Building a campaign for trouble, and making it double!

G’day folks!

Those of who you follow this blog probably know me as “that guy who sometimes posts music spotlights”. For those not in the know, I’m the Wargroove team’s sound designer and lead level designer, responsible for creating the missions that made up the original campaign. I’m telling you this is because today, I’d like to talk about our process in developing the Wargroove: Double Trouble campaign and how we ended up where we are.

Felheim Heist

When we were first discussing what form we’d like our downloadable content to take, it quickly became clear that a lot of us were interested in expanding on the Outlaw faction. After all, they show up a bunch in the original campaign, were pretty tough despite the lack of leadership, and managed to be quite charming even while performing heinous acts. Developing them further just made sense to us.

Our art team spent a considerable amount of time creating and pitching character concepts for these new Outlaw Commanders. We looked at which ones we liked most, figured out what their social dynamics with one another would be, what kind of abilities they might use, and so on.

Eventually, the idea was posed of having a campaign where you play as the Outlaws as they rob the kingdoms of Aurania in grand heists. This idea sparked a lot of excitement among the team! Given that one of the most requested features at the time was for more co-op functionality and content; taking that heist campaign concept and designing it for co-op play seemed like a great fit.

Initially I felt pretty confident with a lot of ideas that I wanted to try in order to tie into the heist theme; especially since we’d conceptualised our new thief and rifleman units, which seemed ripe for setting up stealthy scenarios. As an example, I was imagining a mission where one player was responsible for using riflemen to provide sightlines on guards in the fog of war, while the other player had to use thieves to slip around them and steal enough money for the pair of players to start recruiting more powerful units to fight them directly. Unfortunately in practice these ideas had a number of problems.

First, our systems were not designed to accommodate this concept of avoiding enemy sightlines; I didn’t really have a good way of communicating to the player where it was safe to move, or where best to position units for optimal sightlines without giving the player the solution outright. Then there was the issue of the sheer amount of turns spent sneaking around, slowing down the overall pace of an already fairly slow game. Most crucially, the missions I’d been trying to develop were just not proving all that fun to play. As much as I wanted to make the thief unit a driving force of the campaign, in practice it simply wasn’t the right direction and it wasn’t playing to our game’s strengths.
Busting into HeavensongI had also learnt very quickly that designing for co-op posed many of its own challenges. We wanted the players to feel a sense of collaboration, occasionally having to rely on one another to get through a situation. Initially I’d been having the Commanders starting together in one place, usually recruiting from the same general areas of the map, but this more often than not resulted in the players just grouping up and focusing on one objective at a time, which ran counter to the goal of the players working toward their own objectives in order to beat the mission.

So I went back to the drawing board and got help from the rest of the team to brainstorm some new ideas that could still tap into the spirit of a heist, without relying on the elements of stealth commonly associated with it. We managed to come up with a bunch that would mix up the roles that each player served, with an emphasis on interesting combat scenarios that were preventing players from getting to the treasure, and then having to escape after they’d snatched it. It didn’t take long before these new designs started to bear fruit.

Interestingly, in scenarios where the players’ units were limited, we found that people were enjoying these missions much more when each isolated group had a mixture of units belonging to both players, so they had to plan around each other’s optimal moves. For instance; one player could position a Spearman to let their ally take advantage of the Spearman critical hit condition. Similarly, giving each commander’s party a Mage belonging to their ally meant healing that group became the ally’s responsibility, so they could play a crucial role in each other’s survival at clutch moments. Little things like this went a long way to encouraging active communication and collaboration between the players.

All in all, I’m really happy with how this campaign has come together! Each mission has a variety of distinct objectives, fun events and interactions, and I think we’ve succeeded in building a challenging set of missions that reward player collaboration. The Double Trouble campaign is ten missions long, roughly one third the length of the original story campaign, but I feel like the lessons I learned from that first effort have allowed me to make this co-op campaign one of my most polished efforts. The talented artists and writer who came together to craft the story driving it have done an incredible job and I can’t wait for you guys to experience the whole thing for yourselves.

