But as any Soulslike fan will tell you, there’s more to multiplayer than basic functionality. The real fun comes from that special something you get at scale: when communities form, languages develop, and dueling players go from mechanical to purely magical.
Shane and I are obviously long-time fans of Soulslike, and we knew that particular kind of magic: the hasty alliances with strangers, the weird emotes, the dedication to fashion over function, the new weapon combos and strategies resulting from hours of investment in different Build paths: it was not something that we were likely to find in the middle of development. Even with hundreds of hours of internal testing, we were only playing with the same handful of people each time. So this network test, while also a fantastic source of information on balance, flow, matchmaking, and glitches, was also the first time we were able to legitimately engage in online antics with random people. In other words: finally experience that Soulslike magic we’ve been developing since we started working on the game.
And the experience we did.
After spending these precious few weeks leading up to release toggling between full (mostly) co-op games of the final code, tweaking move sets, drop rates, damage scaling, and the like, we can’t wait to experience this with more people. . Salt and Sacrifice builds on the combat style of Salt and Sanctuary, with a wide variety of attacks, move sets, and aerial combos, but now includes dashes, dash attacks, and rune arts – special abilities tied to specific weapons. If I have some breathing room in a boss battle, I could launch a few slow-moving barrages of dancing spores from my Damp-Rot Stave, then switch to my Blazebrand-style katana, infuse it to deal flame damage over time, and charge up. . into battle. There’s a certain magic in seeing different playstyles and loadouts complement each other, where aerial combos, area of effect attacks, guard-breaking heavy melee, and dagger dashes all work together to break through the enemy hordes.
Multiplayer in Salt and Sacrifice includes PvP, and when we announced that, one of the main concerns from players was that the Dominated Afflicted would ruin their experience. As fans of Soulslike, this is something we relate to a lot. We’ve seen countless exchanges online about the invasion mechanic, with one side insisting it’s part of the game and the other arguing that it’s just not much fun being trampled by someone with thousands of hours of experience and a deliberately mastered PvP build.
Invasions were deliberately more frequent in our network test (because, you know, they were being tested!), but in Salt and Sacrifice, we’re following the standard set in Dark Souls 3: you can only be invaded if you’ve already summoned a friendly ally. We’ve also included a full co-op mode, where you can progress together with a friend throughout the game (minus the tutorial). This co-op mode is also exempt from random invasions, unless the two of you summon a third ally.
But hey, if you feel like dueling, you can get rid of all these invasion requirements by lighting a special item called a red candle; its ominous glow indicates that you don’t mind being invaded, and it can be by anyone, at any time. The platforming nature of the game, coupled with dynamic and varied combat, means that certain weapon combos and runic attacks may be better suited to different types of terrain, and chasing each other through falling hazards and traps is a contest. in itself; you might be outmatched, but if you jump off the wall of a mine shaft, things might not go so well for anyone following you. Makeshift fight clubs can spring up in all sorts of interesting places around the world, and we’re excited to see players take advantage of the wide variety of landscapes in their PvP experience.
Shane and I have been filling the world of Salt and Sacrifice with all kinds of fun stuff for the last two years. From our sprawling game map, to the unique enemies that populate it, to the weapons and armor you’ll loot and craft to defeat them, there’s been a lot of work to do to get to this point. But it wasn’t until we got to experience it with you, the community, that we finally glimpsed the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
We’re excited to meet you all in-game, whether as fellow Inquisitors or on the battlefield, when it launches tomorrow!