Beloved no-longer-indie game Minecraft is dabbling in all sorts of new genres. It was already re-imagined as a narrative adventure in the spinoff Minecraft: Story Mode series and, if you hadn’t heard, will be delving into dungeon crawler territory in April. Mojang developers released a new video today to talk more about co-op play and procedural levels in Minecraft Dungeons.
Game director Måns Olson says that he finds couch co-op one of the most fun ways to play Dungeons because players are encouraged to stick together and cooperate, though he doesn’t specify how. To my knowledge, Mojang haven’t yet shared how players who stray will be handled. Will the game switch to a split-screen view or will the camera zoom out to accommodate everyone?
Unlike Olson’s preference for local co-op, I already know I’ll be wrangling my friends in online multiplayer from straying too far apart. Or rather, if I’m honest, they’ll be wrangling me: the incorrigible map-clearer and loot-finder.
Senior designer Laura De Llorens explains how equipment in Minecraft Dungeons has enchantments, a system familiar to original Minecraft players. De Llorens describes it as Dungeons’ approach to “long term progression” in the game. The video shows off an enchantment that summons a trail of fire behind a player when they dodge roll away from a zombie and one that lets the player shoot a cone of three arrows simultaneously.
If you pay close attention and tune out the voice-over, you can also spot some dungeon traps at play in the video. At one point a player pulls a lever to swap sets of moving walls that are likely some sort of puzzle. At another point, two walls smash together at regular intervals and will presumably crush any player inattentive enough to walk between them.
I’ve been quite jazzed for Minecraft Dungeons since it was first announced. I have fond memories of following Minecraft starting in 2010 and its greatest value to me, outside the creative potential, is how almost every one of my friends wanted to play together. I could count on at least someone showing up each night to play on our private server together—a reliable social space that I haven’t truly found in a game since those halcyon days of 2015.
I have high hopes that with a familiar setting and cooperatively-minded dungeon crawling format, Minecraft Dungeons might be able to pull my acquaintances back together from the disparate games they’ve gravitated towards.
Minecraft Dungeons will be available on the Microsoft Store and the Xbox Game Pass for PC when it comes out in April 2020.