Hood: Outlaws & Legends is a 3rd particular person, cooperative multiplayer heist sport, set in opposition to a medieval-inspired backdrop – suppose Payday meets “Recreation of Thrones!” The sport pits two groups in opposition to one another, whose purpose is to be the staff that steals the riches from the Sheriff and his ruthless state guards.

Cease Intruders!

There are numerous profitable third-person stealth motion video games: Metallic Gear Stable, Splinter Cell, and Murderer’s Creed to call a couple of. The strategy that’s taken with Hood: Outlaws and Legends was to leverage the robust fundamentals laid down by these titles by way of penalties, participant suggestions and system familiarity.

In a aggressive multiplayer situation, nonetheless, the felony and stealth programs should account for 2 opposing groups of eight particular person gamers, which is much more difficult to stability. Our design objectives have been to supply:

  • Penalty: A punishment for alerting the guards, offering the participant or the staff with an obstacle both quickly or completely. For instance, a guard has noticed me and alerted all of the guards in that space. The guard will then transfer to intercept and have interaction me in fight, taking over precious time and probably gifting away my place to the enemy staff. The purpose right here is to punish the gamers who dash all over the place and discourage them from alerting all of the guards.
  • Rigidity: The stealth and felony programs ought to present stress. There ought to be alternatives for the participant to gamble. For instance, if I shortly run from hazard and conceal round a nook, I ought to be capable of return to a stealthy place with out being noticed. It’s about offering these thrilling moments that gamers focus on after they simply handle to flee a furry scenario with out being penalized.
  • Incentive: Taking part in in stealth empowers the participant. It ought to really feel gratifying, and is the optimum technique to play. Utilizing stealth successfully throughout a heist ought to really feel like a cheat mode. Actions carried out whereas in stealth ought to reward the participant by feeding their potential gauge and making their actions between targets friction free.

Guards Guards Guards!

Allow us to begin by discussing the guards and their foremost goal and the way this impacts the totally different phases of the heist.

The primary function of the guards is to guard the treasure chest. Quite a lot of guard archetypes current gamers with a unique gameplay problem. Some carry ranged weapons and take up sniper positions, others are closely armored and way more immune to ranged assaults. Two of essentially the most imposing AI threats are:

  • Knights: Closely armored brutes, specialised in melee fight and immune to break from arrows and bolts. These strolling tanks are slower to maneuver, however lethal if their assaults land. The gentle spot on their backs the place their armor is thinnest is vital to taking them down.
  • Sheriff: The primary antagonist. A hulking brute who’s immune to break from arrows and bolts, assassination strikes, and in addition extremely immune to melee injury. The Sheriff can’t be killed; nonetheless, he will be downed for a brief period. If gamers are caught by the sheriff, they’re instantly killed with considered one of his execution strikes. Its higher to keep away from him completely, or lure him in the direction of the enemy staff so that they need to take care of him.

Each these guard sorts play massive roles within the three distinct phases of a heist:

  1. Steal: Pickpocket the vault key from the sheriff.
  2. Safe: Open the treasure vault and choose up the treasure chest.
  3. Extract: Take the chest to an extraction level and use the winch to say it

Their foremost purpose is all the time to guard the treasure chest, however it’s offered in another way at every stage.

In stage one, groups should pickpocket the vault key from the belt of the sheriff. In the event that they fail, they threat alerting the sheriff to their presence and being executed by him. On this stage, the AI guards are nonetheless defending the treasure chest, however they’re doing it by guarding the important thing somewhat than the precise chest.

In stage two, knights are positioned outdoors of the treasure vault. Their purpose is to guard the treasure chest by stopping gamers from opening the vault.

In stage three, if any stationed or patrolling guards see the treasure chest they are going to immediately elevate the alarms and set off a map vast lockdown (extra on that quickly).

Every of those key gameplay beats reinforces the objectives of the felony system. There are penalties if the participant will get noticed, starting from getting executed by the sheriff to alerting all of the guards in an space to that the treasure has been stolen. Every stage additionally provides stress by its scaling ranges of consequence, each for you as a person, and to your staff as you attempt to full your targets.  

Don’t be alarmed

A vital ingredient for the felony system is the alarm. We explored a number of iterations through the course of growth. In every model we targeted on:

  • Who triggered the alarm?
  • Is it clear what actions triggered the alarm?
  • How can the gamers forestall the alarm from being triggered?

Let’s briefly look at a couple of of the iterations we tried:

The primary iteration of the alarm was an in-world alarm bell that the guards may ring: Guard is alerted to the participant -> He calls out to any surrounding guards -> The closest guard to the alarm bell runs to make use of it -> The guard rings the alarm ->The felony system is triggered.

