Level: Prologue
Level: The Wilds
Level: The Walls

Chapter 3: The Wilds of Govad

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Side "Dungeon" - Grassy Temple

Heading through a breakable wooden wall to one side of the main road reveals a secret path up to a small shrine on the hill.  A talking stone face-wall there wishes for someone to bring three ingredients—a feather, a unique flower, and a piece of amber—before it will let anyone pass and take the riches of the shrine.  Through rhyme, it requests that these items be added to a fire, whose flames will change color and can be brought before it on one of E'lara's fire arrows.

To even reach the face-wall, Caddoc and E'lara must first solve a puzzle by realizing that some statues are missing in two rows that were intended to contain three each.  Standing on the bases of the missing statues simultaneously (essentially, becoming the statues to fill the empty spots) opens the gate to the inner courtyard.


 
Intent

Developing these "medium-size" puzzles while simultaneously creating the multi-hour experiences that form the rest of the level was a challenge for such a small team.  We were largely only able to succeed through significant reuse of existing mechanics:  cuttable bushes, basic interactions, fire arrows, walk-on triggers, and the face-wall are all pieces used multiple times elsewhere in the game.

While these aren't an overly-challenging couple of puzzles, their intent was merely to be a few minutes' diversion before letting the player get back to the primary mission of the level.  And although some of the other levels feature much more in-depth puzzle sequences, their steps and various moving parts can sometimes confuse the player enough to get stuck.

For where it is in the level (there's a slightly more in-depth "dungeon" towards the end), I think the amount that it asks of the player is appropriate—a few mildly-cryptic clues to figure out, a quick scavenger hunt, a barred gate to overcome...



Forest Prisoner Camps

Now back on track, Caddoc and E'lara find the "meat" of their forest trek:  a series of small prisoner camps where the Wargar keep their prisoners before taking them to the ruined temple on the hill in small numbers.

Each of these camps builds on a particular gameplay narrative;  each has a horn which summons reinforcements if an enemy blows on it.  As the fight progresses, every few seconds a Wargar will stop fighting and make a run for the horn, attempting to reach and blow it before the heroes take them down.

While the concept is simple, in the moment it can be a challenge to identify which Wargar is the next "runner," so the very first one introduces the concept in its most basic form and each of the later fights adds a layer of challenge or complexity: more enemies, a second or third horn, different locations for the horns which make them more difficult to "protect" simultaneously, etc.

These fights also feature the "hanging prisoners" seen earlier for the player to rescue... if they survive the fight.  Wargar will sometimes run to a prisoner instead of to the horn and stab them rather than let them be rescued.


 
Decisions

Since "lighting arrows on fire" is such a key component of the puzzle gameplay in Hunted, I wanted to continue that gameplay "theme" by having arrows light on fire automatically if they pass over the campfires dotted throughout the center of many of the prisoner camps.  These also cause direct damage if a character walks or is knocked into them.



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