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Gauntlet: Slayer Edition Hits PS4 August 11th, New Feature Details

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Gauntlet: Slayer Edition Hits PS4 August 11th, New Feature Details

In our last PlayStation.Blog post we announced that Gauntlet is coming to PS4 August 11th in the new Gauntlet: Slayer Edition.

For a number of months now the Gauntlet team has been working tirelessly to mold the game into what we fully envisioned. The key points we have wanted to address are Hero depth, gameplay variation, and overall visuals — and we did this by both adding new features and updating existing ones.

Now I’ll let Designer Nils Hansson Bjerke elaborate on the Enemy updates of Gauntlet: Slayer Edition.

Gauntlet, Lobby

What’s New?

As mentioned previously, we have been working a lot to get more variation in Gauntlet: Slayer Edition. The enemies are obviously a big part of that. In Gauntlet 2014 they just weren’t different enough from each other to make the players change their playstyle in any meaningful way.

In Slayer Edition we have gone through the game and re-evaluated every single enemy in the game, leading to changes in all but two. For some we’ve just tweaked movement speeds and hit boxes, while others have received entirely new ability sets. Some enemies have been removed and some completely new ones have been added. We have also given every enemy “family” (mummies, skeletons etc.), a new lower-tier spawner that only spawns the basic units of that “family.” This means we are no longer limited “all or nothing” options when pacing the game.

Bosses

The makings of a great boss is a project within the project. A good boss battle lets the player apply his skills and abilities to a foe that optimally is unlike anything else in the game.

Unfortunately that requires a lot of custom code and content, which is why many games have, from a player perspective, lazy boss battles — like beefed up normal enemies for example. Then we as developers don’t have to deviate too much from the game’s core mechanics that we have spent so much time on getting right.

Now, Gauntlet’s core gameplay revolves around hordes of enemies. Anything straying from that formula gets increasingly more problematic to realize within the game’s framework. When making Slayer Edition we made the decision to focus on improving the 95% of play time you are not fighting bosses. We are of course doing some polish and fixes to them. I think veteran Gauntlet players will want to pay good old Morak another visit in Slayer Edition!

Gauntlet, Relic Chaos WizardGauntlet, Lava Action

Character Diversity

Gauntlet is, at its core, an arcade game. We don’t have the luxury of rounding out each character class with tons of abilities and options. Arcade games focus on individual skill and the player’s ability to use a limited set of tools and maximize their potential. These limitations are great for creating a “purer,” more immediate gameplay experience, but makes it more tricky to offer the player different play styles.

With Gauntlet we are trying to create really diverse play styles without losing the accessibility of an arcade game. Slayer Edition has four distinctly different character classes, from the Elf’s ranged keep-away game to the Warrior’s melee combat. Designing one enemy that can challenge both equally is very difficult. What I try to do as an enemy designer is create monster groups with synergy between them that together will make them challenging for all the classes in their own way.

Thus, all enemies in Gauntlet are easy to defeat on their own, but combined they should provide a challenge. This is the type of synergy we have worked hard to improve in Slayer Edition while simultaneously making higher-tier enemies more versatile.

Gauntlet, Slayer Defender

The brand new Skeleton Defender is a slow moving melee unit, but if you break its shield it starts running at you with vicious swings. Even the swift little elf might have trouble keeping his distance.

Readability

Since Gauntlet is about tons of enemies there is always a struggle with readability. With so much going on, enemies can’t be very complex because there is no way a player will be able to understand complexity in the chaos. They need to be interesting and varied, while also basic enough in their functionality that players can, at a glance, understand what they do and how they behave.

So let’s look at the Grunt Shaman’s previous abilities. Firstly, he summoned walls from the ground. Secondly he summoned a homing, indestructible goat head. Thirdly he buffed Grunt spawners to increase the rate at which they spawned grunts as well as increased the movement speed of said grunts.

Now, of course the player doesn’t have to understand all the little details about an enemy but the more you understand the more fair the game feels and the more you as a player feel in control of whether you live or die. The Grunt Shaman’s old spawner buff was the opposite of that. The impact it had on a battle was quite high but nothing about its visuals signaled that. The goat heads didn’t offer as much interesting counter play and the walls occupied a lot of real estate on the screen considering their small impact.

