GB: Can you tell us how the two new character classes will complement the four existing characters? What specific skills or abilities did you feel were missing from the classic Gauntlet classes?
Josh: The lancer and tragedian are the two new characters, and they both hail from an African-inspired land alternately called Ajanaku Orile and Indlopha.
The lancer is an aristocratic cavalier whose beloved mounts – fabled “Great Ones” – were slaughtered by the empire. He is very proud and well-educated, and quickly wears on the nerves of the characters. In the story, he often serves as a foil to the other “heroes”. His primarily weapon style is Great Pierce: long two-handed thrusting weapons. His attacks are very graceful and acrobatic, often using a weapon for vaulting or spinning overhead in a dangerous pattern.
The tragedian is the strangest character in the game. Though she is from the same culture as the lancer, she shares little in common with him. The tragedian was part of a terrorist group that operated against the empire. After she was captured, she was tortured for years. Her face and mouth are so mutilated that she cannot speak, and she wears her tragedy mask at all times. She uses a prostitute’s form of sign language, called Harlot’s Tongue, to communicate with some of the other characters in the game. Her combat style is “Unarmed”. It’s a bit of a misnomer, because she uses weapons like punch daggers, cesti, claws, etc. while performing her lightning-fast attacks.
There weren’t really existing skills or abilities that we thought the old Gauntlet characters needed. It was more a matter of adding depth to what was traditionally there. If a player wants to, he or she can mash away with the attacks, super attacks, and “peashooter” missile weapon. But for those who want to take the game beyond the basics, there’s a lot to unlock and master.
GB: What should we expect from the game's AI? Will some of the tougher adversaries in the game exhibit teamwork of their own or even use specific strategies against the players?
Josh: Our Monster Men are operating under the maxim that a large number of distinctly different, simple behaviors can be recombined endlessly to make every arena a new and exciting challenge. It’s not so much about making the enemies think as making the players think. This isn’t a stealth game or a tactical shooter. Once you’re in the arena, it’s go-time. So we want to make sure that the actions of the enemies in the arenas vary highly to keep the player on his or her toes.
That said, some of the human enemies will display organization and teamwork, especially with leaders. The leaders allow human enemies to tactically position themselves around characters, preventing the player from dealing with them easily. When the leaders die, the teamwork falls apart.
GB: Tell us a bit about the adversaries we'll be facing. will we be going up against "boss" enemies? Due to the removal of potions, how will players regain health or mana during a difficult battle with just one major foe (if "boss" enemies exist)?
Josh: There are a lot of different enemy types in the game. They range from the mundane imperial footmen to the grotesque “biped hosts” of Ghost Tree Swamp (ooOOoOoOoOoh!). Human enemies have their pros and cons. They are usually more intelligent and difficult than monstrous enemies, but they are easily grabbed and thrown – into spikes on the wall, spinning blades in a lumber mill, over convenient nearby cliffs, etc.
There are number of bosses and minibosses in the game. The team has divided the enemies into “posse” bosses and “solo” bosses. Posse bosses are the proverbial G-Unit of Seven Sorrows: backing up their 50 Cent when the bullets, er… arrows start flying. Players can kill the posses to regain health during the battle. Solo bosses will generously dispense ley energy when they hit certain health breakpoints during the battle. All things considered, they are very reasonable fellows considering their destructive nature.
GB: Can you give us some details on how the online component will be set up? How will players search for an appropriate game to join and will there be any sort of deterrent to keep cheaters at bay?