Deathloop is the next game from Bethesda that, although now part of the Xbox team, will keep this exclusive title on PS5 (for now) and PC. Scheduled for September 14, the game works with the idea of a time loop without being a roguelike, according to the developers. O Tecnoblog attended a preview of Deathloop and chatted with Arkane Studios (Dishonored, Prey). Check it out below.
The demonstration of Deathloop that I watched, still in beta, started from the introduction of the game, and presentation of some characters, until some exploration of the mysterious Blackreef island, use of weapons and powers, besides some missions. I’m not going to detail all of this, at this point, because as I just watched the gameplay, I can’t give a more accurate opinion if all these things work really well.
Even though it is still in a beta version, the visual style of the game (with several references to the 60s and 70s) is obvious in the clothes, architecture of the places and even in the type of life of the characters. Probably who played Dishonored will have some sense of “déjà vu” in Deathloop, not because of the “noir” aspect of the previous Arkane game, but because of the choice of a hybrid aesthetic (mixing visual styles from different eras) to compose the scenarios. Deathloop it’s even more colorful than Dishonored.
Loops and progression system
Speaking more specifically of gameplay, one of the doubts that you may have is how to create a game, fully supported by a time loop, without it being repetitive and, let’s face it, boring. Dinga Bakaba, director of Deathloop, states that the way the loops were created means that the progression in the game does not become a waste of time for the player.
“The way we see these loops is that they are not a unit of progression. The loop is the state of the world. But the state of your progression is actually how you complete your goals, ”explains Bakaba. “We guarantee that there is an opportunity to focus on what you really want to do in each cycle.”
In other words, let’s say that on a hypothetical mission (primary or secondary) you want to go to a location where a target NPC is, but you need to learn more about it. When the loop starts, the player can jump directly to this point of interest. It is possible, according to the game director, to skip the periods of the day and go straight to the night, for example, to do what you want. You don’t even have to try to eliminate the target now, but just extract more information and move on. All of these activities (chosen by the player) count as progression in the game.
“The entire progression of the game is completely optional. (…) We take care that the districts are rich enough; each period is very different from the previous and the next. So, there are many things to do. ”, Says the director. “So, I think the possibility for the player to define his own goals is probably one of the ways to prevent things from being frustrating.”
Dinga Bakaba adds: “if you are frustrated with something, you can just do something different. You don’t have to headbang with something that is somehow blocked at the moment. It is possible to simply go somewhere else or for some other period of time. ”
The director emphasizes that the player is free in his own progression. He further states that Deathloop it is not a game where you will do the same sequence of actions from start to finish and, when you die, you will have to repeat it all over again. “This is definitely not the case here. It is about what you are doing in this world that continues to redefine itself ”, concludes Bakaba on this topic.
But how does time pass in Deathloop?
The director explains that when the player starts the day, in Blackreef, he starts his adventure in the morning and, from there, he can choose where to go. There are four time periods to explore: morning, noon, afternoon and night. These periods apply to the four districts: The Complex, Updaam, Fristad Rock and Karl’s Bay. Each location on the island differs significantly depending on the time of day you visit it. New areas of the map may be accessible as well.
“When you enter a district, you can spend as much time as you want in it,” comments Bakaba. “When choosing to leave a district, the game will change from morning to afternoon, for example. So, basically, time advances in periods. If you die and run out of “rewinds” (used to earn survivals), you will be back at the beginning of the day. And at any time, you can choose to skip a period of time and go directly to where you need to be or where you want to explore.
It seems, but it is not a roguelike
Dinga Bakaba states that, although the roguelike genre is quite appreciated among the Arkane team, Deathloop it has a slightly different footprint because there is no notion that reaching the end of the day is not an objective. “In general, there is no repetition. It is strange to say this about the time loop, but there is no forced repetition in the sense that if you don’t want to do the morning session, you can skip to the afternoon, for example. ”
One of the main elements of the roguelike genre is the nature of scenarios generated in a procedural way. In Deathloop, the world is determined to follow some paths and Arkane says that this is the experience planned even to know where the characters are. However, not everything is static, even so as not to become too predictable.
“There are some small random things, like: people can wake up one morning and decide to get a shotgun instead of an SMG – for example. He is the same person, but he made a different choice ”, says Bakaba. “This is important for the feeling of dominating the time loop, knowing this little world mechanism, so that you can extract information and try to change and manipulate things.”
The director affirms that this choice of mechanics freer from manipulation of actions and consequences was only possible in a predetermined world, that is, “controlled” in a certain way by the developers.
Well, now we have to wait for the launch and check if Deathloop will really deliver everything it promises. And you, do you intend to play it? The game will have dubbing and subtitles in Brazilian Portuguese.