Last week, CINESCAPE presented part one of its profile on Sony's team behind the upcoming action-game THE MARK OF KRI. This week, we'll look at the puzzles (or lack thereof) in the game.
In THE MARK OF KRI, gamers will frequently find themselves using the brand-new combat system to fight off hordes of enemies. But while most games take the route of presenting puzzles between groups of bad guys, these designers took a slightly different route. To tie the fighting together, Rau can send his bird companion forward to scout out the upcoming terrain, and give the player a better idea about how to approach the situation. We asked the design team why the bird was added to the action.
"I think [the bird] came out of necessity. When we first designed the game, we wanted the focus to be absolutely on combat. We didn't start looking into puzzles as being a mainstay of the game, we wanted it to be all combat," says Jay Beard, executive producer. "What we found is that going into these combat situations unprepared, it watered the game down, it felt like something was missing as you just wandered from group to group."
Wandering from group to group slaughtering unassuming enemies was actually much harder than it would seem before the addition of the bird.
"We found a lot of things in the game were just too hard because the player would wander into an area without knowing what he was up against and would end up being killed," explains Tim Neveu, producer.
But while the overall difficulty decreased, the bird did add depth to the game.
"By adding the bird we allowed a whole strategy of planning that allowed us to add puzzles into the game that are based around combat," says Beard. "We initially we just thought 'wouldn't it be cool if you could just see ahead and think about how you were going to approach the situation based on using the bow or stealth or whatever.' The bird evolved from that."
In THE MARK OF KRI, the bird can fly to certain perches and land. But why not give gamers the ability to freely control it, and do a little exploration?
"There wasn't any need for the total freedom of the bird," explains Beard. "One of the things we tried to do throughout the game is keep the player absolutely focused on combat.
"I've been watching hundreds of hours of focus testing and watching how each of these guys, each person differs on their approach and their favorite weapons and techniques and strategies," says Beard. "That's really satisfying to watch."
Be ready next Thursday for the third and final part of our profile, where we discuss the animation and the biggest challenges that came up in development.Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.