The alarm bell mechanic had combined outcomes. It was nice for signposting to gamers how they will forestall the alarm from being triggered e.g. Kill the guard working to the alarm. Nonetheless, we had issues signposting to the participant how lengthy it will take earlier than the alarm is triggered, and which staff or participant triggered the alarm. This was primarily as a result of a guard needed to bodily run to an alarm to activate it. The delay between the participant’s motion and the guard’s response led to confusion over who really triggered the felony escalation. Rather a lot can occur in these few seconds, and its difficult to maintain observe of who was accountable.

The second iteration was what we known as “the sentient fort.” For this model, we eliminated the alarm bell as a bodily location inside the world. This was changed with the notion that when a guard raises an alarm, the atmosphere responds: Guard is alerted to the participant -> The guard waits three seconds to lift the alarm (offering a window of alternative for the participant) -> The timer ends and the guard shouts to lift the alarm -> The felony system is triggered.

This labored higher than the alarm bell iteration because it standardized the size of time it took the guards to lift the alarm. It additionally improved participant understanding because the trigger and impact was extra instantly obvious. Additional helped by the UI gauge which appeared above the guards head as they counted right down to sound the alarm.

Nonetheless, this extra visible suggestions (and extra apparent window of alternative) meant that guards could possibly be simply recognized and dispatched shortly to stop the escalation. A number of the stress, warning and remark that we needed to advertise was misplaced.

The third (and closing) iteration was a refined model of the above. For this model of the “sentient fort,” we took what labored within the authentic iteration and addressed its drawbacks: Guard is alerted to the participant -> The guard immediately raises the alarm (if that guard is killed, another alerted guard can elevate the alarm) -> The felony system is triggered.

The most important change on this model was eradicating the three-second timer. Eradicating this timer fastened three drawbacks of the earlier iteration: Gamers immediately knew if it was their motion that triggered the guards response. The penalty was swift and couldn’t be prevented. There was a way of stress and warning as a result of is was instantly apparent that if I alert the guards, there will likely be penalties.

Shut the Gates

The felony escalation system was created to supply a penalty for gamers who don’t play stealthily, and in addition to assist the guard’s in defending the treasure chest.

We required a number of states to realize this:

  • Impartial/default: The guards aren’t conscious of any menace.
  • Excessive Alert: The guards are conscious of a participant(s) infiltrating their territory.
  • Lockdown: The guards are conscious that the treasure chest has been faraway from the vault.

Our greatest problem was defining a constant algorithm for each Excessive Alert and Lockdown states, but additionally growing the severity of the penalties between them.

The primary activity was to resolve how we needed the felony system to impression the guards, the world and if we needed any extra unique behaviors. Our modifiers included:

  • Guard conduct: How does every felony state work together with the guard’s behaviors.
  • World conduct: How does the felony state work together with the sport worlds mechanics.
  • Reinforcements: What number of guards (and which sorts) can we add to the map along with the default patrols?
  • Native/International: Does the felony system have an effect on a selected space of the map or the entire map?

For the Excessive Alert state, every little thing is saved native to the zone the place the escalation is triggered. Portcullises gates inside that space are closed and reinforcements are despatched to the zone the place felony was triggered. Excessive Alert ends when guards are not alerted to the participant’s presence. As soon as this occurs the zone goes again to its impartial state.

The Lockdown state impacts the entire map. Portcullises gates throughout the map are closed (blocking foremost paths between targets) and reinforcements known as to areas across the map, turning into roadblocks. Lockdown additionally has two extra guidelines that improve its penalty examine to Excessive Alert.

  • When Lockdown is triggered the Sheriff will make his manner in the direction of the treasure chests location. As soon as he’s there, he’ll guard the treasure chest making it troublesome for gamers to maneuver or extract it.
  • As soon as Lockdown has been triggered the felony system won’t ever de-escalate to its impartial state.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends

We did a superb job of conserving the principles constant between every felony state while additionally dialling up Lockdown to really feel extra oppressive and impactful. Nonetheless, we discovered this launched a couple of new challenges:

  • Triggering the felony system penalizes the staff, not the person.
  • If Lockdown has been triggered there isn’t any extra technique to penalize the staff (or participant).
  • As soon as Excessive Alert or Lockdown has been triggered there was not any level in taking part in in stealth.

With these problem in thoughts allow us to have a look at the mechanics we launched to assist resolve these points…

All for One and One for All

We added two penalties for people who alert the guards. These are:

  • AI Tagging: The participant who alerted a guard that is tagged with a purple define. The purple tag highlights them on the planet and on the map for each participant to see. This gives the opposing staff with extra info as to the place that participant is, and probably what they’re doing.
  • Capability lockout: The participant who alerted the guard has their potential gauge quickly blocked. It can’t be used, and its progress is frozen till they return to stealth.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends

Each these penalties finish when the guard(s) are not alerted to the participant, encouraging a return to stealth.

