Playtesting Knight to E7

For awhile the main concept of the title I was working on, Knight to E7, was thus; you, as a lone knight on neither the black or white sides, would go across a randomly generated board, hacking and slashing your way through a maze full of enemies Gauntlet style. You could attack both white and black pieces, and would gain benefits against a color by attacking it more, effectively making the other color your allies. There were special bonuses for attacking whatever color was your ally, giving an incentive to attack both colors instead of focusing on just one.

We asked a group of players (students at DigiPen) to test this concept.

WHAT THEY LIKED

Players enjoyed the Chess theme. It was more cohesive than the random shapes we’d had previously and added a lot of preconcepted depth to our enemies and world in the players’ minds.

Players really liked the ability to effectively pick a side, gaining bonuses against the opposing faction. It gave them motivation to help out allied pieces and attack enemies as they moved through the maze instead of just sneaking around. THey liked that the more you attacked your enemies, the better you got against them.

WHAT THEY DIDN’T LIKE

Players didn’t like the fact that you had to attack your allies to heal. One playtester went so far as to die on purpose when she found out that that was something you had to do to survive. She and two of the other 7 playtesters turned the demo into a survival mode competition; ‘how long can I survive before I die?’

While we implemented the chess theme for ease of model production and animation reasons, players came to the table with a lot of preconceptions about what the game would be about given the chess theme and were somewhat confused when these didn’t follow through.

WHAT THEY SUGGESTED

It was suggested that we incorporate the option to stick with a color and not have to switch and turn on your allies.

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