Co-Optimus: Exclusive Interview and Screenshots

We asked Joe Fricano, Producer of Dungeonland at Critical Studio, a few questions about the PC game to get to the heart of what makes the title so appealing. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the gameplay is more arcade like, more like a Gauntlet game and less like Torchlight or Diablo.

We haven't seen much from Dungeonland yet, but the title has intrigued us since it was announced. A theme park like setting for an Action/RPG that still retains fantasy like characters with plenty of co-op play. There's also the unique dungeon master aspect, that lets a fourth player control the monster spawns and other aspects of the missions, if you desire to go that route.

We've also got a handful of exclusive screenshots of the game scattered throughout the article and at the end in our gallery as well as 25 invites to the game's beta.

Technical Questions

Co-Optimus: How many players can play together in Dungeonland?

Joe Fricano Dungeonland supports up to 4 players simultaneously and you can pretty much set it up any way you want to. 1-3 players take control of the Heroes and try to beat the various theme park-levels, which are controlled by the Dungeon Master. The unique aspect of Dungeonland is that the Dungeon Master can be controlled by a player as well, so you have a situation where 3 players are fighting against 1 - much like in a lot of popular board games like Descent or Mansions of Madness. If you want, you can set it up as 1vs1, where one player controls a Hero, one controls the DM and the A.I takes care of the remaining two heroes - any combination is possible. If you want to play solo as the Dungeon Master or a Hero, that's fine too. It's actually one of the most open setups I've ever seen in a game.

CO: Is there local co-op support? If so can you play local and online at the same time? (Combo Co-Op)

JF Yes! You can set up a game locally over a network, over the internet or on just one PC. (However, if someone is playing the Dungeon Master and someone else a Hero, you need at least two PCs since they have separate interfaces. The Heroes can all play on the same screen.)

CO: Any chance of a console port?

JF: Our current focus is PC only but you never know what might happen if there is enough demand...

CO: Will it be coming to Steam?

JF: Yes, absolutely! We work with a lot of download partners so we hope to have it available in as many places as possible.

CO: Does the PC version support Xbox 360 controllers?

JF: Yes! In fact, the dev team (Critical Studio) have had controllers supported from the beginning so it will play just as well with a controller or keyboard.

CO: How does story progress and scaling work between players? (Number of enemies increase with player count / Quest completion credit)

JF: Dungeonland is more of an old-school arcade game similar to classics like Gauntlet and as such, there is no "story" in the sense of an ongoing narrative. There IS a lot of characterization in the game though and the Dungeon Master himself is an ever present entity taunting you as he sends his minions to halt your progress.

Gameplay:

CO: How many character classes are there?

JF: Three Heroes and the Dungeon Master. Each has special skills and weapons.

CO: Are there playable female characters?

JF: In the initial release the Heroes are all male (as are the monsters). However... we have a playable character in development that is female. She will be introduced a little later down the line with some hilariously cool gameplay attached.

CO: What kind of loot can we expect in the game? Can any player use a drop or is it class specific?

JF: Weapons, powerups, various game-enhancing packs! Remember, the aim of Dungeonland is to beat the levels, arcade game style, and it's therefore not super-focused on "loot" the way Diablo or Torchlight is. Dungeonland is nothing like those games besides also being isometric action-based. It's a much more immediate and visceral experience.

CO: Any co-op synergy? (e.g. freezing an enemy then shattering them, root spells, buffs, team heals)

JF: Co-op synergy is a MUST to beat the game if you are playing on the difficulty it's meant to be played at! Even when you play solo, the other characters will be there to help out, controlled by the computer.

CO: Can the appearances of the playable characters be customized in any way?

JF: Both the appearances AND powers/weapons can be customized a great deal. The base character models stay the same but clothes, armor, colors, weapons and so on can all be tweaked. once the game is released we will be releasing regular updates that will let you customize even more.

Dungeonland is set to be released on the PC early next year. There's a closed beta for the game launching next month and we've got 25 spots to giveaway. To enter for your chance at one of these spots simply reply to this post. Winners will be randomly selected and notified before the beta launches.