Gillen McAllister catches up with Dave Cox, the creative director of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. They discuss exploration, camera angles and the future of the franchise.
However, the main topic of conversation was the combat that's coming in LoS2. Cox told us more about the two new weapons - the Void Sword and Chaos Claws - that'll be appearing in the game: "We've added two additional new weapons. One's called the Void Sword, which recoups your life. And one's called Chaos Claws, which breaks enemy's defences. But rather than just having these work in the same way as the previous game, we've given both of those weapons their own set of combos."
"The other way that we've improved the combat system is to introduce a new system called Mastery," Cox continued. "Now what Mastery does, it basically encourages players to purchase combos for their particular weapon, use those actual combos in battle. And when they have done that allows them to upgrade that particular weapon. So, for example, if I play more defensively and I want to use the Void Sword I can do that if I want. Or if I want to be an all-out kinda bad-ass and do tons of damage I can use the Chaos Claws. It's really giving the player a bit more freedom in terms of how they want to develop their main character."
Not just content with offering players new options, Cox and his team are determined to make better players out of us, to encourage us to develop our fighting style and learn the intricacies of the new weapons.
"We wanted to have a system where players... we kind of forced players to learn the moves, to learn the combos," he explained. "That's why the mastery system came about. We thought that the only way the players are going to really be able to improve those particular weapons is by using all the combos that they're given, all the combos that they purchase. So it's another way for players to really think about the combat, and that's what we wanted to do. We don't want it to be just a mindless hack ‘n' slash. I mean the Focus system that we use in the game, where players have to strike enemies, become focussed, and the enemy drops blood. That was something we had in the previous game, and that again is making players think about what they've got to do; play well and they'll be rewarded. So the combat is all about rewarding players."
Cox also explained the inspiration behind the new weapons: "The Void Sword and the Chaos Claws itself is something that we wanted to bring to Dracula's vampiric powers. So the Void Sword itself is a very vampiric weapon. Being able to regain health from enemies is something that vampires do by sucking blood etc. And the Chaos Claws; vampires have a tradition of being very, very strong, being able to do things with strength. So we wanted to give this ability that Dracula is able smash shields and break armour. So that was really where the ideas came from for those particular weapons."
Watch the full interview to find out more about why they've added a free camera to improve exploration, the challenges of integrating the new camera into the combat, where the studio are in development, and what's in store for both the studio and the franchise in the future.