I think it’s fair to say that Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game was one of the more…left reveals of this week’s Gamescom Opening Night Live bonanza. In case you missed it, it’s an asymmetrical 3v7 multiplayer adaptation of the 1988 cult horror film of the same name, but details on how its creepy slapstick would actually work were few and far between, to say the least. Fortunately, I attended a developer presentation earlier this week to find out exactly how it compares to other asymmetrical horror movie games out there right now, as well as how it hopes to evolve and redefine the hide and seek genre as a whole.
One thing to say up front: I didn’t get to see the game in action, sorry to say, but the concept, at least, seems solid. There was clearly a lot of love for the original movie in the room when I spoke to the developers, both from Randy Greenback, who was the executive director of Friday The 13th: The Game and now works at the Good Shepherd imprint, and from Teravision. The creative director of Games, Luis Daniel Zambrano.
“We want to build on that experience we had with Friday The 13th,” says Greenback. We know the genre works, it’s become a staple now and fans are asking for more.”
And ‘more’ is very much the order of the day, here. Of course, having seven players is nothing new. Friday The 13th did just that in 2017. But as you might have guessed by now, there isn’t a single killer in Killer Klowns. There are three, and this new cooperative experience for the offensive team is what Teravision hopes will produce “more exciting and memorable moments.”
There are five different clown classes to choose from: Spikey the Tracker, Shorty the Fighter, Chubby the Tank, Rudy the Trapper, and Jumbo the Scout, all of which are based on different clowns from the movie. Unsurprisingly, they each have their own unique weapons and abilities, which Greenback hopes will make them feel more like five different killers for players to deal with, rather than just the one from Friday the 13th.
They all share three powers: a laugh that can heal them and protect them from harm, a ray gun that can wrap players in cotton candy so they can carry them back to their spaceship, and a giant clown jump that allows them to teleport to any place. on the map that has already been scouted by clown invaders. Greenback and Zambrano didn’t go into detail about how often players could use these abilities in quick succession, but they did explain how human players could escape their fluffy pink-bud prisons. The easiest way to free yourself is by using a knife, if they have found one in the environment, that is. Other players can take them out too, but they’ll need to be quick about it, says Greenback.
“There’s a demon inside, so the humans aren’t dead yet. They have 30-40 seconds to live while they’re in there, we’re still balancing it out, but probably somewhere in that time region,” he says. “Yes [other] there are people around, you can touch a button and extend your life so you can buy time for them to save you. But if you know you’re on your own and you want to get back into the match faster, and you don’t mind wasting a life, and lives are very important, you can hit another button and kill yourself faster. So there are different ways to handle that.”
In fact, it’s the life system that intrigues me the most. Human players also have five classes to choose from in Killer Klowns: cunning but weak teenagers, agile but inept punks, gun-savvy but hapless cops, strong but noisy bikers, and skilled but unwitting rednecks, but when they die, their next class choice is determined. but which NPC characters are still alive on the map. You see, the human players have a collective pool of 25 lives to share between them, made up of eight teenagers, eight punks, two bikers, four rednecks, and three cops, so you’ll need to choose your next class carefully on your next respawn. . Bikers, for example, are the only class that can carry two heavy weapons at the same time, so you may want to keep them in reserve when you need to, um, pull out the big guns.
Of course, these NPCs can also be taken out by the Klown team, which could leave you with even fewer options at your disposal depending on how they play the match. Clowns, on the other hand, can respawn indefinitely (and also change classes like human players can), but there are ways to fight back. Your ultimate goal in Killer Klowns is to put an end to the invasion by breaking into their spaceship and destroying the power core, which you can do by grabbing a clown’s severed hand to grant yourself biometric access to it. Or, you can repeatedly fix ways to escape from the world of Crescent Cove, with each successful attempt giving you an extra life back.
“We want to keep players engaged in the game world, doing things that are meaningful to them,” says Zambrano. “When you, as a human, play die or escape, you can respawn by going back into the game and taking control of one of those NPCs. That makes the game exciting. Now I need to be a cop! Or now I need to be a biker! The Players will die a lot in this game, and it will feel more like an invasion of clowns. It is a better horror experience, because horror is about killing and death, right?
Hopefully, these NPC bodies won’t be hugely easy targets for Klown players either, as Greenback says the NPC AI “starts to look like they’re populating the city, kind of legitimately: They’re walking around the map living their lives.” .. If they see a clown, as long as the clown is not doing anything, that’s fine with them, they’re not going to be scared, they’re not going to run away. But as soon as they see a clown attacking other humans or being attacked themselves, They’ll run out and hide in a building, so the city naturally clears out in a way that feels like a real invasion.”
The Teravision team also hopes to support Killer Klowns long-term, adding new maps, time periods, and more with subsequent updates and seasons. However, for now, they are concentrating on preparing its beta version, which you can sign up for on its official website. The game itself won’t be released until early 2023, but until then, you can also get more information on the game’s Steam page.
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