Dying Light seemed to pass by all of my friends and me too, but its first-person zombie parkour has been a big success for developers Techland. Now the studio are working on two new games, one of which seems likely to be Dying Light 2.
A Dead Island mod adding magic spells and whopping great swords was the initial spark for Hellraid [official site]. Developers Techland announced in 2012 that they were working on a first-person action-RPG with wizards and skellingtons and zapsticks, then codenamed Project Hell. As the years went by, the game slipped and slipped again. It was originally due in 2013, then slated to launch on Steam Early Access in autumn 2014, then… now Techland say it won’t launch this year, as it’s outright “on hold”.
If your skeletons remind me of Harryhausen, we’re halfway to a happy place. Hellraid has seen some ch-ch-ch-changes over the last few months, as detailed in our interview with producer Marcin Kruczkiewicz. Whatever else might have been rejigged, I’m convinced that the handsomeness of the skellingtons has increased tenfold. The whole world looks attractive in fact, despite being full of claw-like trees, creaking windmills and ruined hovels. To be fair, windmills are usually attractive, although perhaps moreso when they’re on the cover of Ico than when they’re harassing Don Quixote or providing renewable energy from a location just outside your front door. The twenty minute video below shows combat, levelling and wandering, with developer commentary.
Fans of Lighthouse Customer will know there are currently a lot of fantasy combat games currently fighting for your attention in Steam Early Access. Son of Nor has telekinesis; Lichdom: Battlemage has thousands of numbers and stats; In Verbis Virtus has voice-activated spell commands. Hellraid, by Dead Island developers Techland, is going another route: what if we just made some swords and axes and then, you know, made them look really good?
Well, that sounds nice. There’s twenty minutes of new, developer-commentated video below.
RPS Feature One Year Later
Once not so long ago, I wrote a ’90s Saturday morning cartoon theme song for Techland’s Hellraid. Name aside, however, the first-person Diablo-esque RPG never struck me as particularly inspired, and apparently Techland agreed. The Dead Island developer has spent the past year rebuilding many elements of its demon-bopping opus, with melee combat and magic apparently gaining double the complexity. A transition into the “next-gen” Chrome Engine 6, meanwhile, is imminent, and that’ll bring better graphics, adaptive AI, and a slew of other upgrades. It’s all coming to Steam Early Access this fall, but for now I met up with producer Marcin Kruczkiewicz to discuss changes, delays, developing for PC first and foremost, the possibility of mod support, and why training with real swords is something every game developer should do.
Are you ready to go on a HELLRAID? *guitar squeal, logo explodes into a thousand super rad monster trucks* I’m sorry. It’s just that Hellraid’s name is the most ’90s videogame title in the history of videogame titles – even more so than most games released in the ’90s. But I will say that it’s a rather apt name, given that Hellraid is a game about, you know, raiding hell. You and some friends go in with swords held aloft, and then you bop skeletons until they regain the sense to realize that their own muscle-less existences – maneuvering, cognition, combat prowess, etc – are impossible, at which point they slump into blanched piles of order and sensibility. Ah, the existential plight of the videogame skeleton. I think we’ve all been there. Video of Hellraid’s apparently quite detailed first-person combat below.
Hellraid is the next violence-mare due from the e’er unpredictable Techland stable, and it is some manner of first-person sword-stabbing game. Whether it would join the ranks of the vanishingly few effective first-person melee games was something we were due to find out in the few remaining weeks of 2013. No longer! Techland have pushed it back to next year, in the wake of mixed tester feedback. In other words, they want to make the knob bits not-knob.