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Overview

BRAZEN is a third-person action-adventure game currently being made by Brad Muir and his team at Double Fine Productions. There is currently no slated release date, or even any explicit commitment to the full game being released.

Development

BRAZEN was initially pitched by Brad Muir to coworkers in 2011 during Double Fine's annual "Amnesia Fortnight," wherein the entire staff takes two weeks to come up with new ideas for games and works on playable prototypes in small teams.

Brad Muir thinking about fun stuff.

Brad Muir explained that he wanted to make a Monster-Hunter-style game that captured the "otherwordly" quality of Ray Harryhausen's monsters from his famous "sword-and-sandal" adventure films of the 1960s and 70s. Muir noted that some of his interest in the style was based on his feeling that modern computer-generated monsters seemed lifeless and lacked the substance of the stop-motion "Dynamation" monsters from Harryhausen films.

A first for Double Fine, and perhaps studio-made games as a whole, the game was announced to the public and released as a playable prototype on the same day (21 November, 2012). The unfinished version of the game was made available through Steam to people who had donated to Double Fine's Amnesia Fortnight Humble Bundle.

Brad Muir expressed his excitement about letting fans know about -- and play -- the game at such an early stage in development, noting that the standard games industry practice of working on a game for years without any public feedback or validation was "depressing."

Proposed Ideas

Beyond the basic "tactical brawler" gameplay and Harryhausen styling, Muir mentioned he wanted to incorporate kill trophies (like the heads of monstrous beasts) into inter-mission ship-based lobbies, presumably similar to how the ship worked in Iron Brigade.

Playable Prototype

Style

The main title of the prototype build.

The prototype version of BRAZEN released privately to Steam opened to a menu screen that looked similar to a sword-and-sandal movie poster, with the three included player characters posing heroically in front of a two-headed turtle monster.

In game, the two-headed reptile was animated using "Fynamation," mimicking old stop-motion animation, with movement being intentionally jerky and somewhat unconvincing, while player animation remained fluid (akin to monster vs. actor movement Harryhausen films).

Functionality

All controls were listed as PC mouse and keyboard inputs, however Xbox 360 controllers also worked natively (though no mention of the feature is made within the prototype).

Private invite-only multiplayer matches were possible through the Steam overlay, allowing up to four players to play together over the internet.

Gameplay Systems

Each player, regardless of class chosen, had health and stamina, though the Beerzerker character type had their stamina bar replaced with a golden steinima meter that could be charged by drinking beer. Attacking, dodging, and sprinting would deplete stamina. If a player's stamina were completely depleted, they would be forced to move at a slow walk and be unable to attack. Stamina would regenerate. Getting hit by enemy attacks would deplete health. Health would not regenerate.

Gameplay with the Beerzerker.

Each player started with three health potions at the start of the playable mission, with each potion restoring around a quarter of the player's health. Drinking potions worked much like in the Monster Hunter series, bringing the player character to a full stop while they spent time consuming their potion. In multiplayer, if a player's health was depleted, another player could revive them.

Attacks were relatively slow and consumed stamina, requiring more tactical use of simple attacks over time, rather than button-mashing or combo-heavy move sets. Enemy attacks were generally slow, telegraphed, high damage, and would stagger or knock down the player, encouraging smarter play over brute force rushing. The enemy had significantly more health than the player, which made for protracted engagements with the prototype game's single enemy.

In multiplayer, up to four individuals would work together cooperatively, with no way to harm or hinder other players.

Players

The Waracle and Stalwart, pictured here with an expendable doofus.

The game allowed players to choose one of three classes: the Stalwart, the Waracle, and the Beerserker. The prototype also featured three playable difficulties (easy, normal, and hard).

The Stalwart is a man with a large shield used for both defense and offense at short range, which included the ability to use a heavy block that could stand up to attacks that would normally knock down other characters. His attacks are extremely slow, though his ability to nullify incoming damage with properly timed use of the shield makes him a good choice to pull aggro when playing with other people.

The Waracle is a female archer that shoots full-sized weapons from her bow. Spears can be fired as a spread-shot projectile when charged. An axe can be fired, and successful hits apply damage over time. Maces can be fired to momentarily stun the monster, useful for interrupting or delaying certain attacks and movements. All ammo is unlimited. Charging the shots uses up stamina, and a harmless but visually obvious lightning strike is used to signify that a new level of charge has been achieved.

The Beerzerker is a man with two weaponized beer steins used for both consuming beer and attacking. Unlike the other classes, the Beerzerker actively increases his stamina by drinking horrifically large amounts of beer. Drinking more beer makes him stronger and faster, with his steinima meter depleting over time and as he sprints and attacks. The longer a player drinks from his beer mugs, the faster the beer meter is filled. Overdrinking causes a momentary pause as he involuntarily voided his stomach of intoxicant, leaving the player vulnerable to attack and completely depleting their stamina.

The Quest

The prototype win screen.

The encounter started at a cave on a beach with an NPC warrior being shown in a cutscene getting eaten by a giant two-headed turtle. After fighting on the beach, the monster fled to a ruined altar atop a hill when its health was depleted to 50%. The monster would then feed on the corpse of another monster to regain health until player(s) attacked it again.

Upon defeating the monster, the participating player(s) would be treated to a scene of the victorious character(s) posing with the felled beast. "THE END" would display after a moment, and the player would be returned to the main menu.

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