Level: Prologue
Level: The Wilds
Level: The Walls

Prologue

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Setting the Stage

A ghostly figure appears from a portal.  Caddoc recognizes her as the woman he's been seeing in his dreams.  She introduces herself as Seraphine.

She comes to offer a gift:  magical combat abilities which can be enhanced through the discovery and use of crystals.  The price is simply to pick up the skull-shaped object on the pillar.  She refers to it as "the Death Stone."

Before Seraphine can recite the "fine print," E'lara's curious and incautious nature leads her to pick it up...

Caddoc yells a warning, but it's too late.  Both warriors are pulled into a vision of a terrible past where dragons reigned and a mighty dragonslayer claimed the Death Stone for himself (possibly allowing him to calm or control the dragons—the vision isn't clear enough to tell yet).

The skies swirl with clouds and darken as lightning begins to strike the ground nearby, collapsing the nearby ruins as Caddoc and E'lara sprint to get away!


 
Analysis

She looks totally weird and evil.  Maybe E'lara's right that Seraphine isn't trustworthy...

The Death Stone is a central gimmick in the game, onto which are heaped a bunch of unrelated supernatural talents which needed a home.  For no particular reason, it:

  • Bestows the ability to cast magical spells (later in the level)

  • Allows the bearers to upgrade their combat talents through the use of crystals (game-y)

  • Alerts the game's villain (who really should protect it if it's that important) that it's been stolen, and

  • (Also slightly later in the level,) lets Caddoc and E'lara hear the last moments of the recently-deceased

(Why such a powerful artifact is sitting unprotected on a pillar in the middle of nowhere—or why our heroes would dare touch it when the skeleton of the last person who tried to take it lays clutching the base—are questions best left un-asked.)



Necromancy

Caddoc and E'lara jump free of the collapsing pillars only to find themselves facing a new danger:  whatever force they have awoken is raising an army of the dead to stop them.  Skeletons raise and reassemble themselves before their eyes.

These ancient warriors are armed with bows and, although they break apart when hit, represent a greater threat than the Arackling Crawlers the pair faced moments ago.


 
Intent

After the arrival of the skeletons, I have Caddoc gate the player's path until E'lara picks up a "Regenerative Vial." This item is a key element in how Hunted intends to play differently than other cover shooters of the day.

The essence of Hunted's co-op was pitched as "co-op at a distance"—rather than have to be close to your ally to revive them (thereby encouraging players to stay near each other when fighting), Hunted encourages its players to put distance between them whenever they like through use of the Regenerative Vials, which can rescue a character from death when thrown at their location from (potentially) across the battlefield.

It's a useful mechanic given that either character can equip a melee weapon and charge away from their buddy at any time.  Given that one character prefers bows and the other swords, it's particularly likely that she will hang back while he runs forward.

To get the player used to that mechanic, as soon as Caddoc has cleared the way, I have him scripted to run forward and "go down" due to taking damage so the player can learn the revive mechanic.



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