Prison Break

As a final aside, some of our community have been wondering how this co-op campaign is playable on your own, and I thought it would be good to clarify. If you play Double Trouble on your own, you simply play out both Commanders turns yourself. It can take a little getting used to, but it’s just as playable and still feels distinctly different from playing the single player campaign. As it turned out, being able to play this campaign alone at all is one of the unique benefits of Wargroove being a turn-based game. We still recommend playing it with a friend if you can, but you won’t be getting an inferior version of the campaign if you don’t.

I hope you guys found this stuff interesting! It was a lot of fun to work on and I’ll be very interested to see what everybody thinks of the campaign when Wargroove: Double Trouble finally launches on February 6th!

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Music Spotlight – The Tavern

G’day folks!

So for this, the final music spotlight for the Wargroove: Double Trouble soundtrack, it felt fitting to close it out with something fun. People who’ve watched the trailer or gotten themselves a copy of the Wargroove Deluxe Edition have already had a chance to take a look at Double Trouble’s campaign map. In a repurposed old tavern that’s likely the closest thing to a home that the nomadic Outlaws have, Wulfar uses such a map to plan their heists across all of Aurania. Remarkably, he’s able to do this in spite of all the music and revelry his clan often fill the space with.

It was great to get to work with Phonetic Hero again so soon after completing Wargroove! He met every challenge we threw his way, and came through for us with five great new tracks that we think complement the original soundtrack really well. If you’ve enjoyed hearing his music while playing our game, or while checking out the YouTube playlist, please do show the man some love! The original Wargroove soundtrack is available on all the major streaming platforms and we plan to make all of these Double Trouble tracks available for purchase shortly after launch.

The release day isn’t far off now and I can’t wait for everyone to get their hands on it!

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Wargroove: Double Trouble Arrives February 6th!

Happy New Year!

Let’s start 2020 off with a bang – our *free* DLC Wargroove: Double Trouble will be ransacking digital stores on February 6th on PC, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One! The PS4 version will be on the way, date to be revealed soon.

Just like the main release, it will be playable in 11 languages and you can wishlist it right now on Steam.

Take a look below at our brand new Wargroove: Double Trouble trailer created by our super talented Technical Designer Armagon.

Development on Wargroove: Double Trouble actually started before the release of the base game. Work kicked off in the period between the end of Wargroove’s core development and the game’s release when Wargroove was going through localization, testing, and platform submissions. We knew that we wanted to expand upon Wargroove’s story and create some new characters, but a real focal point for us was the local co-op gameplay element. As a studio we always really enjoyed playing Wargroove together, so creating a shorter campaign that could be played couch co-op felt like a no-brainer.

Another element set from the beginning was the idea of a 2-in-1 Commander, which we felt was not only unique but also fit the theme really well. Here’s a concept animation sheet showing how we looked at the ways the twins’ actions would work together. It’s pretty cool to see a breakdown of how Errol’s amulet also comes into play, igniting dynamite for Orla’s slingshot attack and generating a protective shield when defending!

Can’t remember what else is in the DLC? Here’s a quick recap!

  • Brand new Co-Op Story Campaign (can be played couch co-op, online co-op or even solo)
  • 3 New Roguish Commanders, each with unique Grooves – Wulfar, Errol & Orla and Vesper
  • 2 New Units – Thieves & Riflemen!
  • New Arcade missions
  • Competitive online Quick Play maps
  • Public and Private Multiplayer Lobbies
  • New Volcano map theme and more updates to the custom Editor tools
  • Outlaw music tracks, composed by Phonetic Hero
  • And more!

Before we go, we’ll leave you with some awesome concept art of Wulfar and ideas for the Thief unit design.

Until next time!

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Music Spotlight – Flashy Fumomancer

Hello, hello!

So in this music spotlight I’m bringing a track with quite a bit more pomp and flair than usual. These are rather fitting qualities, as today’s theme belongs to the flamboyant wielder of smoke magic, Vesper, whom we introduced shortly after EGX. As the primary antagonist of Wargroove: Double Trouble, she certainly brings theatrics to the proceedings, so we really wanted her song to match up to her spirit. Leave it to Phonetic Hero to fulfil that desire handily; for many on the Wargroove team, this track is a favourite!

