To unlock a key to a next level the game requires you to get an SS score on one of your current levels, which entails finishing the level in one go without dropping your combo. You really can’t understand how masterfully designed and addicting it is until you give it a fair chance. I doubt you’d regret it.

        • kyrieee says:

          What made you think Meat Boy’s hitbox was a triangle? He’s square shaped you know

    • f1x says:

      I thought the same of super meat boy but then I had a blast playing it, because it actually felt challenging but not tedious (even if sometimes I would have sent the gamepad fllying)

  2. Kits says:

    Sounds like fun. Even if it isn’t much like it, I really enjoyed Dustforce. To the point where I couldn’t bring myself to perfect my dashes through each level any more than they were, anyway.
    Certainly gonna have my fingers crossed for this.

  3. Torn says:

    First-person + platform = me, immediately suspicious.

    I guess we’ll have to look down at the floor with each jump?

    • ulix says:

      Or, after a couple of minutes of playing, just intuitively know when to jump.
      Never found the suspicions and criticism of First-Person-Platforming valid.
      Mirror’s Edge showed that it works fine and can be a ton of fun.

      • Torn says:

        I guess it depends how much leeway you’re given with distance between ledges, and if you have a magic grappling/mantling button (or if that’s done automatically).

      • Hatsworth says:

        I never, ever got the criticism against first person platforming either. Has never been an issue for me personally.

  4. kyrieee says:

    You should’ve embedded a Defrag movie instead!

    • bear912 says:

      Ah, thanks for that. A good Quake Defrag video always brings joy to my heart. So do good Quake frag videos, of course, but A Bulgarian Odyssey is already one of my favorites, so it was nothing new to me.

      Here’s another lovely Defrag video, since we seem to be swapping such things.

    • siegarettes says:

      Especially with that music, it reminds me a lot of inMomentum.

  5. Toberoth says:

    Good god, those Quake players are frighteningly accomplished. I will never be as good at any game ever as they are at Quake.

  6. JackDandy says:

    Sounds great, I really wanted to play something like this.

  7. Baf says:

    Actually I guess “spire” would be Esperanto for “breathily”. From “spiro”, breath, plus “-e”, grammatical ending for adverb.

    Also, it would be pronounced “SPEE-reh”.

  8. Hatsworth says:

    It sounds too good to be true. Please don’t be.