Murder puzzle sandbox Deathloop’s release date is approaching, and Arkane Lyon have turned up at QuakeCon to talk more about their next supernatural FPS adventure. Particularly PvP, which they’d yet to get deep into the details on. You can catch their panel right here with a good dive on how each side of the PvP coin is a bit different and why you’ll want to leave it enabled.
Deathloop has you playing as an assassin stuck in a time loop on a wacky 70s-era island full of villain “Visionaries” who you’ll need to kill all in a single day in order to break the loop. That’s one part of the puzzle. The other part is that one of these visionaries is also an assassin whose job it is to kill you over and over again to protect that loop. Most of the time your rival Julianna is handled by AI, but other times another player can step in to fill her shoes and attempt to kill you themselves as you work through the campaign. Think Dark Souls invasions, basically.
In the new QuakeCon 2021 pannel, Arkane’s creative director Dinga Bakaba gets into more of the details beyond just the existence of player-controlled Juliannas. Playing as Julianna will be more tactical, for one. Host player Colt has an ability called “reprise” that gives him a total of three lives before he’s gone for good. Julianna only has the one, meaning she’ll need to be more careful about direct confrontation, relying on good sniper sightlines, setting traps, and using her abilities. Her signature move is Masquerade, which lets her trade appearances with another NPC—or even Colt, Arkane say.
“It’s really something that rewards your knowledge of the map,” Bakaba says. “Knowing that an NPC is supposed to be patrolling in this street, and they are not patrolling, so Colt has probably eliminated them. Knowing where the weapons are, knowing where the hotspots are…it really pays off. When you’re hunting as Julianna you’re clearly hunting big game.”
Bakaba later goes on to talk about the virtue of PvP being the unpredictable moments it creates and the cool stories you can tell your pals. Sure, that’s all true, but there are material rewards too of course. As an incentive to keep PvP turned on and leaving yourself open to a more dangerous Julianna, killing her as Colt will reward you with things like high-tier weapons or special powers that you’d normally have to snag by killing another visionary. Killing her can also refill Colt’s Reprise ability, meaning extra lives to tackle your current loop with. As Julianna, you’ll be able to unlock new powers and cosmetics for your invasions, which Bethesda show off in their post.
Loot is great, and the risk versus reward will be attractive so some folks, I’m sure. I’ll be honest though, I just do not have the patience for other players dropping in on me like murderous door-to-door salesfolks. No thank you, I already have plenty of deaths here at home. Fortunately Arkane are supportive of the coward’s lifestyle.
“We are not gating any progression for the campaign behind playing as Juliana,” Bakaba says. “It’s really for the fun of it—creating cool, interesting, and memorable stories with other players—and looking cool while doing it.” So that’ll be me keeping my Juliannas safely tethered to AI, personally.
Further in the panel, Arkane bring in additional developers to talk about the intricacies of the overarching murder puzzle of Blackreef Isle. There are some nice details about how you’ll be able to find clues like lock combos and other important bits of the puzzle, but that some solutions you’ll be able to figure out just by paying attention to your surroundings.
You can catch more on Deathloop from a chat that Imogen got to have with Arkane during a Deathloop preview back in May.
Arkane are also hosting a chat today with Colt and Julianna’s voice actors, in case that’s something you’d like to listen in on. That’ll be at 7pm BST (2pm ED) over on Twitch.
Deathloop itself launches on September 14th over on Steam.