Wow.. I thought your game was cool enough but seeing this dev post really excites me, so much that I signed up to itch just to post this comment. Your expansion ideas are super cool, I especially like the character classes as that creates replayability and brings in some cool light rpg/fantasy elements to the game.. playing the game as a beast makes me think of old sega games like altered beast and shadow of the beast haha.
The possible further development
Haunted Lands was released recently and quite a few people shown interest in the game. Their support means a lot to me and I try to be as open about game development process as I can. I called the released version "first release" which implies that there might be more. So I decided to write about my initial vision of the game, what was already done and what could be possibly updated.
The game was initially planned as a short term development project, a small, fast paced game, similar to the games of the past era from which it draws inspiration. I'm glad I could implement basically everything that was initially planned for the release (and even more than that). However for a long time I had an idea of a much bigger game, that would be the same "Haunted Lands" in its core mechanics. This means fast action gameplay mixed with platforming that is close to classic run and gun games such as Contra and Metal Slug. At the same time the game would use some of the modern game features: global progression and exploration.
All the info below is a compilation of ideas that I have for the development of next versions of the game, however I currently can not guarantee that any of it will be ever brought to life and that next version of the game will be created.
Global progression means organizing levels on the map. Every level is individual challenge (contract) and is accessed separately from the others. Levels are united in thematic sets: industrial complex, abandoned factory, underground ruins etc. Completing level of a set unlocks next one, but completing the whole set of levels can unlock several new sets of levels.
The example of the map progression is shown below. Note that all images are placeholders that were made specifically for this presentation.
The levels themselves should be bigger than in current version of the game. The whole construction site would be a single level, for example, though levels would be less linear with some side paths, challenges and secrets. And a boss at the end, which means a whole lot more bosses.
More levels means more different enemy types, of course.
And elite enemies - tougher and more aggressive versions of regular monsters, that also possess some special ability.
Additional challenges bring additional rewards. Talismans can be found in most dangerous places. After equipped they permanently improve characters survivability or offence. The effects of the talismans can include making some of the shots piercing, increasing number of silver crosses, increasing damage against certain enemy types, increasing the charge rate of special attacks and so on.
Other reward that can be obtained through level exploration as well as for completing contracts is special currency that can be used to buy and upgrade talismans and cosmetic items - alternative colour schemes and skins for the characters.
This currency is given as a reward for the initial contract completion, which means just completing the level for the first time, and also for additional contract completions. Additional contracts are some extra challenges similar to the "hard mode" contract for the current game version, for example:
- time attack / speed run challenge;
- no continues and 1 hit point challenges;
- nightmare mode (more enemies and elites, fewer checkpoints etc);
- kill every monster challenge.
Characters and classes
Another game element that I'd like to expand are classes. Currently there are two characters of the same 'hunter' class. Hunters can eliminate their targets from afar, but need to spend time in safety while reloading the weapon. Characters of the same class have some variety in their parameters like reloading time and also have different special attacks. Mechanically they are the same. Adding new character classes means adding some new, entirely different, mechanics, while making sure that it won't break general style and flow of the game.
Mages are elusive fighters that use short range projectiles and utilize a number of spells for the protection and mobility, including levitation and teleportation. They also are highly dependent on the amount of their spiritual energy (mana) and if don't spend it carefully, can be left completely defenseless.
Brawlers need to come closer to their enemies to use melee combat skills. They are fast and agile, being able to quickly engage into fight and also quickly escape from the danger.
Beasts maul and tear apart their targets, often all they need is a single strike to kill even a most tough enemy. At the same time they are extremely vulnerable if not being careful while performing their quick elimination attacks.
As it was stated at the introduction part, I don't have any strict terms or guarantees for implementation of described features. It would take much longer time than current version of the game and currently all my time is consumed by my job and bringing other projects to a finished state. But it is still a possibility for the future. Maybe it will become a completely new game without limitation that current version has.
If you liked the game and are interested in its growth, let me know, what attracts you the most. What would you like to be added, changed or removed. Your feedback means a lot.
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Thank you! The idea of the beast gameplay could be imagined as something close to Doom berserk mode. Or playing hunter in l4d.
I just tried your game and had a real blast! Wonderful ega-style graphics, fluent and action packed gameplay with intuitive controls, great atmosphere. I feel like back in the heydays. I'll defintively purchase your game if you decide to continue development on this gem.