By linking these two mechanics to the guard’s particular person alert state (somewhat than the felony state) it permits us to resolve the lacking penalties problem throughout Lockdown and Excessive Alert. These penalties stay efficient even when the map is in a full Lockdown. There may be nonetheless a consequence and stealth nonetheless has worth.

Sneaky Sneak

It not all about penalties although, we additionally needed to incentivize a stealthily strategy. To empower gamers so that they really feel that is most advantageous technique to play the sport, particularly in opposition to the guards.

We achieved this by permitting the next actions to be carried out if the participant is within the stealth stance.

  • Assassinations: Ugly execution strikes that kill the goal immediately.
  • Pickpocketing: Stealing the vault key from the sheriff.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends

Assassinations are higher than normal assaults which take a number of hits to kill guards and might alert different guards inside the space. Sure guards being proof against totally different assaults whereas solely the sheriff is proof against an assassination.

Gamers are rewarded for assassinations as they supply a cool cinematic second of a grotesque kill; reward an quantity of gold; reward with XP; gasoline the participant’s potential gauge; likelihood to gather a trinket (provides to the lore of the world within the collectibles menu)

Every of those rewards incentivizes the participant on a number of ranges. There may be the fast reward of getting a cool kill animation that immediately kills the goal. There may be the mid-term reward of filling the character’s potential gauge to allow them to use it sooner. There may be additionally the long-term reward of utilizing the XP and gold earned to unlock character development and in-game store gadgets.

Lastly, stealth additionally modifies the mechanics of the sport within the participant’s favor: The participant doesn’t make any sound whereas in stealth (gifting away place to guards, or enemy gamers); stealth motion velocity is quick; guards take longer to detect gamers in stealth.

These modifiers make stealth the easiest way to get across the map. Gamers can transfer shortly and quietly in stealth. Which makes it much less seemingly {that a} guard will likely be alerted to the participant offering them with extra choices. Which in flip makes it simpler to assassinate the guards.

Take him away!

It has been a enjoyable and fascinating problem to create felony and stealth programs that react to a number of gamers and a number of groups, and to resolve when and penalise and incentivise sure behaviours.

I hope you discover these programs as pleasing to play as we did to create them. We at the moment are wanting ahead to getting the sport into your palms.

Pre-order now to play ahead of the official release on May 10, and comply with the livestream with the Xbox staff on Might 7 from 11am PT to 12.30pm PT on the Xbox Twitch channel.

Xbox Live

Hood: Outlaws & Legends (Pre-order)

Focus House Interactive

$29.99

Pre-order Hood: Outlaws & Legends to obtain:
• three days Early Entry – begin taking part in on Might seventh
• The Forest Lords Pack with unique skins! Strike down your enemies with four outfits and four weapon skins to make sure your home amongst legends.

We’re all Outlaws… however a few of us will develop into Legends.

Confronted with a cruel, unchecked state, rebels and rogues battle to say their place amongst legends. To win affect with an oppressed folks, rival gangs compete in daring heists to hit the rich the place it hurts. People hero or gold-hungry outlaw, solely the most effective will escape with hard-earned riches.

Two groups of four gamers compete to execute the right heist, in medieval environments patrolled by lethal AI guards. With the distinctive expertise and mystical talents of every character, shifting in stealth to steal treasures unseen or dominating by loud and brutal fight.

Blood will likely be spilled. Riches will likely be stolen. Legends will likely be reborn.

• Outplay opponents in intense PvPvE multiplayer heists
• Expertise a violent medieval world the place mysticism competes with man-made energy and corruption
• Declare your loot and spend money on perks, weapons and daring new seems to be
• Publish-launch help with new maps, characters, sport modes and occasions

Xbox Live

Hood: Outlaws & Legends – 12 months 1 Version (Pre-order)

Focus House Interactive

$49.99

Pre-order Hood: Outlaws & Legends – 12 months 1 Version to obtain:

• three days Early Entry – begin taking part in on Might seventh
• The Forest Lords pack with unique skins! Strike down your enemies with four outfits and four weapon skins to make sure your home amongst legends.

12 months 1 Version consists of the complete Hood: Outlaws & Legends sport + 12 months 1 Battle Cross Pack

12 months 1 Battle Cross Pack consists of three Battle Passes to unlock throughout 12 months 1*, protecting three Seasons**:

• Season 1 Battle Cross
• Season 2 Battle Cross
• Season three Battle Cross

Every Battle Cross accommodates unique unlockable gadgets, together with outfits, weapon skins, banners and titles.

*Season zero gained’t have a BattlePass, however will likely be crammed with free content material, neighborhood occasions and game-changing content material.

**Battle Passes will likely be unlocked for a restricted time – make sure to play when every Battle Cross opens to earn your rewards. Battle Cross 1, 2 and three, in addition to their unique content material, will likely be obtainable for time-limited durations through the first yr following the sport’s launch.

We’re all Outlaws… however a few of us will develop into Legends.



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