Since the game was first announced, Deathloop has touted its asymmetrical multiplayer as a key gameplay feature. After months of vague explanations, Arkane has finally unveiled where and when a player can invade another player’s game, as well as what steps they’ve taken to make sure the multiplayer aspect doesn’t kill the fun of the single player campaign.
Deathloop‘s conceit is that of a murderous Groundhog’s Day. Players in the main campaign of Deathloop control Colt, who is trying to kill eight targets in a single day. Players will need to research their marks and experiment with approaches to figure out how to kill everyone in one run, and death will send players to the start of the day again. But the NPCs running around the island aren’t the only threat. Players will also have the option to invade another player’s game by playing an assassin character named Julianna, whose only objective is to kill Colt. Players who don’t want another live human in their game can turn off the feature, and control of Julianna will revert to an AI instead.
In a recent interview with Game Informer, game director Dinga Bakaba gave insight on how the multiplayer component of Deathloop would work, and the steps they’ve taken to make sure that Julianna’s interference in another player’s game isn’t a buzzkill. To start with, Colt actually has three lives every run, while Julianna only has one, meaning a single attack won’t totally ruin Colt’s day. To balance that, however, Julianna may pop up more than once throughout the day, so players shouldn’t get cozy if they defeat her early in a run. Player invasions will also be limited to the area’s where Colt’s targets are, preventing players from being sniped in the middle of menial tasks or information gathering.
While explaining Deathloop’s design, game director Bakaba stated, “I like to think about those Julianna encounters as boss fights.” The description of fighting Julianna certainly reinforces that notion. Julianna will announce her presence when she arrives, and the area Colt is in will lock down to prevent him from leaving. Colt will either need to kill Julianna, or make his way to a hackable antenna that will lift the lockdown and give him the opportunity to escape. Players trying to escape will need to be extra sneaky, as being spotted by an NPC will alert Julianna to their location. But players who confront Julianna and succeed in killing her will be rewarded with part of her loadout, which could include a power or a weapon.
Arkane seems to have taken the right steps to make sure that the multiplayer aspect of Deathloop doesn’t cause too many frustrations. By limiting Julianna’s spawn points to specific locations, Arkane prevents Julianna players from griefing another players game, killing them before they get very far in their run. Players will know when they enter a target area, they’re also opening themselves up to encountering Julianna. Limiting Julianna’s locations might lower the tension, but considering how many times players are likely to go through a run of Deathloop, that’s probably better in the end.
Source: Game Informer
Deathloop is slated to launch on PlayStation 5 and PC May 21, 2021.