Rahni Tucker talks struggles of making the melee system work.
We’re a couple of months away from release of Ninja Theory’s Bleeding Edge. It stands in some pretty stark contrast to the other titles the developer has worked on recently, filled with color and distinct designs. We know it’s been developed by a relatively small team, but there’s other challenges besides just that. The game has a lot of melee-based combat, something they had to get very creative about.
Bleeding Edge creative director Rahni Tucker recently talked to GamesIndustry about the game. When it came to inserting heavy melee into the multiplayer title, the team had to really rethink a lot of things. One aspect was trying to think for both the attacker and defender’s positions. Action games tend to be beloved for their combos and constant stimulation in combat, but you can’t do that in a multiplayer game since it’s now a two way street and not just a player fighting against a random AI.
“We had to completely replace the networking layer in Unreal, so our extremely smart lead coder figured out how to do a team multiplayer rollback engine,” said Tucker. “That’s a big part of what makes the game feel right, because you don’t have that input latency when you press the buttons. That’s super important for third-person combat, that you’re not pressing the button and waiting for the message to come back before the guy starts animating.
“The other problem is making sure it’s fun for the guy being hit. Being in a single-player third-person action game, you can run around and kick the arse of 100 guys, be a god basically — that doesn’t work for multiplayer. It’s not very fun being the one stuck in a 100-hit combo so we’re trying to find that balance between making it fun and rewarding for the attacker but also giving counterplay to the guy being comboed.”
Generally speaking, most games of this type are almost entirely shooter based, with melee only tacked on. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of balance is found when Bleeding Edge releases March 24th for PC and Xbox One.