So far, we’ve covered how Spartacus, Anne Bonny and Thorgrim were designed for Breakaway. All of these warriors have roots in mythology and legend. This week, we’re going to look at a warrior from a more modern time period. Combat Designer Fred Corchero is going to walk us through the process of creating Rawlins, the justice-seeking US Marshal, in Breakaway. Take it away, Fred!

True Grit

Hey, everyone! I’m Fred Corchero, a Combat Designer with the Breakaway team. I’m one of the guys that comes up with ideas and carries it through to implementation, where I then get to script out in-game variables, do a lot of tweaking and iteration, and really just play the game a ton until we carve the warrior down to its true identity.

With Rawlins, the one-pager was straight forward: create a ranged character with a western motif. I went into the design of the warrior without much direction, which was great because we could really stretch what it meant to be a ranged warrior in Breakaway. We decided to try out a new type of shooter for the game, a ranged character that had rapid fire. Anne Bonny is the single shot, sniper warrior, and this new warrior was going to be mobile so they could shoot repeatedly.

Initially that was scary because you take a shooter archetype and combine it with high mobility, the balance could potentially be a nightmare. A lot of those concerns were solved through adjusting the range of Rawlins’ primary attack. He is a ranged character because his damage reaches just out of what is a typical range for melee warriors. So distance wise, you kind of have to get close to your enemies as Rawlins.

So I started to run with what I had on Rawlins. We started to stew on what his Buildables should be, we started to think about what sort of abilities this warrior would have. I took a previous character we had in a build, called them “Rawlins” and started to shift attributes around in the build until it started to feel right.

Run ‘N Gun

One of the design goals behind creating a mobile shooter was to give players a warrior that could deal with tanks. Generally, tanks don’t deal a high amount of damage, but they can definitely harass your team quite a bit. With Rawlins, we allow you to slide and shoot your primary attack at the same time. And when I say slide, I mean you can move and shoot in any direction. With that, you’re able to slide away from melee tanks pretty easily, and you can turn the tables and start harassing them. When Rawlins gets caught by a warrior like Spartacus, he’s in trouble.

Another design goal was to create a shooter warrior for players who are more familiar with run-and-gun games. Not everyone who wants to play a shooter warrior is going to want to play as a sniper, so crafting a warrior who has mobility and can still shoot was a huge thing for us.

Balancing Rawlins was difficult because of his mobility and the damage he can dish out. Simply put, a lot of it came down to figuring out how far can move while shooting. And then you take into consideration the math behind the damage he deals and the potential equipment players use during the game.

It really came down to just playing the game. Getting into games and shooting each other, finding out where he’s overpowered, where he’s underpowered, which warriors he’ll naturally do well against or poor against. All this information forms a diagram of how he fits into the world we’re creating, so holistically we can adjust the different elements and variables that make his warrior unique.

Another thing we did to balance Rawlins is that his primary attack doesn’t cause a reaction. So a warrior charging against you will continue to charge you even though you’re shooting them. His Power Shot ability will put enemies into a reaction, which will also knock opponents off the edge if they’re close enough.

Who’s the Best?

When we first saw the concept of the character, we had this lawman with two pronounced pistols. And so with the idea of creating a run-and-gun warrior, we wanted to create moves that complemented that. Rawlins’ ultimate ability, the Barrage, is the epitome of “what do you do with two guns?” Welp, you just start shootin’. A constant, seemingly unending burst of bullets. When it happens, it’s a huge threat in the arena.

There are some really good Rawlins players here in the studio. We haven’t been able to determine who the best is, mostly because we like to be scientific and we haven’t had an all Rawlins match to determine who the best really is. In a one-on-one scenario, however, Rawlins is an even match with himself. It comes down to player skill. But, if you put Rawlins against a Black Knight or Thorgrim, Rawlins can chew them up. Sure, it takes a bit to whittle down their armor at the start of the match, but if you’re buying equipment that improves your armor penetration, you become a tank killer. That’s probably the most valuable thing that Rawlins can be for your team, because tanks rarely go down and they are such a nuisance in the arena.

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