Deep Silver Volition is currently working on their newest IP known as Agents of Mayhem. The open-world of Seoul, South Korea awaits gamers when the new title launches in a matter of days. A variety of agents are at your disposal, as are many different styles of combat, but who will you choose when you step into Agents of Mayhem?
Volition is known for creating explosive, entertaining gameplay. They mastered it in their Saints Row series, and not only that, but they fully understand how to craft humor into gameplay. While Agents of Mayhem is an action-first game, the studio still plans to bring the laughs when it can.
They’re also looking to deliver a completely fresh combat experience. I do have to say that from what I’ve experienced, Agents of Mayhem seems to be keeping its promise of providing a type of combat that no other game has. Gamers can switch between agents in the middle of combat, and this is where the hook lies. Volition’s Anoop Shekar spoke to We Write Things about the amazing, fluid feature.
“The biggest challenge was incentivizing people to actually switch agents in the middle of combat because we agree – when you switch agents regularly the combat experience is much more fun and exciting. It’s also unlike any other combat experience out there for that reason. We ended up solving that as much as possible through messaging to the player and creating enemies that were weaker to specific agent damage types,” Shekar said.
Fluidity is obvious when you watch and play Agents of Mayhem. It feels incredible to move from one agent to another in the middle of a fierce battle. Even the most impulsive gamer won’t be able to deny is ever-present element of choice. Impetuous will be cured by the presence of choice.
Being able to shift agents mid-combat is one thing, but having a wide breadth of characters to choose from is another. When you consider there are 12 agents and they each bring something unique, this is an accomplishment in and of itself. Shekar further elaborated on this sentiment.
“The other difficult thing was creating so many different agents that had their own abilities, weapons and playstyles and then balancing them against each other and all the enemy types. This really just came as a result of trying different things, then testing them out and then making adjustments based on the test results,” Shekar said.
Volition’s willingness to think outside of the box seems like it’ll serve them well. Establishing an original style of combat is a difficult task in gaming nowadays. However, Agents of Mayhem certainly sings during combat like no other does.
An agent that sticks out the most to me is Daisy. She wields a mini-gun and delivers some intense ass-whippings courtesy of her rollerblades. Daisy is certainly out there a bit, but I wanted to know how her creation came about. She seemed like a later addition to the lineup of agents, however, Shekar insists Daisy wasn’t a last minute add in.
“Daisy wasn’t one of the first agents we came up with but she wasn’t created near the end either. I don’t remember the whole process for how she came together but I do know that the idea for her being on skates the whole time came from the animator that was working on her. He just felt that it was too cool not to push for that and once everyone agreed we never looked back. From a gameplay perspective she’s cool because she sort of toggles between using her mini-gun for maximum damage and then going into roller derby mode to send enemies flying.
“That back and forth dynamic makes her unique amongst all of our agents. Her personality really shines through because she’s mainly in Mayhem to have fun and kick ass. She doesn’t harbor any big secrets or major grudges against Legion so she’s kind of along for the ride. This makes her perspective on most of the major events that occur in the game different than the rest of the crew,” Shekar said.
It is an interesting dynamic for one of Mayhem’s agents to be sort of indifferent to Legion. Daisy feels like she’s just there to kick ass and takes names. It’s kind of refreshing to have a character who doesn’t have some dramatic, revenge-filled backstory for why she’s part of the gang. Daisy just wants to have fun by beating down some enemies.
While players battle through the furious world of Seoul, other choices are waiting. Cash and XP bonuses will be determined by the difficulty level you select. There are 15 difficulty levels for gamers to pick from, and each varies up the bonuses. Shekar detailed why Volition wanted to provide so many difficulty choices.
“As we’ve found through extensive playtesting, three difficulty levels rarely accommodates our total player base. For some, the game even on the easiest level is too hard. For many others it’s the opposite – they can’t get the challenge high enough. Having more options in that regard allows us to cater to larger segment of our audience. Additionally, since the player can have many agents across a wide range of levels we needed a way to allow players to change the difficulty more discreetly to provide the right challenge for agents at multiple levels.
“The XP and cash boosts were decided through playtesting again. We targeted a specific rate that we wanted players to be able to level their agents and buy items. We then used telemetry data from our play testers to tell us if they were hitting those rates. If not then we adjusted the boost values,” Shekar said.
Much like a lot of elements in Agents of Mayhem, not having a trio of difficulties to choose from is refreshingly different. 15 difficulty levels might seem obnoxious from some studios, but with that coming from Volition, it feels just about right.
XP is obviously a very important source of progression in Agents of Mayhem. How you choose to gain XP is up to you, but Volition provided some tips for the best ways of accomplishing this. Shekar divulged a favorite way of earning XP in the wonderful world of Agents of Mayhem.
“I really like doing the Global Conflict mode. Once you unlock it you can send agents that aren’t currently in your squad to investigate Legion activity all around the world. From time to time they’ll uncover a hidden lair and you’ll be able to take them in to these lairs and thwart a small Legion scheme to get more rewards and XP for those agents. Eventually the best agent gadgets are unlocked through this mode as well,” Shekar said.
Agents of Mayhem is inching closer and closer to its Aug. 15 release date. The game will debut on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Keep an eye on this game, as it may turn out to be a breakout hit in 2017. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Agents of Mayhem.