Dishonored (opens in new tab)developer Arkane Studios has released a new deep-dive video detailing its upcoming cooperative shooter Redfall (opens in new tab), and watching it is first time I've felt like I have a proper grasp on what exactly Arkane is building.
As part of this year's QuakeCon event, Arkane's studio director Harvey Smith got together with key developers on the Redfall team, including creative director Ricardo Bare and Art Director Karen Segars, to discuss various features of the game such as the open world, playable characters, weapons and character skills.
One of the key details revealed in the video is the structure of the game's open world. Unlike previous Arkane games (with the possible exception of Prey), the town of Redfall is a truly contiguous and freely explorable space. It's also substantially larger than previous Arkane settings. "I think the Talos [space station] in Prey was five football fields, and the size of Redfall is kinda 'hold my beer'." Segars says. "We definitely challenged the whole team with making something this big."
Smith adds more details. "It's an open-world, but it's not an open world based on the scale of vehicles. It's an open world based on foot. It's a familiar setting, New England. It's spooky. [You can] traverse the place, go into mom 'n' pop grocery stores, apartments, get on the roof of buildings. And we try to put in as many environmental storytelling scenes around as we possibly can, and so it just feels very lived in."
The video also elaborates upon how character progression will work. There are four different characters in the game, each with their own sets of skills and abilities. However, it wasn't clear how deeply these different abilities ran, or the extent to which players could interact with them. The video reveals that each character has their own skill tree, and pursuing specific elements of that tree can favour dramatically different play-styles with each character.
"We've come up with a suite of really cool abilities and powers for players to choose from, just like we did in Prey and Dishonored" Bare says. He then highlights Jacob Boyer, a stealth focussed character with invisibility powers and a raven companion. "My Jacob might not be the same as your Jacob because I may choose to really drill down into the raven skill-tree and max that out."
One last point worth discussing is the weapons. The game features a wide array of firearms, ranging from standard FPS guns like assault rifles and shotguns, to more ad-hoc weapons like flare pistols. But the most interesting weapon Arkane highlights is the stake gun, a "found ammo" weapon which you can fill with "broken-off pool cues" and "snapped-off mop handles". It also have various colourful bayonet attachements, such as a harpoon, a broken guitar neck, and even a garden gnome.
You can watch the full video above. I'd say it's well worth doing so, because I have a much better idea of what the game will be like now, and also just how ambitious the project is. In short, it appears Arkane is trying to create an open-world shooter that's bigger than Prey, with four Dishonored 2-style characters to play as, that caters to both singleplayer and up-to four-player coop. "Ultimately we hope that players will play single-player if that's what they want, and it'll feel like an Arkane game, but it's more expansive," Smith says.