Back at GDC this year I had the chance to meet with Shawn Allen and see at little bit of his upcoming PlayStation Mobile title, Treachery In Beatdown City. The title is a love letter to old school beat’em ups, but it also mashes up a few elements from newer games like Fallout 3.
The build of the game that I was shown was still very early, but I definitely can see the style of game that Shawn and his team is aiming for with the final product due out sometime later this year. Only one character was playable, Brad Steele who is slow but powerful grappler, but the game will have 2 others in its final form. Lisa Santiago is a “Goldilocks” character not too slow and not too strong, she also has a more varied selection of grapples and strikes. Finally there is Bruce Maxwell, who I think of as an Eddy Gordo type character. I was told he is a mix of kung-fu moves and some breakdancing capoeira type attacks.
As I mentioned before the game borrows a bit from games like Fallout 3. If you have played a beat’em up before, I am sure that you know that it can become repetitive really quick. You are just mashing square or cross over and over again. In TiBC you can still do that, but the depth of the game’s fighting comes from a “VATs” like system.
Each character possesses a number of “Fight Points” which can be used for skills, as well as things like countering and dodging. At any time the player can pause the fight (currently by pressing Triangle) to bring up a menu with all sorts of different moves the player can perform. Each of these moves costs a certain amount of FP, and you can string moves together into combos. There is a risk involved in trying some of the big point moves, as they may leave you vulnerable to an attack.
You can also pick when to enter in a fight with an enemy. As you might expect, your attacks will be far more effective if you can sneak behind your enemies and launch a back attack. But it is also things like some enemies being weak versus throws instead of strikes or combos. It really is up to the player to experiment with the combat system to find these weaknesses.
One other thing that I thought was really interesting was the process in which some of the game’s battle arenas where made. The game has an overworld of sorts which is top down and reminiscent of old RPGs. But when you run into an enemy on this field it zooms down to the usual brawler level layout.
The cool thing about these layouts is that they are “modeled” after places in New York City. Shawn did some location shooting around his house and also used Google Maps to find different areas of the city to make stages out of in the game. It adds some real life to the city, and anyone from that area will be able to spot some of these locations.
Treachery In Beatdown City will be coming out this fall on PlayStation Mobile and will be episodic. While what I played was very, very early the kernel, the game builds on what you might expect from a brawler in some interesting ways. Be sure to follow @Beatdown_City on Twitter to learn the latest about its development. You can also listen to some more impressions from my time at GDC on our podcast.