Since its creation in 1991, PC game developer Techland has operated fairly under the radar until Call of Juarez was released in 2006, and another first-person genre piece, Dead Island following in 2011.
Though its recent sequel Dead Island: Riptide didn’t make the same splash as its predecessor, it isn’t stopping the Polish developer from trying new things. From the looks of the first teaser trailer for their latest endeavor Hellraid, we think they might be onto something.
Taking cues from various arcade action titles of generations past, the co-operative dark fantasy game is reminiscent of ’90s classics such as Hexen and Diablo, with visuals more on par with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The name Hellraid itself evokes some of the classic run-and-gun (or in this case, run-and-slash) titles that PC gamers know all too well.
Marcin Kruczkiewicz, a producer on the game, explained to Eurogamer that the allusions, throwbacks and inspirations are no accident. In fact, the designers hope that players recognize the nostalgia driving Hellraid for the trip down memory land that it is:
“We want you to feel that the game is made by guys in their ’30s. You can’t forget about the past. As young enthusiasts we enjoyed the first Quake, second Hexen or Diablo, and all that remains in us somewhere.”
Further drawing from fantasy and RPG titles, Hellraid features four specific character types: Warrior, Mage, Paladin, and Rogue. Players are meant to work together to fight hordes of enemies, able to combine their skills in order to benefit the entire party — a co-operative systems that fans of ’90s dungeon crawler style games will likely recognize.
With the teaser trailer comes new images, so have a look:
The new IP appears to have distanced itself from the Dead Island series, ditching its open-world layout with a series of individual, open-ended maps (think Quake 2 in terms of design, with various paths to multiple levels). Hellraid will also feature a leveling system similar to those of previous generation fantasy titles, with experience points unlocking portions of a larger character skill tree.
As of yet, Hellraid is being developed without a publisher in place; Techland claims to be wholly financing the project, and will likely strike a partnership deal with a publisher later on, insisting that creative freedom is top priority for now. The development isn’t hinting at a brand new development structure for the studio, as Kruckiewicz explains: “we just have an idea that we want to sell with no external interference.”
An admirable design philosophy, but what do you make of the new teaser trailer and screenshots? Are you excited to plunge into Techland’s new fantasy hack-and-slash co-op title, or is the market already home to enough nostalgic dungeon crawlers for this one to gain traction?
Hellraid is being developed on Techland’s Chrome Engine 5, previously used for the Dead Island series. While there is no set release date, the developer is hoping for a 2013 release on Xbox 360, PS3 and Windows PC.
Follow me on Twitter @superkyol.