Level: Prologue
Level: The Wilds
Level: The Walls

Chapter 3: The Wilds of Govad

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Catapult Introduction

Caddoc and E'lara follow the prisoner trains into a set of old ruins (not the distant ruins seen earlier—those can still be seen in the far distance), where the Wargar put up a mighty fight.  The underdwellers have even set up a catapult in the center of the ruins and are using it to bombard the few human soldiers left resisting them.

They fight their way through the center of the ruins until they reach a tower which lets them reach the catapult.  They turn the weapon against the Wargar armies, then use it to blast away a pile of rubble obstructing their path deeper into the woods.


 
Intent

"Taking an enemy fortification and turning it against them" is one of the core pillars of the Hunted experience.  This gets repeated several times during the Wilds level and elsewhere throughout the game.

My team intended to make each of these experiences unique in its own way. For the introductory catapult of the level, this meant building the sense of its threat and tension across a series of fights before the catapult is even seen.  The space is divided into two halves:  the first, where the catapult merely lobs its missiles randomly over the dividing wall into standard combat spaces, and the second, where the player's entire focus was put on assaulting the catapult directly.

The constant drumbeat of its explosions throughout the sequence works well to portray its power.  By the time the player finally reaches the short tower and crosses the bridge to the catapult's plateau, they are more than ready to kill its user and take over the weapon.  The space they just battled their way across becomes a killing field as waves of enemy reinforcements find their deaths at the end of a catapult bomb's flight.



Down slope

The heroes pass through a mountain pass to the opposite slope, where the distant ruins can clearly be seen ahead.

Descending the far slope covers quite a long vertical distance, but the Wargar encountered along the way keep things exciting.  At the bottom, Caddoc and E'lara find a cask of the silvery liquid (revealed to be called "Sleg") they had seen the stronger Wargar drinking earlier in the game.  Waves of these enemies appear and challenge the heroes for control of the cask.

The combat is difficult like nothing the pair has fought before, and they might just give in to the temptation of the silvery liquid and its powers to survive the fight.


 
Development

This was a difficult but crucial combat encounter to get right—the first of several battles in the game that feature the Sleg containers.  These essentially act as "free victories" if used... the Sleg imbues a hero's attacks with supernatural speed and power while also providing a significant boost to defense.

However, drinking a single one causes players to miss out on the "good ending" (where neither player is controlled by the Sleg—if either drank it, that character murders the other in one of the "bad endings").

This means that the fight needs to be possible for most or all players to beat unaided by the evil liquid, but so challenging that they seriously consider giving in to its promise of salvation.  Not an easy balance to achieve by any stretch of the imagination.



Revelation

Progressing further, Caddoc and E'lara find a Wargar camp outside the mouth of a cave.  They discuss possible approaches:  a high flank on one side, a low sneak path through the reeds on the other, or an exposed run straight up the center.

Once inside the cave, they encounter a new trick by the Arackling Crawlers—dropping from the ceiling into a fight.  They overcome this ambush and continue to the back of the cave, where they rescue the leader of one of the human clans from his cell.

He reveals that he was taken from a different city—not Dyfed—meaning the Wargar invasion is more widespread than was previously known.


 
 

 



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