By Crystal Colwell / March 10th, 2014
Echoes of Eridu is a multiplayer roguelike game reminiscent of Mega Man being developed by Batterystaple Games. The game is in the alpha stage right now, with a tentative release date of November 2014 for PCs. We will have an interview and exclusive screenshots available in the coming weeks! Until then, let’s take a look at some artwork currently available and get a sense of what the game will be. Where better to start than with some alpha footage?
“Procedural generation is easy,” says Chris King, founder and lead developer of Batterystaple Games. “Slap some platforms together, plant some enemies here, a boss here, etc. Easy! But does your level suck? Probably. Meaningful procedural generation is hard.”
Chris knows that generated levels have a fair amount of fine tuning required. You can’t have levels that start off hell-raisingly hard and then become too easy. You also don’t want one level to be infinitely harder than the others—you need balance! Good to know the team behind the game sees the importance of this and is putting its time into perfecting the system.
The following pictures show us a few goodies we will find throughout the game, such as bosses, enemies, etc.
Every game needs a playable character or two. In Echoes of Eridu, these characters are Ace and Nina.
“Ace and Nina are the melee and ranged playable characters in EoE,” explains Echoes of Eridu art director Zach Urtes. “Their design process began choppy and rugged. I had done plenty of game-art before, but I had never truly developed the entire visual style of a project of this size, so I was a little lost. Since then I’d like to believe I’ve come leaps and bounds.”
Zach speaks a bit more in-depth on the Batterystaple Games blog about the character designs, including where they started and how far they’ve come. But character designs aren’t the only things that change and grow as game development progresses. Below are some enemy design sketches for a jungle-themed level. These are based on jungle animals, plants and robots!
The following pictures show off the level designs at this point. So far, things are looking pretty good!
With the game being multiplayer, the developers are focusing on customization instead of pure power with the “loadout system.” Acquiring powers and pickups will let you customize what you use and when, but it won’t give you a huge advantage in raw power over other players. “Options are unlocked both by killing enemies and completing levels (which gives XP that accrues over multiple runs) and by finding Blueprint Chests in-game that immediately unlock a given item for the next play,” Chris says.
Completing Chest Challenges and defeating bosses will grant random power-ups and abilities. Chest Challenges are scattered throughout levels and offer permanent power buffs. They are optional, but Batterystaple recommends completing them so you won’t be weak in the game’s final stages.
Your character has equipment slots for weapons, armor, boots and accessories, one for each type. Weapons are the most straightforward: each one does something different. For example, Nina, who normally wields a straight-shooting blaster, can equip specialized blasters like the Forkalator, which fires weak twin diagonal shots, and the Tortoise Cannon, which features a strong charge shot but a weak regular shot. (Unfortunately, there are no examples of Ace’s swords right now.)
Armor causes trade-offs. For example, the Sacrificial Gown halves your HP but makes health pickups stronger, while Winged Mail cripples your health but lets you double-jump.
Boots focus on mobility. For example, Icespikes allow you to walk on slippery surfaces without sliding around, Slippers make everything slippery but give a health boost, and JUSTDOIT boots take your dash away but give you more speed.
Accessories can be game changers or simply silly but fun! For example, License to Kill knocks your max HP down to 1 but gives you a 400% damage boost, while the Magnascope reveals nearby rooms, which helps you find Chest Challenges and alternate routes.
So far, my take on the game is that it will offer a lot of unique customization options for players of differing strengths and weaknesses through things like the loadout system. Everything is about trading off one thing for another, offering the chance to play the game in a way that best suits you.
For more on the game, check out the Echoes of Eridu Facebook page, Twitter feed and official website, as well as the Batterystaple Games YouTube channel. Don’t forget to check back in the coming weeks for our interview and exclusive screenshots!
Batterystaple GamesEchoes of Eridu