Death Blade is a first-person Roguelike where you fight your way through the Yakuza’s heavily guarded tower. Slash, shoot, and dash your path though seven randomly generated floors and build up your character with upgrades to become the ultimate killing machine.
Time: 9 Weeks
Team Size: 21
My Areas of Responsibilities were: Lead Game Designer for 5 designers, Project Manager & Scrum Master.
Content Design & Examples
Split Shot Upgrade
"Shoots 2 additional projectiles in a cone". This upgrade was very easy to implement because it uses the already established projectiles that have art and code done. When working on a small production it's very important to use your resources well.
Fast Verdict Upgrade
"Your Dash now deals damage to enemies you dash trough". This upgrade is my favorite and it follows the vision of adding to the players kit rather than changing it. The upgrade adds damage to your defensive tool turning it into a deadly crowd control weapon.
Roguelikes and a Level Designer Making Systems
Death Blade is a roguelike which is a subgenre of video games characterized by a dungeon-crawling through procedurally generated levels and progression which is different every game. Roguelikes live and die by how replayable they are and having just one level really limits that so I came up with a system where we can just create rooms and the system creates over a thousand combinations of rooms and that In my opinion is quite good for a student project.
At the end of every level, the player gets to choose one of 2 upgrades which are chosen randomly out the pool of 12 interesting upgrades. As a level designer myself, I want to encourage exploration so we came up with the mechanic - if the player explores every room and kills all enemies they get to choose between 3 upgrades instead which adds more flexibility in the upgrade path.
Lead Game Designer & Balancing Fun
Lead Designer & Project Manager
One of the key challenges was to not define all the content so that my designers could have the freedom to create while still following the vision. It's best to use the resources you have and that is why I wanted to use all of my designers. To make sure people understood the vision, I created some examples of enemies and upgrades that with relatively cheap in terms of art and programming but offered a lot when it came to gameplay and variation.
Balancing & Fun
One of the key decisions that made upgrades very interesting is that they can stack as many times as you can get them which is three times. So you could shoot 7 projectiles or one-shot crowds of enemies with your dash. The balance still remains intact because your enemies grow stronger in numbers for each floor and the odds of getting a specific three-piece combo is one in 30 runs.