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Deck 13 explores new combat territory in upcoming action-rpg Atlas Fallen

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Hi everyone! I’m Jérémy Hartvick, game design director at Deck13, and currently working on the recently announced Atlas Fallen. Atlas Fallen is a heroic-fantasy action-RPG which will take you to a ravaged sand-covered world where ferocious creatures await to drag you into spectacular fights. The combat system departs from our previous productions—that was one of the biggest challenges we took on… and that’s what I’m here to talk to you about! 

Our team at Deck13 has gathered a lot of experience with close-combat fighting duels, and we wanted to continue in this direction, but with a different angle and completely new mechanics, aiming for even more fast-paced and effects-loaded fights that require skill and timing. We designed the combat to be easy to pick up but also loaded it up with mechanics that are tricky to perform to perfection. 

Deck 13 explores new combat territory in upcoming action-rpg Atlas Fallen

While keeping a visceral feel as well as certain moves which were core to The Surge series, Atlas Fallen’s combat is primarily defined by speed and fluidity. We’ve kept ideas like the body part targeting system and the implant system, using a different approach to best support the accentuated RPG aspect. We pushed everything a step further in the direction of advanced character management and moveset customization, so you’ll get to approach combat in your own way. 

Game feel is our main concern when it comes to designing Atlas Fallen. We’ve let strict constraints of realism aside to focus on giving a thrilling, overpowering feeling to the game. One of the chief design elements to achieve this is Sand Gliding, which is how the hero will move across the vast world of Atlas Fallen. It’s key to the game’s high mobility system, and it brings amazing speed and verticality to the spectacular action of combats. 

Another powerful aspect of Atlas Fallen’s combat system comes from the hero’s gauntlet. Rather than using actual weapons, the magical power of this gauntlet allows the hero to manipulate the sand which covers the world and turn it into a transformable weapon. Thus, there is no need to put a weapon back before taking another out, and changing from one to another during combat becomes a seamless transition.

This leads to epic, combo-driven dynamics, which in turn feed a

New combat and gameplay details for The Callisto Protocol revealed 

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Earlier this year we gave PlayStation fans a world-exclusive first look at The Callisto Protocol, a new science-fiction survival horror game from the team at Striking Distance Studios.  

The response from the PlayStation community has been incredible. Fans have told us that they love the oppressive atmosphere, the terrifying creatures, and isolated deep space setting. We’re grateful for the awesome feedback. It has inspired the team as we polish the game for release in December.

But the community has also had a lot of questions – especially about the combat and gameplay. 

That’s why I’m excited to be here to give you a first look at some new features that we’re rolling out this week at gamescom.

Brutal, strategic combat

Delivering an innovative new strategic combat system for The Callisto Protocol has been a huge focus for the team. Action in a survival horror game should be a delicate dance between feelings of desperate helplessness and strategic, skill-based gameplay. It’s a historically tough balance to get right.

To solve this, we made the combat in The Callisto Protocol a unique mix of ranged shooting and brutal melee, with a unique gravity weapon called the GRP (or “Grip”) that let’s players quickly move between the two.

We want players to have options, but we also want them to be terrified of every encounter as they get up close and personal with the enemies.

We think it’s one of the most intense, visceral, and terrifying combat systems we’ve experienced, and it’s amplified by some of the next-gen features on the PS5 – especially the incredible haptic feedback on the DualSense controller.  

There’s nothing like feeling the powerful strike of the stun baton landing on one of the Biophage through haptic feedback. It gives me chills every time.

Mutations

This week at gamescom we’re introducing an all-new mechanic called Mutations that add even more depth to the game’s combat. 

The creatures in The Callisto Protocol – called Biophage – are inmates at Black Iron Prison who have been transformed by a mysterious outbreak that has thrown the moon into chaos.  As the contagion ravages the host’s body, it spreads through a series of tentacles that violently erupt out of their flesh.

A monster charges towards the protagonist, tentacles sprouting from its torso.

When the tentacles emerge, the player has a short window to kill the virus with a few well-placed shots at the tentacles before they can wreak further havoc on their host.

Kill the virus and you get a quick takedown of an enemy.  Miss, and … well, you don’t want to miss.

A snarling, heavily mutated Biophage bares its razor-sharp teeth as </div>
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Battle through the worlds of the living and the dead in The Lords of the Fallen

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The Lords of the Fallen, a new dark fantasy action-RPG, has just been revealed during Gamescom’s Opening Night Live! We at CI Games are excited to shed a little more light on the title’s vast world of shadow and chaos with the Sony community today. 

In development for PlayStation 5, the Lords of the Fallen introduces players to an all-new adventure in a world that has fallen into an even darker age, over a thousand years after the events of the original 2014 hit. Players can look forward to exploring a vast and expansive, interconnected world, more than five times larger than the original game – either fighting alone in the darkness, or side-by-side in seamless online co-op.

Cezar Virtosu, Creative Director of Hexworks, describes The Lords of the Fallen as the “spiritual successor fans of the original game have always wanted.The world is significantly vaster, darker and more challenging, with faster, unforgiving combat, deeper lore, and much more immersive storytelling.”

