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Home » Featured, News

Split screen added to Hunted: The Demon’s Forge

Submitted by on Saturday, 5 March 2011One Comment

Chris Keenen, design director on Hunted: The Demon’s Forge, has been answering questions on the game’s co-op gameplay in a recent interview with the Bethesda Blog. In the interview,  Keenen explains how the matchmaking system works, what will happen if a player drops out, and how Hunted’s system compares to online dating; but more importantly, he reveals that split screen gameplay has been added to the build.

Hunted has the style and spirit of an old-fashioned dungeon crawler, but with a modern cover-based gameplay design. It is designed to be played cooperatively – one player takes the role of E’lara, a ranged weapon expert, while the other controls Caddoc, an axe- and sword-wielding monster of a man. Each player has their own strengths and weaknesses; it is important to use teamwork.

It should be interesting and exciting, providing you have the right player alongside you, whose mindset harmonises with your own; however, if you get locked in a game with a racist teen, whose only intention is to play their own way, we suspect the enjoyment levels will disappear quicker than Nick Clegg’s commitment to lowering tuition fees. Thankfully, some of Keenen’s answers dissipate some of these concerns. He said:

“Our matchmaking system is really easy to use. We tried to simplify the matchmaking interface as much as possible. It is very easy to try to find someone who meets the same criteria that you want… If you tend to do more exploration, the game tracks that and will try to match you with another player that likes exploration.”

What if someone drops out? Keenen also addressed this issue:

“When your co-op partner leaves you have a few options. You can choose to continue playing singleplayer at the spot where you left off. Your partner will immediately become an AI buddy and you continue forward.  You can also choose to use the seamless matching system to find a new partner. As soon as that partner is found, it will return you to the previous checkpoint with that partner and you get to move on as before.”

As for Hunted’s matchmaking resembling an online dating site, well it really does:

“The first thing you do is set up your personal profile or persona. This has the info on what character you like playing, your approximate skill level and the area that you want to enter.   With this persona, you can send out multiple requests to others who share similar ‘interests’.  During this time you can also get requests from others that want to play with you. This allows you to contact multiple people at the same time and put your feelers out there to more than a single person. The player can screen those requests and choose to accept or reject them based on the compatibility of those requests. You can scour multiple personas at one time to broaden your search. When someone accepts your request (or you theirs), you start up the relationship together.”

So who is looking forward to building relationships in Hunted? We are. We played Hunted last year and very much enjoyed it. The thing we enjoyed most was that we had our partners next to us, so we could plan tactics together and chat away and have a laugh. When we heard that the game wouldn’t support split screen, we were completely surprised. It’s a perfect fit for split screen co-op.

We shared our thoughts with Mathew Findley, president of inXile, and he could see where we were coming from, but he said that it was difficult to add split screen because the game has such large vistas. It would require a lot of tweaking to the engine to get it working. Thankfully, they have put in the effort and it appears to be working, as Keenen’s comments confirm:

“Over the last year, we’ve been working behind the scenes to try to get split screen into the build. While reading the early previews of the game, we noticed many of the comments from fans were talking about how important split screen is to this type of game. We’re happy to share news that split screen is now in the game!”

Excellent! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the interview on the Bethesda Blog.