Stefan Ljungquist is a capable man. As art and animation director for Just Cause 2, it was his job to make actions with no real-world reference - a man grappling a jet from the ground and taking off after it, for instance - look and feel right.
As part of a new Swedish studio working on Deadbreed, he’s tasked himself with something even harder - making the MOBA feel new.
“I wanted to play a MOBA where I could totally customize how my hero looked and, more importantly played, but I couldn’t find one,” he said. “Talking to friends, I realized I wasn’t the only one wanting this, so we decided to make it.”
Deadbreed’s heroes each have special abilities, much like LoL’s and Dota’s, and play very differently according to the artifacts you equip them with. Artifacts level up alongside heroes between matches, but also wear down.
More novel seem the totem creatures summoned into battle - plus a team-chosen Sentinel who becomes the “endgame boss fight”, and a strict 3v3 team size limit.
Ljungquist and team are aiming to build a “darker themed” MOBA for “hardcore gamers”. You can judge how well that comes across in their debut trailer yourself:
Those lean demons reminded me, oddly enough, of Double Fine’s Brutal Legend - and specifically of its S&M-styled psychopath antagonist Doviculus. Deadbreed may be dark, then, but it's still cartoony enough that its characters actions can be read from on high by their players.
Deadbreed will be out before the end of 2014. Whether it’ll be finished or not is a different matter - PC games development’s a bit funny like that now. D’you think you’ll try it?