Celebrating Hunted’s release date (June 1st in North America, June 3rd in Europe), we’ve got a new developer diary from design director Chris Keenan. In the diary, Chris shares details on Hunted’s main enemy type — the Wargar. These persistently nasty bad guys will attack you in a number of ways throughout your adventure. In this diary details their strategies and provides pointers on how to thwart them.
Take it away, Chris…
Every action game has a core enemy that the player fights consistently throughout the adventure. Some games have infantry soldiers, while others present drones that will feverishly attempt to prevent the player’s forward progress. In Hunted : The Demon’s Forge, the Wargar fill that role. Knowing that the player will be fighting different packs of Wargar for much of their play experience, we made sure that the enemy behaviors prompted the players to change their play style depending on the type of Wargar that made an appearance. With Caddoc being a melee-focused player and E’lara’s proficiency in ranged weapons, we knew we had a challenge to create enemy AI that provided interesting situations for both of these player characters. For this reason, we broke the Wargar tribes down into multiple classes with drastically different behaviors. The main classes are melee Wargar (Soldiers, Warriors, Guardians and Zealots), ranged Wargar (Archers, Scorchers and Blastcasters) and Casters (Infected). Notice how these classes mirror the player’s abilities to offer challenges to different play styles.
Melee enemies are the bread and butter of many great action games. In Hunted, the Wargar Soldiers are the pack fighters. Alone, they are weak, but typically they do not fight alone. Soldiers tend to stalk the player in groups of three or more, and while they don’t deal a ton of damage, they will wreak havoc on a ranged player when up close. Since they don’t carry a shield, Soldiers can go down fairly quickly with well-timed attacks. Wargar Warriors bring a small shield into the fight and will use it to close the distance on ranged players. E’lara can blow through the Warriors’ defenses with her Arcane Arrow (deadly against shields) or she can skillfully aim around the shield to bring them down. Wargar Guardians are the enemies’ tanks. Heavily armored and equipped with a massive steel shield, they are a solid counter to E’lara’s ranged attacks. Caddoc can pick them apart using melee attacks and will need to act as E’lara’s protector when Guardians enter the fray. Once defeated, the players can use the Warriors’ shields against their kin, provided they’ve managed to leave them intact.
Zealots act unlike any of the other Wargar. The most fearsome and vicious of the melee Wargar, once they’ve set their sights on a target there is no shaking them. They dual-wield giant axes and overpower their enemies with relentless attacks. Caddoc’s shield will be splintered quickly if they are allowed to turtle and E’lara has to vigorously kite the Zealots to not be dominated by them. A single Zealot has the ability to keep both players on their toes.
The ranged Wargar in Hunted present a contrasting challenge to the players. Archer Wargar are the standard ranged enemy. They take cover, advance on players who try to hang back defensively and use tactics to try to root out the players for melee enemies to pick off. In our world, the closer you are to an Archer, the more damage he does. For this reason, when the Archers close in on Caddoc, they can deal some heavy damage quickly. It is advantageous for E’lara to pick them off with haste when they enter the arena. The Wargar Scorchers are deadly sharpshooters who sling lethal fire arrows at the players. Their smoke trails tend to give away their location quickly, which is a good thing since just a few of their shots are enough to take down the heroes. Once that thick trail is spotted, it is in the best interest of the players to take cover, find the Scorcher and remove it. The final ranged Wargar the players will face is the Blastcaster. Their explosive arrows stick into the environment and explode after being primed for a few seconds. If left alone, they can do massive amounts of damage due to their area of effect. The Blastcasters can quickly negate cover and force the players to go scrambling through the arena to find a new safe spot… which tend to be sparse when the Blastcasters are around.
This brings us to the Infected Wargar. These Wargar have been twisted by a dark magic called Sleg. Their powers are far greater than those of their brethren. The Infected tend to act as commanders of the battlefield. They can teleport around the world as a defensive tactic or to get a better position on the players. The longer the Infected are around, the stronger all of the other enemies become. They can Battle Charge the ranged and melee Wargar to apply dark magic to their weapons, which deal additional damage. The Infected also have the ability to resurrect troops who have fallen but haven’t been completely finished off. Ignoring the Infected can make an already difficult engagement virtually impossible.
Having a large selection of enemies with varying behaviors gives our designers many options when laying out their battles. A fight with six soldiers is drastically different from one with three Soldiers, two Guardians, and a Zealot. Players will need to learn the fighting style of each enemy and use their arsenal of skills and spells to break down each wave. As you progress through the game, you’ll learn about the vulnerabilities of the Wargar and how best to defeat them, using E’lara’s agility and Caddoc’s brute strength to ultimately unlock the twisted tale of Hunted.