Level: Prologue
Level: The Wilds
Level: The Walls

Prologue

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Trading Places

Reaching an iron gate ahead of them, the heroes decide that Caddoc should perhaps take the lead.  They interact with the stone atop a unique obelisk that switches the player's control from E'lara to Caddoc.  (These obelisks appear throughout the adventure so players can choose to swap roles at discrete points.)

Caddoc uses his strength to push a pillar with a brazier atop it underneath another brazier whose fire is dropping embers.  The lower brazier catches fire and (somehow) mystically causes the iron gate to open.  (Many mechanisms in the world of Hunted are activated through the positioning of objects or putting flames in the right brazier.)


 
Process

Before the player "says goodbye" to playing as E'lara for the rest of the level, it's necessary to add one more element to her roster of bow skills.

Hunted sprinkles small- and medium-scale puzzles throughout in order to engage more than the combat side of the player's brain.  Many of these puzzles spin out of variations on the use of typical action-game puzzle mechanics such as finding a set of "key"-type items or performing a set of actions in the proper order.  Frequently (because the reuse of systems justifies their development cost), these involve the player's ability to light arrows on fire.

The moment where this mechanic is taught was added out of necessity:  cooperative games often "gate" player progression to keep characters together.  Having just used the "buddy-opened" gate, I needed to find a different way to require the player to complete the skeleton fight before interacting with the character-swap obelisk.  Since it had been decided that that sequence was to be gated in the bluntest way possible (with a gate that can't be opened without switching to Caddoc), it occurred to me to reverse the actions here—to have the gate in use a mechanic that only E'lara can use.

And since lightning was being called down from the sky anyway, why not have it coincidentally strike the brazier needed for E'lara to light an arrow?

Once the player has learned Caddoc's "unique puzzle ability" (pushing heavy objects that slide), they're free to go.



What the Death Stone can do

The heroes encounter a corpse lying across their path, and the mysterious Death Stone seems to respond to its presence.  Caddoc moves it closer to the body and its spirit rises up to deliver a message:  the last thoughts of the man it used to be.

They realize that Seraphine was telling the truth about the powers of the Death Stone and wonder what other secrets it may reveal in the future.

The story the spirit tells before it fades hints at the existence of an axe imbued with magical properties that can be found somewhere nearby.


 
Development

Caddoc's section of the game provides plenty of objects to smash and hack, as befitting his role as a burly swordsman.  He's certainly not a meathead (often being the more cautious and contemplative of the two characters), but a game like this is a power fantasy, and bashing and slicing in this game feels great!

As quickly as the player has switched characters, I need to get them right back into the thick of new mechanics.

They're introduced to the crystals that Seraphine described as having a hidden power.  These can be found whole in unique chests (as they are here) or reconstructed from shards that enemies drop.  The drops are controlled through a loot table system that gives the developers some control over the player's rate of upgrade progression, while the whole crystals give an instantaneous boost to the player's upgrade points and are typically used as rewards for solving a puzzle.

The "Death Stone corpses" perform the same function in Hunted as audio logs in many other games.  They deepen the player's understanding of the world, and often provide hints or outright solutions to puzzles.



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