The very first trailer for The Lords of the Fallen is a  three minute cinematic narrated by the iconic Joseph Quinn (Stranger Things, Game of Thrones). Feast your eyes below:

Battle through the worlds of the living and the dead in The Lords of the Fallen

Now that you’ve had your first taste of the accursed world of The Lords of the Fallen, we’re now going to add some further flesh to the bone with the following gameplay details:

Explore two vast, parallel worlds

From the ethereal heights of Skywalk Bridge, to the decrepit depths of the Shuja swamps, players will journey across two parallel worlds in their epic quest to overthrow Adyr, the tyrannical, demon God. While the living realm presents its own brutal challenges, untold terrors lurk in the nightmarish realm of the dead. 

You’ll be equipped with a lantern of ungodly power that equips its bearer with the ability to cross between these two worlds. But it’s more than a key between realms: use this dark art to reach forgotten places, unearth fabled treasures, and even manipulate the very soul of your foe.  

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Goat Simulator 3 introduces ‘gameplay features’

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Hey PlayStation players! I’ve goat some new details I wanted to share with you on our silly sandbox game, as well as our first gameplay trailer, revealed today at Gamescom Opening Night Live.

Goat Simulator 3 is coming to PlayStation 5 on November 17 and we’re hyped to reveal more details on what you can anticipate. If you’ve had the misfortune of playing Goat Simulator, you’re familiar with our specific brand of nonsense, but this time around we promise we’ve tried a bit harder:

Goat Simulator 3 introduces ‘gameplay features’

The essence of Goat Simulator 3 is the freedom to explore and uncover the mysteries of the sprawling city of San Angora and cause absolute carnage. There is so much to uncover, destroy, and milk, but I wanted to highlight a few of our “gameplay features”:

Multiplayer mini-games

Got friends? Because the feature we’re probably most proud of is the 4 player multiplayer in Goat Simulator 3. Everything Pilgor does in single player can also be enjoyed with friends, online or in local co-op. We’ve added a load of mini-games, seven in fact which are:

  • King of the Hill – Stay inside the castle to gain crowns. The player with the most crowns wins.
  • The Floor is Lava – Don’t touch the lava! Use your parkour skills and climb as high as possible to escape the rising lava. Last one alive wins.
  • Car Derby – Drive into the rear of the other players vehicles to explode their bombs. Last player alive wins.
  • Prop Hunt – Classic hide and seek. If you are the seeker, find the other players by headbutting stuff. To hide, lick your desired prop. Move around when hiding to gain extra points.
  • Headsplat – Use your headbutt to paint the world. You get a point for each painted thing.
  • Hoofball – Get the ball in your goal to score points. The player with the most points wins, like usual.
  • Prop Golf – Get your prop to the flag ASAP. First player to reach the flag wins.

We’ve highlighted special areas around the island where you can unlock each mini-game, if you’ve yet to come across it before, and play in a space designed for the “best” experience for that game.

Once you unlock a mini-game you can then play it anytime and anywhere you want. Either give you and your friends a worthy challenge or activate the mini-game in the most ridiculously inappropriate or silly

The Callisto Protocol: Glen Schofield interview 

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Our first encounter with The Callisto Protocol was back in June, when its creator Glen Schofield shared an exclusive look at the horrors that would await PS5 players on the surface of Jupiter’s moon. The Striking Distance Studios CEO took us on a tour emphasizing the tech powering this return to the sci-fi horror space: the subtle strength of Horror Engineering that’d perfect each shock and scare, the near-future weaponry that gives Jacob Lee a fighting chance against the mutated Biophage, and how 3D Audio and haptic feedback would pull us deeper into the danger-filled corridors of Black Iron Prison. 

Today at Gamescom, he returned to dig deeper into how the game’s combat will work and share new gameplay. Prior to that reveal, we sat down to talk about the journey towards the game’s launch on December 2, its soundscape, story, and more about his team’s techniques to craft a horror story you’ll be unable to forget. 

PlayStation Blog: While the game’s still a few months out from release, that will mark (just under) two years since it was originally announced. Have you had much chance to come up for air and reflect on that journey thus far, or do you keep your focus solely on those pre-launch milestones?

Glen Schofield: The last few years have been a blur. We’ve built a new studio, created a new game based on a new IP, with a new team, on a new engine, for a new generation of consoles … during the pandemic. What a ride!  The team at Striking Distance Studios can’t wait to finally share The Callisto Protocol with the world!

The support that we’ve received from players—and especially the PlayStation community—has been one of the things that has inspired us to finish so strong. The feedback has been incredible, and it means the world to me and the team.  This game is a labor of love.

What’s left between now and going gold?

We’ve reached what we call “content lock,” which means that basically everything is in the game at this point. Levels, creatures, visual effects, cutscenes—it’s all in there. Right now, we’re making all those last little tweaks. Changing the timing on a sound here, brightening up a light there, tuning the difficulty, stuff like that. And of course, we’re optimizing performance and squashing bugs every day.

This last phase of development is a lot of work, but it’s when the game really starts to shine. It’s very satisfying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Can you go into more detail as to your approach to the game’s score? Is it primarily diegetic, backed with cues from The Apprehension Engine?

I can’t overstate how important audio is to a horror game. It’s half the experience. In fact, I consider audio to be a feature, like combat or anything else. It’s that critical.

What’s interesting about audio for a horror game is that you have a ton of room to experiment and do some really wild stuff.

Let’s say you have a machine off in the corner of the room. We think about how we can make that machine scary. How do you turn people’s expectations for what an industrial machine sounds like, and just tweak it a little bit, so it sounds foreign and intimidating? We want the world to feel familiar but threatening and a little off.

These diegetic elements really help immerse the player in the world, but keep them off balance.

Music and other non-die

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