Level: Airship
Level: Blackwall Yard
Level: Embankment
Level: Catacombs

Chapter 14: A Knight of Old

Section   1  | 2


Experience the Level

The left column features videos and descriptions of the major events for each section.


 
Development and Analysis

The right column focuses on the planning, decisions, and iterations for the section.

This side also includes analysis of the section's successes and failures.



Opening Cinematic

With the help of Tesla and a mysterious figure, Galahad survives his fall from the roof of Westminster (seen at the end of the Prologue chapter).  Tesla cannot stay to help Galahad recover from his ordeal without his absence becoming suspicious, however, so he calls Lakshmi to tend the fallen knight... thereby revealing that he was the one secretly arming the Rebels all along.

As Galahad regains consciousness, Lakshmi explains that a city-wide manhunt is going on, and the little shack won't be safe for long.  She proposes to take the knight to her hideout in Whitechapel, after which they can smuggle Galahad out of the city.


 
Development

The version of this level that shipped is the second one I was asked to create.

As development neared the final stretch, a scheduling review showed that the scope of the game needed to be reduced to ensure all teams would hit our ship date.  This is not uncommon;  "re-scoping" has been a part of nearly every project I've worked on.

Since the original level I had planned (the final level of the game) only existed in block-mesh form and featured some custom set-pieces, significant gains could be made by re-doing it from scratch:  the new version has fewer new assets and cutscenes, and focuses entirely on core mechanics.

I really enjoy finding creative ways to use core mechanics, so instead of treating this as a loss, I saw a challenging opportunity.  The resulting levels (Embankment and Catacombs), though shorter in total than my original one, are a compelling achievement, and I'm proud them.



Tunnels and Lanterns

In the tunnels on the way to Whitechapel, Galahad and Lakshmi encounter United India Company guards searching the area.  Equipped only with lanterns and pistols, their options are limited.

After the first fight, a couple more enemies appear when the player must go through a narrow tunnel.  Normally, they would be no problem... but the way they trap the player means he has to force his way through to safety.

This interstitial combat leads directly into the final encounter (see Part 2), creating a sense of this sequence as a continuous "running battle."


Gameplay Video

 
Intent

This was a fun opportunity for me to bring back gameplay that had only appeared once previously:  combat using the lantern + pistol setup.



One of the other designers described the lantern combat gameplay as "like a Wild West shootout" because it limits the player's options:  no ability to run or sprint, no ability to enter cover, and no grenades or secondary weapons.


Decisions

I wanted to really push the "Wild West" analogy as far as it could go.  I'll talk more about my approach in the next section.  (As a bonus for players who search the environment, I placed our game's one-shot-kill "hand cannon" in one of the first side passages.)

Because Galahad is accompanied by Lakshmi, this first 3-vs-2 engagement isn't very difficult... but it gives the player a chance to experiment with how to tackle the unique challenges of this unusual type of combat.


First Tunnel Area Flythrough




Section   1  | 2