Bethesda Announces New RPG: Hunted -- Preview Inside

by Nick Pantazis, posted on 15 March 2010 / 30,063 Views

Today Bethesda has announced they are publishing a brand new RPG for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 called Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. VGChartz had the privilege of sitting down with the developers (studio inXile Entertainment) for an extensive first look at the game at GDC last week. Read below for a first look at this interesting new cooperative based RPG.

 

Co-op gameplay is quickly gaining momentum in the industry, as it seems to be almost a requirement for every shooter these days, but is often little more than a tacked-on afterthought rather than a conscious design decision. Bethesda’s new RPG, Hunted: The Demon’s Forge, is looking to change that, with a game built from the ground up to be a true co-op dungeon crawler.

Hunted is a dark fantasy RPG following two mercenaries, Caddoc and E’lara, as they hunt the world for valuable crystals battling evil and uncovering a dark plot. If this sounds pretty conventional, that’s because it’s meant to be. The game is intended to be an update to the classic dungeon crawler. Caddoc and E’lara seem to be good characters, but early dialog between them has some super-cheesy lines. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as they are actually pretty entertaining, but it does detract a bit from the very serious and dark environments and enemies.

Hunted uses a 3rd person action combat system. In combat you will pick one of the two characters to control. Caddoc and E’lara both have ranged, magic, and melee attacks, but each character has a specialty. The two characters have equal, but unique, abilities in magic, and each has magic spells capable of buffing the other. At any checkpoint you can switch which character you’re playing, as well as learn new abilities and upgrade your current abilities by turning in crystals. Your version of Caddoc and E’lara are unique to your account, and whatever gear/abilities you have will be equipped when you play online. This goes both ways; when someone else is playing online with you, their version of whatever character they are playing will be present.

Caddoc is a burly brawler and melee fighter. He’s the tank, and can take plenty of damage as well as dish it out at close range. His ranged crossbow is fairly weak, and offers minimal ranged support at best. Caddoc’s gameplay will be familiar to action gamers. E’lara is a powerful archer, and can shred enemies extremely effectively from a distance. She has very weak armor, and if melee enemies start wailing on her, she’ll need Caddoc’s help quickly to get them off. She also will struggle to damage enemies with thick armor unless Caddoc has already smashed it up. She utilizes third person shooter gameplay and must make effective use of the cover system.

To say this is a co-op game would be an understatement. It’s more that the game is completely designed around co-op. Every room in the dungeon we saw in the demo was built to encourage cooperation and support. The rooms were large, allowing players to separate while E’lara sought high ground to shoot from and Caddoc took the brunt of the enemy’s force. If a party member falls, they can be revived with a potion from anywhere in the dungeon as long as you have line of sight, allowing players to battle at great distance from each other while still able to support. Support spells can be cast from large distances as well. Matchmaking online is based on player ability as well as a number of parameters you can set, such as what characters your partner plays. Unfortunately local split-screen is not supported.

The combat was brutal and fluid, as Caddoc slashed through enemies and E’lara went for headshots and kinks in the armor of her foes. When there’s just a single enemy left in a room Caddoc and E’lara both are given the option to finish it off with a stylistic brutal kill, which is entertaining. The environment is often useful in combat as well. At one point Caddoc pushed down a large, ancient pillar, crushing many enemies. The game offers visual cues to let you know when things like this are possible.

Of course combat isn’t everything. Exploration and hidden secrets are a big part of the game. Secret paths and rooms will lead you to new plot information, captured civilians who need to be rescued (and may hold some useful information for you), alternate paths, and of course new awesome gear. The developers said the secrets you’ll discover are about 40% easy to solve, 40% hard, and 20% super -difficult. Other RPG conventions like towns are present as well. The developers said they have three primary environments in the game; towns, dungeons, and outdoor exploration environments.

The music of the game is a sort of dark/gothic rock, and very appropriate for the settings. Graphics are very pleasant, but not ground-breaking. The dungeon and ruined town we saw had some great environmental detail and variety. Voice acting was not very good, but the developers clarified that it was purely placeholder at the moment. Enemies are detailed as well, and lose armor and show damage as they take it.

The developers finished the demo with a massive demonic boss, who spawned armies of minions and was resistant to almost all of Caddoc’s and E’lara’s attacks. The demon was only felled when the correct combination of magic buffs and attacks were used, and died in a gory God of War – style finisher as his head was ripped off by Caddoc.

Hunted looks to be a great addition to the RPG genre and a strong new co-op experience for those looking to expand into something more complex than run-and-gun shooters. It’s nice to see some completely original experiences still being created in a genre with such a rich and lengthy history. It's unfortunate that there is no local multiplayer, but maybe they'll reconsider adding it later. The developers say they have been working on the game for two years; an impressive feat considering no information was leaked about it, despite the big-name publisher. No release date has been given yet, but we hope the wait won’t be too long.


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37 Comments

pug307wayne (on 24 March 2010)

just 3 screenshots.....enough to get my attention


Squilliam (on 19 March 2010)

Coop games do well on the Xbox 360 and so do RPGs. It seems like a good fit and I wouldn't be too surprised if the Xbox 360 took more than its fair share of sales for this title.


DEATH775 (on 18 March 2010)

Ok I hope they can pull this off.


CaptainPrice (on 16 March 2010)

People's hopes for this game are much too high. This is merely published by Bethesda, and they've published some real crap recently like WET and Rogue Warrior. The developer is inXile, who seem to specialize in iPod games. Their last console game was Line Rider 2, which has a metascore of about 60 for Nintendo platforms. Their only previous PS3/X360 work was Hei$t, which was cancelled by Codemasters 3 years into development. Anyone expecting another Oblivion must have been surprised when Imagine: Prom didn't turn out like Assassin's Creed II.


