Thunder Lotus reveals that although Sundered is inspired by Dark Souls, players shouldn’t expect the game to be so hard that it feels unfair. The developer behind the replayable metroidvania also explains how the game’s difficulty “scales” to each player’s abilities.
Dark Souls isn’t the only game that inspired Sundered, either, as Thunder Lotus previously revealed that its gameplay is also influenced by Left 4 Dead and Diablo 2.
Sundered Dev Discusses Dark Souls Inspiration
In a recent trailer for the game, embedded above, players can see one of Sundered‘s monstrous boss battles. Called Legion and Salvation, this boss is described as a “terrible mash up between an Eschaton Cultist and a Valkyrie General.” It also happens to be inspired by Dark Souls’ Smough and Ornstein boss battle.
But although Sundered takes some cues from the notoriously difficult RPG and although it too vows to be tough as nails, Thunder Lotus wants to assure fans that it the game won’t feel frustrating. In an email, Thunder Lotus Games’ marketing and communications specialist Rodrigue Duperron tells me that achieving the balance between difficulty and frustration is one of the “main” challenges for the developer.
Duperron notes that “One thing that the Dark Souls series has done exceptionally well since the beginning is making sure that the game never feels unfair – a crushing challenge to be sure, but one that the player confidently believes he or she can overcome with time and practice.” As such, the “foundation is surely making sure that the controls are as intuitive and as tight as possible.”
Also helping to ensure that the game doesn’t put people off and that Sundered remains accessible to all players, is its customisation. With Perks, Skills and Abilities that can be personalised in the Skill Tree when players die, Thunder Lotus hopes that players will feel a sense of “constant improvement” and will be pushed towards that “just one more run” feeling.
In fact, that Skill Tree (and dying to access it) is described by Duperron as a “key component to Sundered’s core loop.” Dying is the only way to access the Sundered Skill Tree and “your character will only upgrade and become more powerful as you die and spend your accumulated currency in the Skill Tree.”
Duperron also says that this means that “players who find themselves more challenged by the game will die more often, continually upgrade their character, and thus the difficulty will balance itself out naturally” Moreover, “the random enemy encounters of the game are designed in such a way that the longer it’s been since the last death, the greater the chance of encountering more challenging enemies.”
As Sundered‘s multiple endings are directly tied to whether players decide to corrupt their character by unlocking new abilities (or not), this will make for an interesting balancing act. Will players choose to tough it out as not to risk affecting the rest of the game or will they bite the bullet and upgrade their character just to gain an advantage over a seriously tricky boss? That’s a big question to answer, but the fact that Sundered asks it all is exciting all by itself.
Sundered will be released on Windows PC, Mac, Linux and PS4 in July 2017. You can also see the game at EGX Rezzed between March 30 – April 1.
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