Dark Alliance dev explains ‘Emergent Combat’April 25, 2021
Tuque Games is looking to add its latest title to the list of games that shape the future of combat in video games. Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance brings some of the characters and monsters from the D&D universe to life in an action-focused RPG. For fans of R.A Salvatore’s books about the Drow, Drizzt Do’Urden will be pleased to know that the game focuses on him and his companions, protecting their home of Icewind Dale. Tuque Games’ senior combat designer, Jeff Hattem, detailed the game’s ‘Emergent Combat’ system in an Xbox Wire post, labelling it as “easy to pick up, hard to master.”
Everyone wants to feel powerful in games, from the casual gamer that just picks up a title for a few hours, to the hardcore player that wants to master combos and precise combat control. If you haven’t read the books — which we highly recommend you do — we’ll give you some insight as to what Drizzt is about. Although his friends are just as skilled in their own ways, Drizzt is the centrepiece to almost every encounter. Drizzt Do’Urden is almost comparative to John Wick (don’t shoot us). He is calm, collected, and highly focused when entering any combat situation. His ability to correctly anticipate and counter each opponents action creates a series of manoeuvres that can only be described as a dance. Cutting, slicing, dodging, rolling, and knowing when to pull back makes him an extremely dangerous adversary. To be honest, taking a character as well-loved and as skilled as Drizzt Do’Urden is no small feat because with simple controls he would feel overpowered, and controls to correctly mirror his skill set could — or more than likely would be too hard to pick up for many players.
Tuque Games says that Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance works on a democratised combat system. Players begin the game with simple inputs, such as light attacks and fierce attacks. As you continue through the game, level up and develop a feel for the combat, you’ll be able to intuitively learn new skills. Everyone starts with the simple inputs, but as they progress through the game and learn how to effectively chain moves together, they’ll find that there are hundreds of potential combinations that can be pulled off to achieve the perfect ‘dance’. These moves won’t be necessary to advance but offer an extra level of mastery to the game that will allow players to master the flow of combat. ” We want to capture the player’s imagination in that moment they realize that they have control of what’s happening,” Hattem says in his post on Xbox Wire.
The only thing that limits your combo is stamina. You’ll need to consider your stamina usage when entering combat because some moves use more energy than others. Deplete your stamina pool and you enter a temporary state of exhaustion. You can regain stamina over time, parrying and using potions, but the skill of correctly managing the combat situation and your stamina pool is where the game’s difficulty lies.
“We believe that good combat is made up of a language of clear cues, incentives, and rules. Complexity out of simplicity,” says Hattem when discussing the team’s vision for its game. “The combat in Dark Alliance is a spectacle. Become fluent in our combat language and you get to be the director of that spectacle.” It sounds like there will be plenty to learn in Dark Alliance. If at any point the game feels a little too challenging, or if you have the reflexes of a Drow and the game’s too simple? Just raise or drop the game between six different challenge tiers.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance releases on June 22nd for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One. We’ll be sharpening our blades in anticipation of the coming fight. See you in Icewind Dale!