John McCarroll
E3 2011: Certain Affinity Shows Crimson Alliance
A hack-and-slash for XBLA.
06.08.11 - 3:59 PM

Certain Affinity is best known for working on shooters - they're working on the multiplayer for the new Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, and have worked on Call of Duty: Black Ops, Left 4 Dead, and the downloadable strategy title Age of Booty. This year, they said they intended to take the visceral action that they know well from working on shooters and bring them to a genre they loved - the RPG.

With our hands-on time, editor Kimberley Wallace and I took control of two of the game's three classes - the mercenary and the wizard, while the third class, the Assassin, was not playable. What we got was akin to a faster-paced version of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance or Torchlight. While we didn't delve deep into the RPG elements - the statistical system was not yet in place, there will be multiple specs for each class and encounters that are tailored for specific combinations of classes. The game supports up to four simultaneous players online and is focused on shorter play sessions. Certain Affinity says that the game's not meant to be a replacement for World of Warcraft players, but something that's great fun for a group of friends on a Friday night.

What we played was quite fun, and it's clear that it was focused on the co-op elements. The gold we collected went to both players, most loot was focused on play inside the game, or it was set up for a specific class. We entered an area that required a wizard and it ended up having a loot box which contained a new set of wizard robes. There are cross-class combinations as well; Kimberley froze some of our enemies while I shield bashed them and they shattered. It's great fun, but we don't know the depth to which we'll be able to customize these things. There will be skill trees and the like, but we don't know how they'll work.

Certain Affinity made one thing clear - they're working on making Crimson Alliance a very focused title - the dungeons and encounters aren't randomized, they're put together by the developers. By doing this, they can create the same sort of missions as in a first person shooter, but for the multiplayer RPG fan. Crimson Alliance is slated for a late summer release, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves before then.