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Hunted: The Demon's Forge

Latest Hands-on With inXile's Fantasy Title
by Annette Gonzalez on Jun 15, 2010 at 09:00 AM
Platform PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher Bethesda Softworks
Developer inXile Entertainment
Release 2011
Rating Rating Pending

inXile Entertainment was first founded back in 2002 and has since developed The Bard's Tale, a humorous adventure title meant to spoof the fantasy role-playing genre. The company has gone on to create several titles for Apple's iPhone, but has now returned to its console roots with its current project, Hunted: The Demon's Forge, that is expected to release early next year. After inXile and Bethesda announced the game back in March, it has earned a few nicknames, most notably "Gears of Warcraft," as a result of similar gameplay mechanics, still with each new gameplay demo, inXile shows it is capable of breathing new life into the dark fantasy genre. We recently got a chance to dig into Hunted's gameplay and chat with senior producer Stewart Spilkin for the latest details.

Hunted is a cooperative experience as the main characters E'lara and Caddoc work together when traversing and while in combat in order to progress. In the most recent demo, animated skeletons provided the bulk of opposition, and were no match for the duo. Caddoc used Levitation to suspend foes in air making it easier for E'lara to pick them off using a ranged crossbow. Staying at a distance is key for E'lara as her melee weapon, a small sword, is notably less powerful than her ranged attacks. The opposite is true for Caddoc. The warrior slashed through enemies with ease, and taking enemies out from a distance with his crossbow should be used as a last resort. Each character can acquire and upgrade spells, but also have their own set of skills that match their expertise. If skirmishes get tough and your partner is down, in Gears of War fashion, the fallen character will crawl about for a short time until the partner provides a recovery vial from a distance.

Even though player interaction in co-op makes for a more rewarding experience, solo players can tackle the adventure as well. Spilkin tells us if you play on your own, it will still be a cooperative experience, except the only difference is your partner will be handled via AI and you'll be able to switch between E'lara and Caddoc at any given point.

In the demo, we also got to try our hand at puzzle-solving. We found ourselves in a dark catacomb that required us to light torches in order to drain water that was hindering our progress. Spilkin says the puzzles in Hunted are specifically designed to be cooperative. There are things E'lara can do with her bow that Caddoc cannot. There will be puzzles that require brute strength that only Caddoc can complete. inXile won't go into specifics as to what sorts of other puzzles we'll see, but Spilkin says there will definitely be a wide range of difficulty and depth to look forward to.

Spilkin says he and the team at inXile hope the cooperative play, robust combat system, and engaging puzzles can help demonstrate that Hunted is more than just "Gears of Warcraft," and as more demos have been shown, he thinks people are starting to see that.

"Gears of War is a great franchise, so we take it as a compliment when people make comparisons. I think in the early previews, we really focused on the action," he says. "Now that we’re revealing more of the exploration elements, the diversity and growth potential for character abilities, and the emphasis we’re placing on differences between the characters and their need to play cooperatively, people are beginning to see that we are making our own game."

There will be plenty more to see of Hunted: Demon's Forge as inXile goes deeper into development. The fantasy action title is slated for a Q1 2011 release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Stay tuned to Game Informer for more details on Hunted: Demon's Forge as they come.

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Hunted: The Demon's Forge

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