Gauntlet, Slayer Spawners

Enter the new Grunt Shaman. He shoots a big energy ball that splits into two energy balls. He also buffs Grunt spawners so that the Grunts hit harder. BAM! Easy to read, easy to understand. Also, the animators are happy to let you know that the Grunt Shaman now has proper animations.

We hope you have enjoyed our dive into some of the design work that goes into Gauntlet: Slayer Edition.

Now get ready to re-Invade the Darkness — it’s almost time!

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27 Comments

  • Dragonchasers

    I played the Steam version a bit and enjoyed it but I prefer console gaming. Looking forward to this version!

  • logicslayer

    I can’t wait. My brother and I used to play for hours on the NES.

  • Wish this was on Vita

    • YorlecmNwahs

      I don’t see why it wouldn’t. I think this could be ported to Vita with just minor graphical downgrades. The Vita’s limitations should be able to handle this game.

  • KidGreengene

    This title has always been tough to come back from Arcade and NES days. It just has never truly become a thing since those years. At this point, Diablo seems to be the much better choice if you are looking for this style of game. But I always hope for the classics so I am rooting for you to climb back up that ladder.

    • I haven’t played this game yet but Diablo 3 is the worse game I have played in decades. This game does not have the $60 (£45) price tag or the infamous ‘Auction House’. Already Gauntlet looks like a much better game….

  • codphanatic

    I’m not buying another Arrowhead game, Helldivers has had glitches since day one, and now they’re asking money for another glitch-fest? NO THANKS.

  • LeandroDiFini

    Oh man… Too many good games out there to be played, too little time on my hands.

    • Tell me about it! My backlog is large, and my must-buy list is growing daily!

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  • Wow I loved these games back in the day! Looking forward to this!

  • already preordered

  • Looking forward to playing this local co-op with 4 players next week. I also hope it supports drop in / drop out co-op with any mix of local and online players and that the invite/join stuff is super simple to use.

  • Wow I can’t wait to jump back into this game, very fond memories in the arcade and the original Xbox version. I saw the PC version of this game on YouTube. I was a little annoyed with the 4 hits and you are dead health bar. I would have rather preferred to see the original arcade number count. There is no segments in the life bar so it’s hard to gauge what health is left. I think it would have been better to have real numbers like 700 elf and 1000 warrior. A solid bar doesn’t help you understand the differences with character classes or item bonuses.

    Any news about player health for console?

  • Note I also really miss seeing enemies spawn out of the skull posts, instead they randomly come out of holes in the ground. It feels like a cheap way to swarm players.

    I like how death continues to chase you however. Too bad he isn’t draining you of health. It looks like instant death on the 4 hit life meter

  • VanilaGorila

    Pre-Ordered. Love me some Guantlet!!

  • PC wins here.

  • Glad this came to the PS4, have been waiting for it!

  • So isn’t the Necromancer DLC included with this version? I guess they will charge us extra for it after a week

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  • CutMastaVictory

    What’s the price?

  • This game is garbage! Absolutely terrible. Death spawns every 20 secs, mobs overwhelm you quickly, and mechanics? Clearly they must have hired most of the chromosome missing folks from Blizzard who can’t actually be creative but can just over tune the hell out of content that sub-par at best. Classes weak and lackluster & 0 storyline. I am an avid gamer. They removed all the amazing characters from Dark legacy which I think I have maybe roughly 200 hours plus playing! If this was the last sheet of paper in existence I wouldn’t waste the time wiping my bottom with it as it would leave me feeling just as dirty as before I sat down to go. I feel this is the result of a watered down semi special needs attempt at making a game. I’m sure I all be seeing on my couch sometime soon paying to share what a failure you are having put your name to such an unworthy terrible POS title and release. You couldn’t even hold a fart in the wind to the product produced then and look at the hardware you have to develop on! You should be paying me for wasting my time and insulting me with such rubbish. I had to re-edit it several times to ensure I wouldn’t be banned for life with what I truly thought of this release. POS

  • Lots of old school fun in multiplayer. Simple, yet difficult chaotic play makes for an enjoyable play experience.

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