Immortal: Unchained (2018) - Hardcore RPG | 3rd person Shooter
Unleashed and unforgiving. Can you rise to the challenge? Immortal: Unchained is the latest addition to the genre of ultra-hardcore action RPGs. Take the role of a living weapon, unleashed to stop the source of a cataclysmic event threatening to end all worlds.
I started at Toadman Interactive as an intern following my education at Futuregames Yrkeshögskola, and so Autodesk Stingray was not an engine I had previously worked with. I was brought on to start with work more closely related to the visual and artistic aspect of level design as the game’s levels were out of their whitebox stage and had already gone through their initial art pass.
Firstly, I got some more minor propping tasks to get to know Stingray’s interface, most importantly the viewport and properties panel, their Unit system (similar to prefab or Blueprint Classes in Unity and Unreal), and tools and procedures for testing and debugging. After these initial weeks my tasks swapped over to pretty much what I would later also be doing as an employee.
level art - propping and reinforcing a narrative
As previously mentioned, most of my tasks on Immortal: Unchained was working with the visual. I worked with our environment art team a lot and attended art direction meetings so that we could all be in the loop of each other’s progress and we all provided feedback on a weekly basis, my contributions often pertaining to how we could create focal points for the player to latch onto and guide them, and how we should best go about doing this, taking into account what the artists are all working on.
Other than those levels that had already gotten an art pass and only needed minor changes or additions, there were multiple levels that either needed substantial propping or were close to empty, making it my responsibility to do their set dressing so to speak, in addition to working with the levels’ lighting and post processing effects.
Such levels included the prison which your character emerges from in the tutorial, as well as the levels Legislative Archives and Seat of the Senate, themed around a fallen city once belonging to a powerful race of beings, the lush forests and poisonous bog and caverns in the world of Veridian and many more. In Immortal: Unchained we also have a set of levels referred to as Remnant Worlds, which are extra challenging boss arenas or Easter Egg stages. These were also mainly my responsibility after the gameplay itself was implemented and the general layout of the arenas were boxed out.
By the end of the project’s life until release, I had worked on all the levels in multiple passes and given the project’s scope, I had gotten to work with many kinds of environments both organic and natural, as well as architectural and man-made. Working with those environments, as well as helping to establish and reinforce the level’s narrative purpose also plays well into my deep interests in writing and presenting a compelling narrative related to and inspired by different places, peoples and cultures.
Level design - encounters and balancing
In addition to level art, I worked together with the level design team towards what needed to be done after the game’s initial combat pass. Our lead level designer spent quite some time playtesting enemy encounters and difficulty between checkpoints, and in that process I provided feedback of my own and ended up doing some tweaking and balancing to such encounters myself. Given that most of the encounters were made, there were only a handful of areas that needed a first pass altogether, but I did get to do some of those as well. This was to me the most fulfilling task that I did during that project, and I was personally quite happy with the results both for myself and for when seeing players play through those encounters.
The following is a collection of screenshots from levels that I have worked with lighting, propping,
or combat tweaking and encounter design in Immortal: Unchained