Development Diary of “F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch”: Explore the Arcade-Style Combat Experience

Game Source Entertainment (GSE) announced that the physical version of Metroidvania “F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch”, developed by TiGames, has been launched on both PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®5 platforms. This time developers shared the arcade combat experience of "F.I.S.T.: Shadow Torch City", how it was developed, and some changes in the development process.

Easy-to-Use Arcade-Style Action Game Experience

From the very beginning, we clearly defined the direction of making the battle of "Shadow Torch City" an "arcade-style" action game experience. In addition to our passion for arcade machines when we were young, the characteristics of the arcade game itself are also very exciting. People are fascinated - the ability to quickly get started and the fun that can be experienced quickly is the impression we hope players will get in "Shadow Torch City".

The initial design of the battle requires only one attack button to complete: press and hold the button to accumulate energy, press the button to activate the continuous technique, when the enemy's life is reduced to a certain value, press the button to activate the execution technique.

This set of attacks covers the powerful cut-in from the beginning of the battle to the continuous output during the battle to the gorgeous ending at the end of the battle. Both functions and visuals are very complete. It fits the arcade feel, and we are very satisfied.

Based on this, we spent more than two months making a demo. The players who have experienced it at the online and offline exhibitions gave positive comments, which made us believe that we have found the right route.

The Contradiction Between Simple Combat and Rich Levels

Next, we started the formal development. We positioned "Shadow Torch City" as an action game with a mainline duration of more than ten hours, a seamless large map, several exploration elements, and a simple and refreshing operation. After completing the first official level, as the content of the game became more and more, the length of the game slowly increased, and the original combat system began to show the drawbacks of being too repetitive.

The three-stage combat experience was originally envisaged because it takes time to prepare, it is difficult to cope with sudden battles. The execution technique is essentially a performance and has little relevance to the operation, so the player can perform most of the time, Only the continuous technique of connecting a single button is left.

This operation process is a reasonable design for a 15-minute demo, but it is obviously not enough for a few hours of the formal game, and even a little tedious.
暗影火炬城, F.I.S.T. Forged In Shadow Fist, Game Source Entertainment, GSE,

Trade-offs When Designing Continuous Technology

After rethinking the player's experience of operating continuous skills, we decided to expand the attack buttons into two, corresponding to light attacks and heavy attacks. Change the input mode of continuous technology from AAA-type single button continuous input to AAB, ABA, BAB, and other key combinations that need some memory.

But we don't want to abandon the original intention of the arcade-style simple operation. If the memory button combination is necessary, how to simplify it to the greatest extent? After several brainstorming sessions, we formulated the following rules:

1.    Must start with a light attack
2.    The number of keystrokes is no more than 5 times
3.    No light attack after heavy attack
4.    Minimal combination

After these rules, we restrict the combination of consecutive skills in the game to the following 7 types:

It still seems not easy to remember? But during the game, the execution logic is much simpler: first press A, then press B when you want to activate the continuous technique.
暗影火炬城, F.I.S.T. Forged In Shadow Fist, Game Source Entertainment, GSE,

This set of continuous techniques meets our needs for both simplicity and richness, starting with a light attack and ending with a heavy attack, creating a trend of gradual enhancement of continuous techniques, and the design language is consistent with the picture performance.

In addition, since there are three weapons in the game, we have also delineated some moves with similar performance under a unified operation mode. For example, AB picks the enemy out of the three weapons, and the player does not need additional memory costs.

Introducing Derivative Combat System

With the deepening of development, in addition to continuous skills, we have added vitality skills, throwing skills, special skills, weapon switching, jumping, sprinting, and cancellation to the combat system, allowing players to have more and more choices in the battle.

But in the whole process, for each system, we have been doing system "addition" at the same time as the operation and understanding level at the same time doing "subtraction". The goal is to allow players to play more simply. Those cool moves were screaming from the crowd in the arcade hall.

Pre-order “F.I.S.T. Forged In Shadow Torch” Now

Product Information

暗影火炬城, F.I.S.T. Forged In Shadow Fist, Game Source Entertainment, GSE,

Title: F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch
Developer: TiGames
Global Publisher: bilibili HK LIMITED
Asian Physical Version Publisher: Game Source Entertainment
Japanese Physical Version Publisher: Game Source Entertainment
Genre: Action
Platforms: PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Suggested Retail Price: HKD248 / USD31.99 
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese / Simplified Chinese / English / Japanese 
Copyrights: ©2016-2021 bilibili Game ©2016-2021 TiGames. All Rights Reserved. Published by Game Source Entertainment in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia.

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