Bloodborne paved the way for Tunic, one of the groundbreaking indie hits of 2022

Bloodborne paved the way for Tunic, one of the groundbreaking indie hits of 2022
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2022 was a strange time for video games. I’ve already started calling it the “chaotic-good year” of broadcasts. (It hasn’t caught on yet.) With a handful of support posts in the blockbuster, the door was open for the few games in progress to finally come to an end. draw our attention; for seemingly unnecessary sequels win our hearts easily; and for indie games of all shapes and sizes to promote themselves. And few exemplify this last camp: tunicsAn adventure game about a lonely fox in a strange, vibrant, dangerous world.

tunics He wears Legend of Zelda influences on his green sleeves. As with the 1986 game that kicked off one of the medium’s best-known franchises, tunics Drops the protagonist into a world full of puzzles and secrets, with a set of gadgets to help the adventurer navigate. There is a shield covered with primary colors. There is a grapple tool that pulls you to distant places. There’s even an in-game manual designed in the same style that came in game boxes in the ’80s, ’90s, and early years.

Tunic world map viewed from an isometric perspective.  Colorful and blocky with a highly stylized, cel-shaded aesthetic.

Image: Andrew Shouldice/Finji

But underneath its cute ornaments, the adventure game owes its mechanical concepts to a much more intuitive catalogue: the work of developer FromSoftware. And despite tunics‘s fantasy-wild setting is reminiscent of the worlds of Dark Souls and devil’s spiritssnatch shot actually attracts much more transmitted through bloodFrom’s 2015 Gothic-horror masterpiece.

“I really love the sword and magic of Souls games – a real classic adventure vibe,” said Andrew Shouldice. tunics‘s creator tells Polygon. “I didn’t play devil’s spiritsHowever dark souls It hit me right in the heart with the Dungeons & Dragons-like ‘let’s go on an impossible fantasy adventure’ thing. I think it’s the same kind of adventurous pursuit that made the first Zelda sing – here’s a big world, you’ll die but you can’t find the sacred treasure, etc.

“However, combat design tunics It was evolving much faster than Souls combat. I love myself a zweihander (mine have up to +16 inches) Hand Ring), but that kind of combat pace doesn’t suit a game where you have to feel like a nimble little fox. It felt so much better when the attacks came on quickly.”

A hunter confronts a werewolf in a screenshot from Bloodborne

Image: FromSoftware/Sony Interactive Entertainment

To enter: transmitted through bloodis a driving game about shooting your shots before you retreat to evade an enemy’s counterattack. It also requires you to constantly adapt your strategy as you level up your character and find new vehicles scattered throughout his Bram Stoker-like world.

tunics‘s combat is also fast, responsive and malleable. What begins as a process of swinging a wooden stick at enemies becomes an ingenious balancing act of sword strikes, shield blocks and parries. The more tools the fox saves, the more options there are when things get hot.

“Zelda Meet Dark Souls is the most stereotypical, ‘white guy making an indie game’ kind of thing,” Shouldice says. “But something like this happened. I was trying to recreate a Soulslike’s fight. I started working on it and then I played it. transmitted through blood. I was like, ‘This is the ticket’. Inspiration must come from here.’ It showed me that with a little increase in speed, technical, challenging, Souls-y combat is possible.”

Hero fox looking through a telescope in Tunic

Image: Andrew Shouldice/Finji via Polygon

tunics wholesale does not remove transmitted through bloodBut struggle. As Shouldice said, an earlier incarnation of the indie game forbade attacking while the player’s stamina bar was empty. In its latest version, tunics allows the player to continue attacking when their stamina runs out, and the bar only discharges when performing defensive maneuvers such as shield blocks or dodge rolls. Like a cornered animal, tunicsThe fox can attack even when exhausted.

Similarly, an earlier version tunics It mimicked FromSoftware’s brutal habit of releasing all its resources when players die. Inside transmitted through bloodplayers can return to the point where they died, provided they don’t die again before they regain the blood echoes they lost. dark souls did the same with the spirits bearing his name, and last year’s Hand Ring did the same with his runes.

But like a lot transmitted through bloodendurance system, that kind of economy just didn’t make sense tunics, – without breaking anything – wraps the upgrade mechanic in its own layer of mystery. Adding FromSoft’s risk/reward dynamic to an already compelling progression system, tunicssignature concepts.

Hunter looks at the full moon in Bloodborne

Image: FromSoftware/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Still, Shouldice found it hard not to be impressed. transmitted through blood‘s general approach to world building. Like many of From’s games, it doesn’t direct the player to every critical path and doesn’t highlight every point of interest. Most players’ first entry into the alleyways of Yharnam is a tense act of exploration and timid wandering. However, as players get used to the terrain, they encounter a lot of shortcuts, rifts and secrets. Valid in the same rings tunicswhich houses one of the most surprising meta puzzles in recent memory.

“I really liked transmitted through bloodShouldice said in a separate email that it’s ‘slowly promoting otherworldly horror’. “I think that probably added a little bit to his story. tunics, indeed: Ancient scholars discover an unknown force deep within the Earth, exploit it to their advantage, build a religion around it, bring terrible corruption from planes beyond comprehension. To be honest, there’s a fair amount of overlap.

“But what I still value in FromSoftware’s games – and I hope that’s tunics – this is your discovery of player unstable work. You are an archaeologist moving in a vacuum. And the game is trying its best to ignore you. You are small and insignificant and you were just thrown into this world and told to explore.

Despite these effects, tunics It leverages From’s strengths without transforming it wholesale. transmitted through blood More than a foundation, Shouldice says, it’s the “design scaffolding” that once surrounded the project. by re-examining tunics throughout the development process and to re-evaluate ways transmitted through blood Leaked into its design, Shouldice came up with something completely unique. And as with many buildings covered with scaffolding for years, a pleasure to see the structure underneath the facade once it falls.

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