Drage (on 16 March 2010)

Thats cool and all, but people wouldn't mine hearing about the ES5.


Slimebeast (on 16 March 2010)

"RPG software giant Bethesda" - I loved that line. This game sounds cool but it's not for me since i have no friends to play co-op with.


Wonktonodi (on 16 March 2010)

too bad no local co op but still looks like it could be fun as long as I have a few friends who want to play as well. Although I'm thinking after a while in the game if you play online with many different people how difficult with the things you need to solve be when one player very well could have solved it already, but i guess I'll have to wait and see


selnor (on 16 March 2010)

@RPG70. Have no idea what sort of experience you have on PSN, but I feel sorry for you if people would do that on PSN, you know get half way through a dungeon and kill you. Don't get that on Live. Maybe you should just play with people from your friendslist? Or play Live more so you dont have those horrible problems. Then again, when it's free for all, shouting " Yipee Kiyay MotherF**ker " is one of the best funny things on Halo 3.


SinZinDetta (on 16 March 2010)

co-op dungeon crawler. PASS


rpg70 (on 15 March 2010)

Can you imagine all the F bombs, you F**, your a this or that, insert any swear word, insert a racial slur for good measure=co-op gameplay. Might as well welcome xbox360 1st person shooter guy to the PS3. The beauty of Demon's Souls was that even though it was co-op, it was a single player game foremost. I like to get lost in my rpg's and really enjoy them. I dont think a rpg can be co-op. Unless it is a shooter like Boarderlands. I think calling Boarderlands a rpg is sham!! Imagine getting deep into the dungeon and your co-op buddy turns on you and ruins it!! PS3 rpg fans, beware, xbox360 guy is getting ready to invade and destroy our world


Cross-X (on 15 March 2010)

I'm interested. Good Co Op (Split Screen), good graphics and a good combat system then Day 1


Severance (on 15 March 2010)

Woot! , though i hoped for Elder Scrolls! hope this one turns EVEN BETTER.


binary solo (on 15 March 2010)

3rd person is good news for me. I don't like FP RPG and because games like Oblivion are intended as FP the TP mode is not so well done. This one's on the radar for sure. But what I really want is another game in the Dark Alliance series. That was my favourite fantasy RPG series from PS2 era. And it compliments the Forgotten Realms games I love on PC.


axumblade (on 15 March 2010)

It's from the studio who made Line Rider....I need more info before I can decide whether it'll be good or not. I'm not doubting its potential but I want something more concrete to guarantee this game will be good. I just think Bethesda as a publisher doesn't always offer quality of Oblivion or Fallout 3.


Aion (on 15 March 2010)

Great nice too see variety, first day for me.


heruamon (on 15 March 2010)

Okay, but lack of character creation and player origin story turns me a bit off.


SmoothCriminal (on 15 March 2010)

I would prefer Elder Scrolls V, but this looks cool too.


naznatips (on 15 March 2010)

inXile is the studio, but yes, Bethesda owns the rights and everything.


Attoyou (on 15 March 2010)

guessing Bethesda is only Producing the game, hope it turns out good, it sounds good.


Vueguy (on 15 March 2010)

look good. we'll see how it goes first.


Carl2291 (on 15 March 2010)

Looks very interesting!


Staude (on 15 March 2010)

use dark messiahs combat system = then i would get it.


Pristine20 (on 15 March 2010)

looks pretty cool


naznatips (on 15 March 2010)

Updated about the no splitscreen bit.


chocoloco (on 15 March 2010)

Coop and a new rpg by Bethesda I couldn't ask for anything better


Grey21 (on 15 March 2010)

Betheda are good developers but they should stick to what they are good at. That is the formula that drives the Elder Scroll franchise and it also worked into Fallout 3. This game seems to focus on all the elements that they aren't good at. I hope they are just publishing this just like all the other crappy games that they've done over the last few years. It's simple, TES5...NOW. Good for them and good for us.


aken909 (on 15 March 2010)

Can you survive the Gauntlet? Warrior needs food!


Pyramid Head (on 15 March 2010)

sounds kind of boring. es5?


yungmagic09 (on 15 March 2010)

This looks pretty interesting, another game for me and my cousin to play.


alfredofroylan (on 15 March 2010)

Good.... Can I has a new Elder Scrolls plz?


JaggedSac (on 15 March 2010)

Disappointed Bethesda isn't developing it.


steverhcp02 (on 15 March 2010)

How the hell can they build a game around 2 players and not put in split screen? Seems odd. They will probably add it later, hopefully they just wanted to get a demo out to announce the game first.


quarashi (on 15 March 2010)

@braniac How is the game not Co-op? Because there's no local split screen? Yea that makes sense. Two people playing a together in the same campaign is basically co op no matter how close or how far the people are. Who said you can't play online with your friends? I think the premise is cool. I will probably get this game or at least try it out.


naznatips (on 15 March 2010)

There is no split-screen, sorry to say. We can hope it would be added later. That said, even if you play singleplayer the AI is very good and requires you to be very tactical.


Rawnchie14 (on 15 March 2010)

Not sure, but did it even say there would be no split-screen?


huaxiong90 (on 15 March 2010)

Cool.


brainiacxiii (on 15 March 2010)

This game is NOT co-op. this game does not support split screen and is therefore worthless. Why the hell would someone play a two player online RPG? They won't. You can play online rpg's with hundreds of thousands of players. The ONLY reason to introduce a co-op rpg is so that people who actually play co-op (which is a subset of split screen) is so that two friends or siblings could play a game together in person, which anyone with friends or family knows, is infinitely more fun then playing online. This would have been a must buy for me, but bethesda fails once again not understanding what people want. I play rpg's online, there are millions of people to meet and work with. This is just stupid. a co-op, two player RPG that doesn't support split screen, FAIL