Hi everyone, I’m so grateful to have the chance to write this blog post, as I get to talk about a subject close to my heart — gameplay!
I recently got a chance to sit down with James Hawkins, XDev executive producer at Sony, and record us playing a bit of the game as we discuss some of the gameplay design.
Our game has quite a few different facets to the experience, from platforming and puzzles to the intricacies of combat. We want players to have a varied challenge — after all, learning and mastering the skills to beat the game are a large part of the fun.
Of course, we appreciate that some players want to enjoy the world and would prefer to be able to take a slightly more laid-back approach, so we’ve added a beginner option to make that possible too — but to see anything beyond the most basic ending you’ll have to really sink your teeth into the game!
One key area as you progress through the game is the Wisdom of Shadows that allows you to buy upgrades, new special moves, and talismans that can be equipped to enable new strategies. To access these items you’ll need to hunt down secrets hidden throughout the levels to unlock them, and then purchase them with Mana gained through demonstrating your skills in the game — primarily by scoring well in combat!
The heart of combat is simple: enemies come in from the left or right and you have to defeat them. Most of your attacks will destroy them with one hit. It’s straightforward to understand but the depth in the formula quickly becomes apparent as different enemies respond differently to your various attacks, and have different methods and timing of their own attacks — not to mention getting faster as they approach.
As you go deeper into the levels you’ll have to start watching enemies very closely to defeat them unscathed, and once multiple types of enemies are mixed together you’ll really have to stay on your toes! Keep in mind that your moves take time to execute, so once enemies start getting a little faster you’ll have to think about the enemy coming at you from behind while you’re executing your move on the enemy in front. Once things get even more hectic you’ll need to start planning for the enemies behind the enemies you’re attacking!
Luckily you have a huge range of options available to you: basic attacks, counters, stun, throws, special attacks, evades, dodge rolls, the Wrath of Aarbron, Rage Chains, and — most importantly –the oft-overlooked but oh-so-important block button! When you master them, many of these moves have “perfect windows” in their timing as well that can grab you extra points.
The combo multiplier in particular is critical — it is applied to every kill so if you can get a really big multiplier then this can reward you with massive scores. But be super-careful — taking damage (or using a Rage Chain) will reset your combo multiplier back to one. Scoring big starts with not getting hit, and for that reason the most fundamental skill is learning to block effectively.
It’s so nice to talk about the game design! I hope it will prove helpful for players who decide to pick up Shadow of the Beast, and particularly anyone who decides to unlock all the different endings and aim for Platinum ranks in all the fights on Beast mode!
Please be sure to pre-order your copy of Shadow of the Beast today in order to secure your limited edition dynamic Theme featuring a brand new original creature designed by acclaimed artist Roger Dean! Roger was the creator of the cover art for the original Shadow of the Beast game and its sequel, so it’s a massive honor to have him revisit the universe with our game.
Thanks again for your interest — it is genuinely appreciated.