New update, out April 14, has Passtech Games’ crossover with Motion Twin and Evil Empire’s roguelike.
Curse of the Dead Gods released on PlayStation 4 last month, and all of us here at Passtech Games have been glued to our screens watching all your amazing footage, feedback, and reactions. As thankful as we are for the response, we’re equally excited to show you new things. Today, we’re doing a deep dive into how we crafted the Curse of the Dead Cells Update, a collaboration between us and Dead Cells’ developers, Motion Twin and Evil Empire.
Death in Curse is the gift that keeps on giving, and in this new update, we’re excited to deliver new ways for you to reach your unique fate. To that end, we’ve added new weapons, originally from Dead Cells, the Cursed Chest, and the Prisoner’s head skin for McCallister, Curse of the Dead Gods’ main character.
From a game design perspective it was a very interesting challenge because it meant taking elements of two similar but also different games and mashing them together. This also goes for the artistic direction, where Dead Cells has a somewhat cartoony, comedic vibe, which isn’t present in Curse. In Dead Cells for example, the Cursed Chest speaks to the player, pleading them to open it. This didn’t work as well for Curse, so we changed it to something we believe is true to both worlds – slightly less comedic, but still somewhat alien and quirky. We were also aware that some players don’t like crossovers, since it can pull them out of the world. That’s why we wanted to keep the content lore-friendly and fit the general vibe of Curse as well. Each new item and mechanic introduced in this update fits into our universe.
Deciding which weapons to take from Dead Cells was a fun process. We started with a rather long list of badass Dead Cells weapons and then filtered it down until we had only the most iconic ones that also made the most sense for Curse: The Broadsword, the Cursed Sword, and the Explosive Crossbow. The crossbow is an entirely new weapon in Curse, which made it even more alluring to us. The Cursed Sword was a must, for obvious reasons. In Curse, we called these weapons the Broadsword of the Knight, the Sword of Conjunctivius, and the Crossbow of the Condemned. Both swords have the same effect as in Dead Cells. The Sword of Conjunctivius (see screenshot below) is a real devil – get hit once, and you’re toast. On the other hand, it’s very powerful. If that doesn’t fit Curse’s penchant for tempting players to their own doom, we don’t know what does!
We took some liberties with the Cursed Chest. In Curse, there used to be two ways to get a cursed item (weapon or relic): get one at a starting altar or buy one at a sanctuary. Now, the Cursed Chest from Dead Cells gives you a third way. In Dead Cells, when you open a cursed chest, you are inflicted with a curse that lasts until you kill a certain number of enemies. We reinvented this mechanic to fit into Curse: to unlock the chest you have to kill a certain number of enemies in the room without getting hit. Fail, and the chest goes poof. Rather than simply give you a cursed item, the Cursed Chest presents you with a choice of three items, one of which is always cursed.
We hope you all enjoyed this insight into how we brought a slice of Dead Cells into our own Curse of the Dead Gods. It was a pleasure to work with Motion Twin and Evil Empire, and we cannot wait to see how the update will be received by you, the players!
Curse of the Dead Gods is available now for PlayStation 4. Its free update Curse of the Dead Cells will be available on April 14.