For the first part of development, our game was 50% combat, 50% walking sim. If you weren’t fighting, you were looking for something to fight. After some playtesting, we realized this approach led to a disconnect between the environment and the gameplay. Nothing reacted to the player, and the player didn’t need to react to anything in the environment. The lack of interaction made the world feel dead and we set out to fix that!
Our first solution involved making the combat not only affect enemies, but smaller environment props as well. If you hit a car it'll shake and beep at you. If you hit a sign post it will tink and fall over. We also added a couple of physics assets that the player could kick around, like sports balls and traffic cones.
This helped a lot. However, the player was still only ever swinging or shooting their weapon. To break up the combat even more, and add some opportunities for pace changes in gameplay, we added the infamous interact button. With a simple universal animation, the player could now knock on doors and search through dumpsters around the town.
- Naomi Masterson