You’ve probably noticed that there’s no whiff of that Celtic vibe that the last couple of themes had. While Vesper herself is an Outlaw, her origins and motivations are quite different to the other Outlaw Commanders, so it made sense for her style to differ from that of Wulfar and his children.

If you’re keen to hear more of Phonetic Hero’s work, you can listen to the original Wargroove soundtrack on our YouTube channel, and it’s available for purchase on all the major streaming platforms if you want to show the man some love!

At this point there’s only one track from the Double Trouble soundtrack left to reveal! It’s something more bouncy, lighthearted and playful, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all soon!

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Music Spotlight – Impish Urchins

Hi there! It’s so nice to see you!

It’s that time again, where I show up and hit you with another great Wargroove: Double Trouble track from the talented Phonetic Hero. Following on from the last music spotlight where I unveiled Wulfar’s theme, today I’m delighted to bring you a bouncier, more whimsical track belonging to the Outlaw Commander duo, Errol and Orla. These impish urchins may only be ten years old, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to their cunning in battle; they’ll shoot you down quick if you don’t watch out!

If you want to hear more of Phonetic Hero’s fantastic tracks, you can stream the original Wargroove soundtrack on all the major platforms, or on our YouTube channel if that’s more your speed!

There’s one more Commander track to go, and it’s a bit of a showstopper, much like the Commander it belongs to. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you next time!

Excitingly we’re also up for Strategy Game of the Year in tonight’s Game Awards! If you’ve not done so already and have enjoyed your time smiting foes and conquering your enemies in Wargroove, feel free to give us your vote – we’d love your support.

Until next time!

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Music Spotlight – Towering Chieftain

G’day folks, hope your day’s treating you well!

From the get-go the desire for the Wargroove soundtrack was that each Commander would have a distinct track that would convey something about them, while still fitting the tone of the faction they represent. This is no small feat for a single composer, but it’s one that Phonetic Hero achieved with aplomb.

When it came to discussing what kind of vibes we wanted for the Outlaw Commanders in Wargroove: Double Trouble, we ultimately came to the conclusion that we wanted the tracks to have a distinctly Celtic flavour. This was a style that Phonetic Hero had very little experience with, and I must confess I wondered if we were being a little unreasonable in pushing for this direction; but after a bit of back and forth between him and the Wargroove team, eventually it all just clicked into place. Not only did he successfully deliver on those Celtic vibes that we desired, but he did it to an exceptionally high standard!

Today I’m pleased to bring you “Towering Chieftain”, the theme of the mighty Wulfar.

The versatility Phonetic Hero displays in his work is truly admirable, and I’m personally pretty stoked to be sharing more of his work with everyone! You can still listen to the original soundtrack on our YouTube channel, and if you want to show him your support, it’s available for purchase on all major streaming platforms.

There’s still more Double Trouble tracks to come, so be sure to check back soon!

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Happy #InternationalVesperDay!

Hi! It’s me, Abi – lead writer and pixel artist on Wargroove.

And I’m here to wish you a very happy #InternationalVesperDay! Unanimously voted ‘world’s best holiday’.

While we’re all waiting patiently for more Double Trouble release news I thought I’d give you a little more insight into everyone’s favourite malefactor – the outlaw’s outlaw (by which I mean the Outlaws outlawed her), it’s Vesper!

This bitter and hateful villain is the main antagonist in our brand new co-op story campaign. While Vesper (unlike Sigrid before her) falls short of regicide, she does go in for a little bit of light kidnapping and some advanced level extortion. Her machinations lead the bereft Wulfar, Errol and Orla with a hefty ransom to pay, leading to their daring heists upon the Imperial Palace of Heavensong, The Stone Mountain Fort of Felheim, The Celandine Vault of Cherrystone and the Floran’s Iron Root reserves… That’s all the gold in Aurania!
Anyway, Vesper really wouldn’t approve of me talking about anyone else but her, so lets get back to our ‘leading lady’. Vesper was developed after the other Double Trouble characters had been established, so we knew exactly what gap she needed to fill. As Wulfar’s foil Vesper had to be decidedly dramatic and theatrical, the better to counter the grounded chieftain’s reasonable personality.

