Get an Exclusive Look at Dark Alliance’s Gnarliest Monster
The latest trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance, which you can get an excluisve look at above, gives us a better look at how developer Tuque Games is adapting one of D&D’s most famous monsters: the Beholder.
“The Beholder is one of the most iconic D&D creatures, so it was an incredible opportunity to bring it to life for Dark Alliance” says Kevin Neibert, Lead Game Designer at Tuque Games. “We looked to the Monster Manual for inspiration, and then gave it our own creative twist. Enter Hagedorn, the Dreamer, and his distinctive chitinous shell.”
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The look is definitely a different take on the design most players are familiar with (you can see a comparison between Dark Alliance’s Hagedorn and the latest tabletop design below), and is a long way from the original design from 1975 – but Hagedorn isn’t just a visually unique monster, either.
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“In the [tabletop] D&D lore, each eye stalk has its own magic ability,” Neibert explains, “but due to technical limitations, giving each eye stalk an independent animation and effect was well out of scope. As a result, we decided to select the most interesting effects from a gameplay perspective, and use the central eye as the conduit for all of Hagedorn’s abilities.”
The tabletop Beholder’s eye rays have a variety of powers – from paralyzing enemies to what’s basically an insta-kill death beam – and from the trailer above it seems like we’ll see a strong variety of these powers brought to bear in Dark Alliance. We also get a good look at the creature’s lair, and while we may not see the truly wild lair actions (like a massive cosmic eye opening on a random wall to shoot lasers at players), the team is aiming to keep the feel of classic boss fights from both tabletop and video games.
“The arena is made up of a central platform and outer ring,” says Neibert. “As the boss fight progresses, Hagedorn becomes increasingly enraged, and begins to lose control … causing chunks of the outer ring to disintegrate. This puts more pressure on the player, as they have less space to maneuver, and increases the overall intensity of the fight.”
I enjoyed what I played of Dark Alliance when I got to go hands-on with it a few weeks ago, and I’m curious to see how Tuque puts their unique stamp on other classic D&D monsters as well. For Neibert, while he’s clearly passionate about all of Dark Alliance’s 30+ monsters, he can’t help but play favorites.
“I think Hagedorn is the most interesting boss in Dark Alliance, and I’m really proud of the talented team of character artists, programmers, animators, VFX artists, and sound designers, who helped bring the Dreamer to life.”
JR is a Senior Editor at IGN and is 100% going to try and kitbash a mini of Tuque’s extra-creepy segmented beholder. If it works, he’ll probably post about it on Twitter.