Hello PlayStation fans – I’m Jerome K. Jones, Design Director at Robot Entertainment and I’m here to tell you a bit about what’s new in Orcs Must Die 3, a third-person tower defense game launching on PS4 ( and PS5 via Backward Compatibility) on July 23. In Orcs Must Die 3, you set up traps and use weapons to defend yourself against enemies who try to break through the rifts. As you play, you receive rewards and earn skulls to purchase new traps, weapons, and trinkets, as well as upgrades to improve your arsenal.
We have created a new game mode in Orcs Must Die! 3 which we call Scramble. In it, you try to beat five levels of increasingly difficult scenarios using a rift point pool – meaning that if a group of Orcs make it into the rift in the first level, you won’t have much left. of fault points to survive later. At each level, you choose which scenario you want to play from two choices, each with a debuff that is applied. This increases the challenge and offers some interesting choices. After beating each level, you choose a buff to help you in future levels. These buffs and debuffs stack across all levels, making the later levels more difficult. If you lose all of your fault points, you have to start a new race from scratch!
Providing game modes in the Orcs Must Die franchise has always been at the center of our concerns. The Endless Mode and Weekly Challenges have attracted a large following, but we believe our new mode may pose some exciting new challenges. With Scramble mode, we believe we have achieved the goal for subsequent game content.
I thought it might be interesting to show the list of goals we had for a new mode. This list was made before even starting the design on paper.
Objectives for jamming
- Persistent content
- Encourage more loading and gaming experimentation because of the choices made
- Ranking hunters are welcome
- The time target is approximately one hour per game session
- Post-campaign mode planned
- Most players are able to OR feel (with practice) they can beat the mode
- Easily expandable
- Mode feasible in development time
Considering the list of objectives, there were elements from the previous Orcs Must Die games that we wanted to keep and simplify as they had their own merits. One of those things we wanted to review was stacking buffs and debuffs while playing the mode. The first thing you see when you enter Scramble mode is this choice between two scenarios, each with their specific debuffs. It gets pretty interesting depending on your playstyle, your favorite gear, how comfortable you are with the storyline, or if you chase the leaderboards. All of these things can influence your decisions. The choices get more interesting as the Debuffs stack up in later levels. You can re-roll one debuff per level, however, re-rolling a debuff can be tricky due to the fear that you will end up with something more threatening than what you currently have.
But back to the good news. As you beat each level, you can choose one of three buffs that stack up as you progress, which can encourage “builds” when trying to beat all five levels. The buffs are very powerful and we’ve found that what we choose is often influenced by the choices we made on previous levels. For example, choosing between “All wall traps do double damage” and “Double your health” may seem obvious, but if the debuffs from previous levels are “lose 10 rift points on death” and “Assassins gnolls added to each wave “It might be a good idea to boost HP.
It’s important to remember that you have 100 Rift Points across all five levels and your score builds up over your entire run. You can change your loadout at the start of each level so that you can take advantage of your chosen buffs or mitigate any debuffs that might get in your way based on your selections. Skulls are also awarded at the end of each level, as well as bonus skulls if you are able to beat all five levels.
We always think about the future of our games and their modes. For Scramble, there are ideas for allowing players to continuously increase the difficulty each time they conquer the mode or simply by adding more levels. We always welcome feedback from the community as we continually improve our games. But with that… let’s move on to one of our more recent trap additions.
The acid geyser
It was obvious to our design department that tar, sulfur, and soil spikes were becoming the go-to ground traps when we were playing and watching others play the game. In order to make the ground trap choices more interesting, we designed the new Acid Geyser.
The Acid Geyser provides a new type of damage (acidic) that causes the death of Orcs in completely new ways. This trap’s placement footprint is a trap space, but the area of effect is larger than the footprint itself. The “melt” status effect applies to enemies hit by acid, increasing physical damage taken while the status effect is activated. This makes the Acid Geyser ideal for combos. Upgrades include reduced trigger cooling as well as unique upgrades that increase the duration of acid sprays or the duration of the melt effect.
Considering our load slot limit of 10, the Acid Geyser further diversifies the choices when equipping your ground traps. But don’t let the load limit put you off, there is no right way to kill an orc, the only important thing is that the orcs must die! We hope to see you and your friends in-game on July 23.