Throughout the visual concept stage we looked at circus ring masters and joker card style clowns as inspiration. Likewise, when it came to voice casting, we searched for something striking. After exploring a few options, we settled gleefully on a Cruella De Vil-esque voice (because if dalmation desecration isn’t arch-villain territory I don’t know what is).

Vesper’s signature weapon followed pretty naturally from her early visual development. Where there are ringmasters there are whips! We felt this suited Vesper down to the ground because, ultimately, there aren’t a lot of weapons that are more theatrical than a big ol’ whip.

A simple, straightforward whip wasn’t going to cut it, however. Vesper’s melee capabilities are greatly enhanced by her status as a Fumomancer. Fumomancy is a marshall magical art that allows the user to wield smoke as a weapon. It’s an obscure speciality, and notoriously difficult to master, so there are precious few practitioners. Vesper learned it from her mother, who learned it from her mother, who learned it from… Well, you get the picture.

Fumomancy was a big influence when it came to choosing a name for Vesper. Because of this special kind of magic we based our search around the themes of smoke and darkness. Not only does the name Vesper mean ‘evening’ (so evoking the gathering of darkness), but it also has a smokey assonance that we felt really suited the character.

So… 

That’s Vesper! In a nutshell.

We hope you like her! Or, at least, like hating her…

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Music Spotlight – The Plan

G’day folks, it’s been a while!

When we set about starting work on Wargroove: Double Trouble, we realised new Commanders would be a must, and new Commanders would need new music. Bringing Phonetic Hero back into the fold was the obvious decision; especially since he had done such an excellent job on the original soundtrack.

As the Double Trouble campaign centers on the Outlaws and performing heists, Phonetic Hero initially sought to tap into a similar energy to that of the Outlaw’s original track, “Cheeky Ruckus“. Eventually we steered the commanders’ tracks in a slightly different direction, but we thought this first effort was too good to not use, so now it serves as something of a main theme for Double Trouble, featuring during the planning phase of every mission in the campaign. It is my pleasure to present the finished track, “The Plan”, right here!

This song, and all the others we’re adding with Double Trouble will be available for purchase shortly after the DLC launches. Phonetic Hero has continued to bring us really varied and high quality tracks, so I’m looking forward to sharing more of them with you guys soon! In the meantime you could always listen to the full original soundtrack over on our YouTube channel, or it’s also available for purchase so you can listen to it whenever you like!

Until next time!

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Double Trouble Role Call!

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re all suitably excited for the upcoming *free* DLC, Wargroove: Double Trouble! We’re getting closer to the stage of being able to announce a release date, but in the meanwhile let’s get you better acquainted with the voice talent behind Double Trouble’s new Commanders. You’ll soon be hearing their fantastic taunts and warcries on the battleground. If you want a reminder of the original Wargroove voice cast, you can find out more in our previous Role Call blog.

Adrian Vaughan as Wulfar
Adrian has lent his voice to a rag-tag collection of characters in video games such as Crawl, Armello, Paradigm, Budget Cuts 1 & 2, and the upcoming adventure titles Harold Halibut and The Drifter. He’s also appeared in a handful of award-winning competition titles he’s quietly proud of, plus some radio/TV commercials. When he’s not doing his best to be all kinds of sinister or gruff, Adrian spends his time writing bios in the third person – ’cause nobody else will.
Website – Twitter – YouTube

You can find out more about Wulfar in this Character Spotlight.

Eileen Montgomery as Errol
Eileen “EileMonty” Montgomery is a voice actress, singer and YouTube entertainer from the UK. Some of her most well-known roles include Mustache Girl & Queen Vanessa in A Hat In Time, Winter in Regalia: Of Men And Monarchs, Nikki in Sprint Vector, Lady Tethys in Dust: An Elysian Tail, Lady Shera in Love Esquire, Boo Qi & Black Widow in Hauntsters and Nereid, Potion Merchant & Additional Voices in Apotheon.
IMDB – TwitterYouTube

You can find out more about Errol in this Character Spotlight.

