Hairston Cemetery Encounter Notes
For Hairston Cemetery I wanted each enemy encounter to be frightful, balanced and fun gameplay experiences. This required work to be done on everything from weapon and ammo placement to selection of enemy types.
Normally in Gears of War the player is always accompanied by at least one companion throughout the entire campaign. In Hairston Cemetery I wanted the player to be alone and isolated to further incite fear in them. This meant all of the combat players encountered had to be balanced for a player with no companions.
Gears of War uses different types of enemies, each with their own combat style, to force the player to use different combat strategies. Mixing these different enemy types together helps to prevent repetition within combat. But combining these various enemy types also requires extensive balancing.
As I playtested through each encounter I analyzed how many times I died, how difficult each fight was, if I had plenty of ammo and other various questions concerning the encounter's design. Through this process of playtesting and refinement I was able to narrow each encounter down to a challenging but winnable fight.
Balancing of the encounters also encompassed other things like cover placement, type of weapon pickups, level pathing, line of sight and enemy intelligence. (See details on Flow Notes)
Seeking to push the horror theme as much as possible, I jumped at the opportunity to use enemy encounters to stir fear in players. With the addition of being isolated and having a reduced line of sight, players are forced to be even more anxious as they face an overwhelming number of enemies. (See details on Theme/Mood Notes)
Although Wretches are a weak enemy type that is easily killed, their addition to my level was invaluable. Wretches did add a different style of combat, but their creepy screams is what brought an unnerving chill to an already frightful level.