PlayStation VR

Dec 14

Dec 14

Sundered: New Trailer, Details From Thunder Lotus

William Dubé's Avatar Posted by Creative Director, Thunder Lotus Games

Hey everyone,

Today, I’m really excited to unveil Sundered’s new trailer and to dive deep into the game’s design and gameplay influences.

To kick things off, here is Sundered’s second trailer, Embrace:

For those of you who don’t know, Sundered is a horrifying fight for survival and sanity. It’s a replayable Metroidvania where you resist or embrace ancient eldritch powers. The Embrace trailer introduces the third region in the game, the Eschaton City, and shows off the corruption aspect of the game which I’ll get into later in the post.

Sundered’s core game loop revolves around exploring a procedurally generated dungeon and fighting hordes of dynamically spawned enemies to collect shards. When you die, you’re brought back to the central Hub where you can spend those shards in a Skill Tree. You’re then free to go back out into the caverns and progress a bit further.

When we announced Sundered, many players argued that a Metroidvania could not be procedural. We respectfully disagree. Every time you die, the physical rooms in the dungeon are re-shuffled. Though the overall structure of the world is set in stone, subsections take a random sampling of preset rooms and assembles them to create a different flow every time. Think of it like Diablo 2, where the progression of the levels is always the same, but the individual tiles are always different. This allows us to make design choices which are core to a Metroidvania experience like backtracking and unlocking new abilities that unlock new regions.

We didn’t stop there though. We want the monsters in Sundered to be unpredictable, for you to feel like madness is just around the corner. To achieve this, all the monster spawns are dynamic. Like in Left 4 Dead, the monsters spawn based on a number of factors (time, stress level, current region). This adds a multiplicative layer of uncertainty, since the second layer of randomness of the monsters gets added over the already random dungeon. This creates hordes of eldritch horrors that lurk within the shadows, waiting for the player to fall into their trap.

Throughout exploration and combat, you collect Shards, and, when you die, you respawn in the Hub, the world’s central landmark. Here lies the Skill Tree, filled with Upgrades, Perks and the Metroidvania-style Abilities. Your Shards are spent on Upgrades, permanent stat boosting nodes like Health, Melee Damage and Critical Chance. These are the meat & potatoes of the Skill Tree and are the most common way of boosting Eshe’s powers. Next are Perks, which are gameplay-changing modifiers. Perks are found in the world, but equipped in the Skill Tree. Perks vary in power and the majority of them come with a downside to go with their powerful upside. All of these tie in to the feeling of “just one more run” we’re trying to nail.

Finally, we come to the core of player progression: the Abilities. Abilities are found at Shrines in the world and are the real game-changers. In our PSX demo, you could find the Power Dash, a much more powerful move that replaces Eshe’s initial Roll. Once an Ability is found, it appears in the Skill Tree and unlocks a whole new section (a branch if you will), filled with new Upgrades.

This brings us to Sundered’s catch phrase: Resist or Embrace. The Abilities can be corrupted. After defeating a boss, you receive an Elder Shard. This special relic can be brought to a Skill Shrine on the world to corrupt a specific Ability. A Corrupted Ability is a much more powerful version of the same gameplay mechanic, but it comes at a cost to your humanity. Corrupting an Ability has consequences on game mechanics, as you become more powerful, but has repercussions on the story and the game’s ending, as hinted to in the Embrace trailer.

We hope you enjoyed this deep dive into Sundered’s design. As you can see, the game is much more mechanically complex than our previous game, Jotun, and we hope gamers will appreciate it. So far the response has been great and we can’t wait to show you more. If you want to stay in the loop, make sure to join our mailing list for all updates about the game (thunderlotusgames.com). As always, let us know if you have any questions in the comments and we’ll be glad to answer them!

By the way! Max LL, Sundered’s composer, just posted the track used for the Embrace trailer: https://soundcloud.com/max-ll/madness

Add Your Own

CycoCross said:

December 14th, 8:14 am

Looking good! Definitely will keep my eye out for this one. I love the art style, and while I have not played Jotun yet, I have it and my friends have raved about it so I hope to finish that one out before the end of the year!

    Hndsmboi18 said:

    December 14th, 8:28 am

    Played this at PSX, and it is absolutely wonderful! It’s definitely in my Top 3 of the show, and I’m already sold on it! Making my way through Jotun – which is awesome by the way – and I’m eagerly anticipating this! Keep up the good work team!

    iamtylerdurden1 said:

    December 17th, 2:33 am

    Among my hottest indies along with Nex Machina, Vane, Agony, Strafe, Eitr, Death’s Gambit, Crossing Souls.

Dragonchasers said:

December 14th, 9:19 am

First time hearing about this game and it sounds like something that’ll be right up my alley. I love the idea of collecting shards, pushing as far as I can into the dungeon, then when I die using the shards to improve my character. For me that’s a loop that’s going to be feeding me delicious dollops of dopamine on a regular basis. Can’t wait to give it a try!

William Dubé's Avatar

William Dubé said:

December 14th, 11:41 am

Thanks everyone!!

MattKZ11 said:

December 14th, 12:46 pm

I don’t know how this game managed to avoid my radar until now but I fixed that.
It looks awesome.

drd7of14 said:

December 14th, 1:57 pm

Yes, yes….Oh yeah, and YESSS!

zepified said:

December 14th, 6:00 pm

This is probably one of the most beautiful 2D games I’ve seen in terms of both a visual & animated standpoint!! I cannot wait to see how this game turns out and I’m glad that there are still studios/devs out there wanting to make these types of beautifully done 2D/platforming games.

paulogy said:

December 15th, 1:44 pm

This game wasn’t on my radar, but it just jumped way up the list! Very nice :-)

Tombikk said:

December 18th, 6:14 am

Wow never heard this one before but it looks really cool. Rogue-like + platformer = best thing ever! Now I have to check your other game, Jotun.

Comments are closed. We close the comments for posts after 30 days

PlayStation Blog