In the vast realm of gaming, where developers strive to create immersive and impactful first-person experiences, the art of designing melee combat has proven to be a mighty challenge. While third-person action games offer a plethora of tools for developers to play with, from intricate animations to a bird's-eye view of the battlefield, the same cannot be said for those trapped within the confines of their protagonist's skull. And let's not even mention the perils of attempting cool flips—motion sickness, anyone?
Fear not, for the brilliant minds at Obsidian Entertainment, the studio behind gaming gems like Pillars of Eternity, Fallout: New Vegas, and The Outer Worlds, have sought inspiration from a master of first-person melee combat: Fatshark, the talented creators of Warhammer's Vermintide and 40k's Darktide.
"Our goal was to try to make it feel visceral, right?" explains Gabe Paramo, Avowed's gameplay director. "To make the sense of hitting [enemies] feel impactful... like Vermintide. We're trying to get our inspiration from there, just that masterclass in having a sense of hitting and impact."
And let's give credit where credit is due. If you're searching for a prime example of satisfying first-person blade swinging, both Vermintide and Darktide are veritable treasure troves. Fatshark took the formula of Left 4 Dead's zombie-slaying frenzy and elevated it to new heights, introducing complex systems that sent enemies staggering and ragdolling in various directions based on the weapon type and angle of attack. (Check out Polygon's excellent video by Patrick Gill for a closer look).
"I'm definitely really proud of what the gameplay team has done... even our melee combat is feeling fantastic," boasts Carrie Patel, Avowed's director. "I really do feel like it's going to stand head and shoulders above when it comes to fantasy first-person action RPG melee combat."
Oh, the anticipation! I can't help but be thoroughly excited about this on paper. It seems like an eternity since we've had a non-horde shooter game that truly delivers meaty, bone-crushing first-person combat. Where are the heirs to the throne of Zeno Clash and the glorious Dark Messiah of Might and Magic? Alas, it appears that the difficulties of designing first-person brawling have kept such titles locked away. But fear not, for hope lies in the hands of Obsidian Entertainment. They possess the potential to conquer this formidable challenge and unleash a symphony of visceral melee combat upon the gaming world.
Imagine, dear readers, the thrill of wielding a mighty sword and feeling every swing reverberate through your virtual body. The clash of steel, the impact of a devastating blow, and the satisfying collapse of your foes—all experienced firsthand in the immersive world of Avowed. It's a realm where skill and strategy intertwine, where each strike carries weight and consequence. Brace yourselves, for Avowed promises to transport you to the forefront of the action, thrusting you into an epic adventure where your swordplay will leave a lasting mark.
In this fantastical realm, where the boundaries of possibility are stretched and the clash of blades echoes through the land, Avowed stands poised to redefine the standards of first-person melee combat. With Obsidian's unwavering dedication and their inspiration from the likes of Vermintide, we can only hope that they shall emerge victorious, their creation standing tall as a testament to the brilliance of fantasy first-person action RPG melee combat.
So, prepare yourselves, brave warriors, for the dawn of a new era. Avowed beckons, promising a journey that will test your mettle and ignite the fires of your imagination. As the clash of steel draws near, let your battle cry be heard throughout the realms of gaming, for you are about to embark on an adventure like no other—a symphony of first-person melee combat that shall echo through eternity.
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