This is the final fight with the Leviathan, studded with big Grey Tech Nodes that keep him alive. But as the player has no doubt surmised by this point, shooting and destroying a Grey Tech Node releases a huge explosion. But its only vulnerable during a certain time window. And because the Leviathan is moving around, shooting the Grey Tech Node is pretty tricky.
I was tapped to finish the design and implement the Leviathan fight with only a month left in production. We were already designing the fight with many mechanics. But since our engine with this game was so new, we soon realized that we needed to scrap almost all of the gameplay ideas we wanted to do. So I decided to keep the design of the fight as simple as possible. Where we used to have multiple arenas, we now had only one.
I really wanted to keep at least 3 stages to work with and at least 2 different locations in the arena. And we achieved that. I worked closely with the animator and gameplay programmer to figure out and build all the components to each stage of the fight. I had to tweak the health of the pillars in stage one in order to give the player a finite set of cover. For stage 2, the player had a time limit as the Leviathan, over time, would destroy the two sections of the platform the player lands on and then with the next strike, the player would be smashed. Finally, the third stage is all about unloading everything the player’s got to make that final head shot kill.
For the gameplay programmer, I needed to come up with all the rules for where and how the Leviathan would strike at the platforms. He needed rules for hitting the pillars before destruction and then after destruction of the pillars, where he could reach all the way to the back of the platform. The Leviathan also needed rules for how often he’d use his strikes, which ones, and they all had to be random. Finally, the Grey Tech Nodes needed to have the same mechanics as the smaller ones, but they needed to be tied into the Leviathan’s state and health.
It was a challenging design process to get all of this ironed out in 1 month, but I believe we did a great job of it.