Vivien Taylor as Orla
Vivien Taylor is a Scottish voice, screen and theatre actress based in the UK. Orla is Vivien’s first video game credit but she has voiced many female characters in CBBC’s BAFTA- winning television animation series, OOglies Funsize. She has also appeared in movies such as Outpost: Black Sun and Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz, as well as acting and voicing commercials. Vivien has narrated audiobooks, playing Lavinia Whateley in the world’s first audio movie, HP Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror, which was awarded ‘Best of the Fest’ at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Website – Twitter – IMDB

You can find out more about Orla in this Character Spotlight.

Jessica Straus as Vesper
Jessica Straus enjoys a diverse career in voice-over and is honored to be on over 100+ games.  Although she has fans for many of her gaming roles, she is currently best known as Juri Han in the Street Fighter series, Amazon/Cassia in Heroes of the Storm & Diablo II (along with many other Blizzard roles), Dr. Hypatia in Dishonored 2, and many Japanese RPGs including Pi in .hack//GU, to name a few.
Website – Twitter – Instagram

You can find out more about Vesper in this Character Spotlight.

That’s it for now. Don’t forget that Wargroove’s Deluxe Edition physical copy is now available to order online or pick up in good ol’ brick and mortar stores for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. You can also follow updates about Wargroove: Double Trouble and Wargroove in general on Twitter, Facebook, our forums, the Wargroove subreddit, and the wiki!

See ya!

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Holy Smokes!

Hey everyone, we’re back!

We had an amazing week at EGX showing off Wargroove: Double Trouble to the public for the very first time. Along the way we gathered some feedback, got to meet some amazing members of our community and genuinely had a brilliant experience sharing what’s in store for the DLC.

We’re also incredibly excited that PS4 and Switch versions of the Wargroove Deluxe Edition physical copies will be hitting stores globally tomorrow, so make sure to check out retailers such as Amazon, GAME, GameStop, JB Hi Fi, Micromania, ShopTo, fnac, MediaMarkt, Argos and more!

The Deluxe Edition includes a load of free goodies, such as a downloadable version of the Wargroove soundtrack by Phonetic Hero and Boss Battle Records, a Commander sprite sticker sheet, a poster map of Aurania (Outlaw version!), a mini strategy manual with stats and tips on all units (available in English, French, Italian, German & Spanish) as well as a reversible coversheet!

This will be our very first in-house game to get physical release and wouldn’t have happened without the amazing support we received for the game’s digital launch, so thank you from all the team here for getting us to this amazing milestone.

But enough about that – let’s get into the Commander Spotlight!

As you may have seen earlier this month, we revealed more info on what’s coming with the free Double Trouble DLC, including the new Outlaw Commander, Vesper!

Sly, deceitful and abrasive, Vesper certainly makes an impression – this notorious criminal is capable of conjuring a demonic smoke beast with just a whip and a flourish. A real bête noire, n’est-ce pas?

Vesper is the main antagonist in our brand new co-op story campaign. Fresh from kidnapping someone close to Wulfar and the twins, Vesper demands a hefty ransom for their return. Wulfar, Errol and Orla must raid the Imperial Palace of Heavensong, The Stone Mountain Fort of Felheim, The Celandine Vault of Cherrystone and the Floran’s Iron Root reserves… It’s a heist, for all the gold in Aurania!

Vesper’s groove ‘Smoke Shroud’ sees her shrouding an area of the map in thick, magical smoke. Units within this area cannot be targeted or counter-attacked for one turn. 

Vesper’s Smoke Shroud has a slow charge speed, but is immensely powerful if placed correctly. When using it in the thick of battle, players should seek to gain an additional first attack advantage.

That’s all we have to share for now, we will be streaming a first look at Double Trouble’s map editor on Wednesday via the ChucklefishLive Twitch channel, so make sure to follow us there for a notification when we go live. You can also follow updates about Wargroove: Double Trouble and Wargroove in general on Twitter, our forums, the Wargroove subreddit, and the wiki!

Until next time!

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