Last time I talked about the story and the general setting of Scout’s Journey without giving too many details about the gameplay elements,the levels, the enemies and so forth. Let’s see what kind of game it will be.
Scout’s Journey will consist of 5 – 9 exceptionally large levels. It will utilize a hub layout allowing you to freely go back and forth between areas. What areas you can visit will depend on a single plot-critical decision. The environments range from semi-realistic scientific/military installations to completely fantastic dungeons, castles and temples, as well as areas with low gravity.
The major gameplay elements are
- character development
- collecting loot
Players will be exploring the Quake dimension following the failed military operation, uncovering hints, clues and trophies, including information about the alien world in various forms. There will be a way to store and access that information. Character development will also be driven by exploration, as well as becoming “tainted” and eventually joining forces with a powerful ally and going through a mind-altering change.
Finding and collecting loot will allow the player access to useful equipment. There will be a loot exchange system that ties directly into the story, the character development, and the “taint” aspect. Loot can be gained either by exploration or combat; it must then be exchanged into items that are actually useful. Loot exchange opportunities exist on every level of the game.
Extended movement (such as wall-jumping and using a sophisticated grappling hook) is an inherent part of the game. These special moves are utilized by platforming elements and “challenge rooms” (a combination of puzzle, platforming and combat). They may also simply be required for progress, allow access to secrets or just facilitate exploration.
The game has a minor puzzle component; this usually comes in the form of pushable blocks, much like a three-dimensional Sokoban. Pushables can be interacted with in various ways (for example they can interact with the grappling hook). These puzzles are almost always optional, although players might have to get creative in order to bypass them.
Scout’s Journey isn’t a traditional shooter, but you will still have to prepare for combat. Shub-Niggurath, a Lovecraftian horror from behind the stars (presumably), has a taste for conquering – this means Her troops are roaming the dimensions, rifling through the pockets of dead humans, and waylaying innocent travellers. You won’t run into serious trouble unless you provoke them… or do something Shub cannot tolerate.
Such as hooking up with the wrong people. Shub doesn’t like that one.
Across the Quake dimension you will find the remains of the human forces (in various states of madness and decay), mysterious characters of unknown origin (both neutral and hostile), and enemy troops. You might encounter something else, but I’m under divine order to not disclose that.
You might be able to glean information from humans (if you can decipher the incoherent rambling of the mindless) or find useful loot on deceased soldiers. Nonhuman characters might be willing to trade with you, or even – in rare cases – strike some sort of deal that might have game-changing consequences. They are often fickle and might decide to turn on you (or have you for lunch) at any time.
Shub-Niggurath’s troops are made up of the remains of various cultures She has subjugated. These include various Elder Beings and Creatures, the shamanistic tribes of the Ogres, the desecrated ruins of a fallen kingdom of Knights, and most recently, Humans who sadly turned into Her most fervent supporters.
These enemies’ AI enables them to fight intelligently as a group instead of becoming cannon fodder. Ogres retained their totemic tribal culture, Knights retained the hierarchic order of their army, and human troops are transformed into a ferocious cult led by former elite units that combines both aspects.
I have been told that it is possible to defeat Shub-Niggurath, the Goat with a Thousand Young… but this path is shrouded in darkness and beset by terrible dangers. I will no more speak of it.