There’s an abundance of excellent multiplayer games to play out there right now, but with that sort of popularity, a lack of creativity can also be a side effect in many new releases. Fortunately, it seems like that’s a problem that Hood: Outlaws and Legends is going to sidestep. With a unique medieval setting, this PvPvE heist simulator is looking to deliver something that pretty much no other game is doing right now, which means we’re obviously keeping a keen eye on it. Ahead of its imminent launch, here, we’re going to talk about a few key details that you should know about the game.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends is going to be a multiplayer-only, which means it obviously won’t be putting too much emphasis on story- but its compelling setting it still looking like a crucial element of the experience. The game takes place in a medieval world with fantasy elements. The world is a brutal and harsh one, where an oppressive regime rules over the people with an iron fist, while looking to sate its own needs and desires even at terrible costs to the people it rules over.
Your goal in Hood: Outlaws and Legends is to fight against this oppressive regime- and that manifests as heists. This right here is a PvPvE game. Two teams of four players each enter one of the game’s maps with the ultimate goal of stealing the treasure. Players have to fight through and make their way through AI-controlled enemies guarding the treasure, and you have to make sure that you do that before the other team beats you to it.
Every game in Hood: Outlaws and Legends will be structured similarly, and will be divided into three separate phases. In the first phase, you will have to locate a special enemy known as the Sheriff and steal the vault’s key from him before the opponent team. The second stage will see you breaking into the vault, where enemies have gone on high alert, and stealing the chest of treasure. At the same time, you’ll also have to be on the lookout for ambushes or attacks from the enemy team of players. Finally, the third phase will task you with making it out alive with the treasure in your possession. In this stage, not only will the Sheriff and other enemies be looking for you and trying to hunt you down, you’ll also have to make sure that the enemy team doesn’t spot you and try and steal the treasure from you.
SCALES OF JUSTICE
As evidenced by the game’s name, in Hood: Outlaws and Legends, you’re basically playing as Robin Hood characters, which means you’re not just stealing stuff for the heck of it- you’re stealing from the rich so you can give to the poor. However, exactly how well you do that (or don’t do that) will depend on you. After every successful heist, you’ll visit the Scales of Justice, where you’ll have to decide how much of your stolen riches you want to redistribute amongst the poor, and how much of it you want to keep for yourself. While the former is how you unlock more new items and gear to use in future heists, without money for yourself, you won’t be able to buy any of the stuff you unlock, which means striking the right balance is always going to be crucial.
We’ve mentioned the Sheriff a few times in this feature so far, but who exactly is he? Well, in simple terms, he’s the big bad in each heist, and a proper force to be reckoned with. The Sheriff roams the maps on randomized routes with his own retinue tagging along, and your first task in every heist is to steal the key and the location of the Vault from him. In the following two stages, the Sheriff will act as a pursuer enemy, and will constantly be on the lookout for you as he tries and hunts you down. He’s capable of taking his foes out with a single deadly blow, so running and hiding and re-entering stealth is usually the best way to deal with him- though nothing’s stopping you from taking him on head-on, of course. Even at that point, if you do manage to best him, he will only be downed temporarily, and cannot be killed- Mr. X-style.
Avoiding repetition is also key for any multiplayer focused game, and developer Sumo Digital is promising that in spite of the structured nature of each heist in Hood: Outlaws and Legends, there will be plenty of randomized elements to keep each game fresh and unique. Game director director Andrew Willans himself explains it best. Speaking in an interview with GamingBolt, he said, “Even when repeating the same map there are so many unpredictable elements: The vault key needs to be stolen from the Sheriff, he has different patrol paths which are randomly determined when the map loads. We have up to 3 treasure buildings which can house the treasure vault. The treasure vault has 5 possible spawn locations within each of these 3 buildings. We have multiple extraction points on every map (which the players can choose from). There are multiple capture point locations which can be claimed by your team for respawning, and on top of all this we have randomized AI patrols and a dynamic escalation system which will react based on player positions.”
