Dark Void's Delay Explained: Hint, It Has to Do With Hover

Illustration for article titled Dark Void's Delay Explained: Hint, It Has to Do With Hover

Capcom's alternative history sci-fi shooter wasn't pushed back to early next year out of fear of the competition, it was to add a new feature to the game, Shana T. Bryant, Capcom associate producer, told Kotaku.


"The main reason we delayed Dark Void was because we really wanted to spend the extra time we needed to re-polish it and add a new feature," she said.

The feature? Hover up, something that was added into the game just a week ago.

Allowing the character's rocket-pack sporting hero to not only fly through scenes, but also hover up and around environments adds a new element of strategy to the game.

Now players can tap the Y button to rocket off in full-out flight or double jump to start hovering. Once in the air, holding the jump button allows you to boost higher into the air and depletes your boost meter. When you're not boosting you start slowly drifting down, but your meter also slowly refills. Done correctly and a character can almost hover indefinitely.

That means a player can decide to take the high road or the low road in almost every encounter. It also meant that the developers had to return to the drawing board to make sure the game remained engaging and not just something a gamer could float through.

"We are play testing it and balancing it now," she said. "We're kind of getting to that sweet spot for difficulty."

Another major change to come to the game was a tweak to the perhaps too realistic injuries that mid-air collisions caused. In previous versions of the game bouncing into a wall or any other solid object killed a player immediately: Something Kotaku's preview labeled Death By Touching.


Capcom said they took note of the issue.

"We read that article and printed it out and made a sign that said 'No more death by touching,'" Bryant said.


Now that game allows players to deflect two or three times off of a wall without dying.

"You do take damage if you hit the wall, but you can survive it," she said.

Taken together the adjustment to damage and the new hover mode iron out many of the issues I had with earlier builds of Dark Void.


Played today at Gamescom in Germany, I found the game felt more tactical, more controllable than previous versions. I was able to hop into the air, hovering around ground targets as I tried to take them out and then easily slipping into flight in mid-air, zipping around the map to turn a front-on assault into a flanking sneak attack.

The fact that bouncing off objects in flight only injured and didn't kill me, also made me more willing as a player to take chances and in the long run I tended to fly more. Flight is the point of Dark Void, that's much of what separates it from other shooters. Making it easier and more enjoyable is a huge step in the right direction.


"We've been talking about adding a hover feature mode for awhile," Bryant said. "I think it's been the best game design decision we've made."



The problem with games like this is that they have one cool mechanic, but then the rest of the gameplay (ie shooting) always falls short. Here's hoping that doesn't happen here, as I do think this game looks cool.