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post #1 of 2 Old 03-15-10, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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inXile, Bethesda Partner for Hunted: The Demon's Forge

inXile, Bethesda Partner for Hunted: The Demon's Forge

By Mike Sharkey | Mar 15, 2010 New title described as the best of classic dungeon-crawlers and modern-day shooters.

Interplay founder Brian Fargo, the man who helped create classic franchises The Bard's Tale, Baldur's Gate, and Fallout, has a new game and a prominent new partner. Bethesda Softworks announced today it will publish Fargo's third-person, co-op fantasy action game Hunted: The Demon's Forge.

Fargo's studio, inXile Entertainment, is developing the game and describes it as a mash-up of classic dungeon crawlers and modern-day shooters. Hunted will allow players to take control of ranged-weapon expert E'lara or master swordsman Caddoc and travel into the fantasy world of Kala Moor. Designed for co-op play, gamers will use E'lara's ranged attacks and magic and Caddoc's melee skills to battle hordes of enemies, solve puzzles, and discover the secrets of The Demon's Forge.

"We are thrilled to be working with Bethesda Softworks on this upcoming release that takes us back to our roots," Fargo said in a statement. "Bethesda's track record speaks for itself and the game we are developing for them is no exception."

Powered by Unreal Engine 3, Hunted will be released for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows PCs. The companies have not yet issued a release date.

Source: GameSpy

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Re: inXile, Bethesda Partner for Hunted: The Demon's Forge

Hunted First Look

The classic dungeon crawler gets a face lift.
by Erik Brudvig

March 15, 2010 - If you've been playing videogames for any significant amount of time, the chances are good that you've made your way through a few dungeon crawlers in your day. These are the fantasy games dominated by dark caves filled with skeletons, goblins, spiders and secret paths filled with loot. There was a time when this genre was all of the rage as Dungeons and Dragons heavily influenced most every game designer out there. Times have changed but this once ubiquitous genre has been pushed to the sidelines. But it has not been forgotten and now Bethesda and development studio inXile are giving it another spin, this time pulling in modern design standards.

Hunted is being designed from the ground up as a cooperative experience, with the two protagonists looking about as classically fantasy inspired as you can get. The petite, elvish girl is good with a bow and at her side is the hulking, sword and axe wielding brute. The two have teamed up in the initial stages of the game with the singular goal of scoring a few bucks as hired guns and that's where my demo of the game began. Something awful had befallen a town of muddy roads and thatched roofs. The mayor had sent out a cry for help, but upon arrival our heroes found only empty streets. Down into a dungeon they went in search of answers.

This is where I got my first look at how the combat in Hunted works. If it weren't for the fantasy setting, it wouldn't look or move that differently from your standard third-person action game or cover shooter. Elara, the headstrong female lead, can slide behind rock outcroppings to line up bolts from her bow. The thinking man's Conan sits at the front line, pummeling anything within reach and smashing shields to bits. Both have a set of complementary magic to use, which can do anything from temporarily levitate foes to freeze them in place.

Though each character has a specialty, both can attack hand-to-hand, ranged, and with magic.

The crux of the gameplay lies with what the developers are calling "co-op at a distance." The magic powers are designed to back up or temporarily empower the other partner, but nothing in the game forces you to stick to their hip. The dungeon areas I saw ranged in size from small crevasses to gigantic caverns, and the game will regularly roam outdoors into ancient ruins. That gives you ample space to approach the battle from multiple angles. If your ally happens to go down, you can revive them with a potion delivered via a throw that would make Peyton Manning jealous. There's ample reason to split up too -- the environment looks to be fairly interactive. At one point I watched as a massive column was pushed over to create a set of deadly dominoes. Another time I watched Alora fire a lit arrow into a barrel of gunpowder to set off an explosion.

Hunted can also be played as a solo game, in which case the artificial intelligence takes over control of your partner. You can swap control between the two characters at set intervals, a feature that also works while playing online with a friend (there is no split-screen option in Hunted). In this way, players are free to approach dungeons or boss fights as they please, getting up close and personal or firing off projectiles from the safety of cover. One of the cooler parts of the online co-op system is that if you join a friend's game, you'll keep all of the loot you find for your own character, and you're free to jump in and out of as many different games at any time, regardless of how far you are in your own adventure.

Of course, combat and co-op features aren't everything. Half of the equation of that makes up a dungeon crawl is the exploration and puzzle solving. Were you to simply rush through the game moving from one combat situation to the next, Bethesda claims the game will last about as long as your typical action romp. Search every nook and cranny and solve every little puzzle and you're looking at a substantially longer experience. The one puzzle I saw fell into the easy category (the developers promise some will be real head scratchers), involving a talking stone face built into a wall that had to have a lit arrow fired into one of its eyes before it would open. This led down a massive series of tunnels that eventually ended at a really impressive looking boss fight.

This nasty boss closed out the demo.

And there is loot to be found down these secret corridors. Nothing is randomized (the grounds are not covered in random loot after every battle) in Hunted, which means those who take the time to explore will find weapons above and beyond what is possible by simply sticking to the beaten path. Leveling, likewise, is structured in a way that doesn't encourage grinding. By finding special crystals and trading them in, players can unlock new skills and spells, or upgrade existing ones, in a branching skill tree. I got a brief look at this menu screen during the demo and it didn't look there were a ton of options, though it doe

The environments in Hunted look pretty sharp thanks to the Unreal Engine doing the heavy lifting, and it definitely feels like the kind of world that would be fun to explore. The animations at this point are fairly decent, but some of the sound felt very much like it was all placeholder. The music was generic and the sound effects didn't exactly make the combat a thrilling experience. Let's hope it's brought up to speed before the game releases. On the flip side, the battle chatter was pretty good. The pair seemed in constant communication during all of the down time between fights, which helped to keep things fresh in the quiet recesses of the caverns.

Hunted currently has an ambiguous "when it's done" release date attached to it, though from the overall polished look it appears on track to hit store shelves as soon as the end of 2010. We'll have more on this action game just as soon as Bethesda lets us.

Source: IGN

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
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