At launch, Hood: Outlaws and Legends is going to launch with five maps. There’s Gwydion’s Rest, which is an ancient and fortified graveyard; Newton Abbas, an old town in a marshland that was flooded long ago by the State to silence dissidents and outlaws; New Barnsdale, a trading outpost fortified by the State with palisades and a garrison; Lionsdale, a prosperous citadel with an imposing castle at its heart; and Caer Merthyr, a heavily defended castle on the coastal region of a peninsula. According to game director Andrew Willans, map design in the game is also going to be varied, dense, and layered. Speaking to GamingBolt, he said, “We have small, medium and large maps, but what more important is the density of level design ingredients and routes through the environments. Players can expect to find hidden tunnels and access points which are great for avoiding detection. We have ladders, and ropes for scaling the walls as an alternative to taking the main paths. The maps were all designed with the character classes in mind, so you can expect some objective locations to be more open, while others are more shielded and enclosed.”
As you may have put together given the game’s core premise and the structure each of the heists will adopt, Hood: Outlaws and Legends is going to put quite a bit of emphasis on both stealth and combat. And with the four playable classes the game is launching with (each of whom also has quite a bit of lore attached to them), there will be several ways to go about both those approaches. The four classes in question are the Ranger, the Hunter, the Mystic, and the Brawler. In the next four points, we’re going to talk about each of them in details.
The Ranger has been believed to be dead for a long time, owing to a public execution by the State, but returns as a mysterious hooded figure. Equipped with a longbow, the Ranger is, as the name implies, perfect for long-ranged combat, sniping, and infiltration. On top of all of that, this class also comes equipped with flashbangs and explosive arrows, the ability to tag enemies for long periods of time, the ability to use arrows as a melee weapon, and more.
Formerly the heir of an influential nobleman, the Hunter has now become a shadowy hero of the people. She wears a contraption on her arm that serves as both a crossbow and an arm blade (which is a lot like the Hidden Blades in Assassin’s Creed). With her invisibility abilities and smoke grenades, she is a master of stealth, while her crossbow’s fast rate of fire and the ability to silently assassinate enemies up close also make her a deadly fighter.
Once a tool of the State, the Mystic was disillusioned by the cruel rule of the government he once served, and now wrecks battlefield with his abilities. He can use poison bombs, has the ability to quickly regenerate stamina, and is also able to heal his allies while spotting hidden enemies in the environment. He’s also a formidable attacking threat, thanks to his vampiric abilities that allow him to leech life from his enemies and restore his own health, and his flail, which he can use for an old fashioned pummeling.
A former blacksmith with a tragic past, and now a hulking warrior. The Brawler, as the class’ name implies, is your go-to tank character. He wields a sledgehammer to deal deadly blows in up-close combat, his ability allows him to enhance both his offensive and defensive capabilities, and since he’s as strong as he is, he can also move at a quick pace while carrying heavy objects- like a treasure chest, for instance. And in case none of that works, he’s also equipped with explosives.
Progression and the meta game are crucial for any multiplayer-focused game, so what’s that going to look like in Hood? We’ve already spoken about how players will be able to unlock and purchase new items and gear with stolen riches. On top of that, classes will also have several unlockable perks that players will have to unlock by leveling up and spending currency. Meanwhile, the game will also have several different cosmetics, such as costumes, weapon skins, and more.
Of course, post-launch support is also crucial for any multiplayer game (at least if it wants its player base to stick around and grow). We do know the game will have post-launch seasonal content, but beyond that, details are scarce. In an interview with GamingBolt, game director Andrew Willans said that those details will come later, but did suggest that the developers have plans for new characters, abilities, environments, and game modes. Here’s hoping Sumo Digital can maintain a good cadence of post-launch releases as far as major content updates are concerned.
PRICE AND SPECIAL EDITIONS
Perhaps one of the most alluring aspects of Hood: Outlaws and Legends is its price. The game sounds as fascinating as it does, and will be launching for only $30, which sounds like a pretty great deal right off the bat (and hopefully, post-launch support will not disappoint). Meanwhile, players can also purchase the Year 1 Edition for $50, which will include the base game itself, four each of exclusive outfits and weapon skins, battle passes for the game’s first three seasons, and three days of early access.