With Guardian releasing on October 10th, we sat down with a number of people on the dev team to give you a little bit of insight into her character, design and arsenal.
Community previews with early Guardian code
Character and Role
The last medic to make their bow in Dirty Bomb was Phoenix, back in September 2015.
Since then, Dirty Bomb has welcomed a number of new Mercs, many of whom have altered the game in dramatic ways. We wanted the same for a new medic; effective in a number of roles, with special abilities that alter the flow and feel of Dirty Bomb when they're in play.
When designing a new Merc it’s important to consider how they might impact the game; the flow of matches, how they work on both attack and defence and, crucially, how their skills and abilities combine with and counter other Mercs.
We talked to Game Designer c4Te, Art Lead nerd1princess, Lead Concept Artist Phandy, and Associate Artist Harconem about Guardian's art, her role in the game, and her weapons and abilities.
nerd1princess: "We want to make sure every single Merc is unique, and that's a combination of both personality and abilities. Guardian is a high-tech combat medic from South Korea, and her personality and abilities reflect that."
Guardian's 'Bionic Pulse' and Drone abilities make her unique in the Dirty Bomb roster; she can work easily as a back line Merc, or a front line fighter. Her Sky Shield drone can be thrown onto the battlefield, destroying enemy projectiles like rockets or airstrikes once in range.
Her 'Bionic Pulse' is a group revive operated at a short range, making her the first Merc able to revive in such a way.
c4Te: "Guardian is our first 'Combat Medic,' an aggressive frontline support Merc. Her abilities, combined with her use of assault rifles (a first for Medics), allows her to go all in and be safe from explosives. On the other hand, she can be played extremely defensively.
We want players to think about the perfect situation to use her; a good example would be the generator room on 'Bridge'. Placing the device in there and shielding it from bullets with the Turtle shield would make it very difficult for attackers to destroy the generator."
c: "Her device only destroys projectiles. If you see the device on the floor unguarded, shoot it! And if you see her; shoot her as well!"
Weapons and Loadout
Guardian is also the first Merc with a dual-melee weapon. It's important, though, to ensure that the design of all of her weapons fits her character, and the wider world of Dirty Bomb.
Phandy: "When we start designing a new weapon we begin with looking at the gameplay design for the character. We use that to dictate what type of weapon we create for them; such as a sniper rifle, shotgun, SMG etc. After we know what kind of weapons we need, we do a lot of research to try and find real world examples which fit the design."
Harconem: "Figuring out where to add and where to leave out details from world equivalent weapons is quite challenging! For example our Bullpup take on a popular Belgian handgun is still recognisable as such because of some of the key details we kept, yet it still looks unique."
P: "Exactly. We use these as starting points (real world weapons) for the visuals of the weapon because players are likely to be familiar with them. Then we give it our unique Dirty Bomb spin!"
It's essential that we create weapons that are not only interesting to the player, but also unique within the game. You're used to seeing cricket bats and knives, for example, but moving forward you can expect to see something a little more exciting...
P: "Every New Character is getting melee weapons with unique and interesting visuals, as we want to move away from boring old knives. This allows us to do some pretty cool stuff with animation and VFX which makes them really fun to use."
In addition to new melee weapons Every New Merc will be coming out with a selection of new weaponry.
P: "We want to make sure those weapons are unique and fun, so we're exploring lots of new and fresh ideas."
H: "The CDA aren't the only ones pushing the technolohical envelope. Arms manufacturers across the Dirty Bomb universe are stepping up their game, so you'll really see this difference reflected in these newer weapons. They have a nice, sleek design, which really fits with our existing aesthetic" It's not just about the looks of these new weapons, though. It's imperative that they feel nice in the game too.
c: "The Hurtsall 2k (Guardian's primary) is our fastest firing Assault Rifle. However it has slightly lower damage and range when compared to the other assault rifles in the game, bringing it closer to the SMG. The Hoigat .244 has the highest ammo capacity out of all the semi-automatic pistols, but deals the lowest damage. They're great for finishing off damaged enemies."
Early explorations of the Hurtsall 2K
One aspect of introducing a new Merc that is always tricky is anticipating community feedback. We playtest the Merc in house and on our PTS servers, but until they get into the hands of the general public we can never be sure how they will be received.
c: "One concern that the community has often raised is the number of explosive abilities in the game. With the introduction of Guardian we have given players an effective method of protecting against them."
It's not only her abilities that need to be considered for the community, but also the weapons that are so extensively researched and designed.
H: "I think the community will find the weapons satisfying to use. One of things I enjoyed about the SHAR-C (the new primary weapon introduced with Javelin) was that it felt heavy and like it had some real power behind it. I hope we capture a similar level of satisfaction from our community when using these guys - but let's face it - zapping someone with duel wielding stun batons is gonna rock!"
P: "I hope everyone thinks these new weapons look and feel great, and that they're fun to get some sweet kills with!"
Guardian is joining the Dirty Bomb roster on October 10th.