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Arkane explains the method behind the maniacal madness of Deathloop's iconic kick

"[After realizing parrying was a non-starter] we said hey, fuck defense, let's replace it with a boot kick in the gut."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

September 16, 2021

2 Min Read

There are plenty of reasons to adore Deathloop, the new time-bending shooter from Arkane Studios, and one of them is an absolute belter of a kick that lets players punt enemies into the aether using a colossal boot.

Have a quick glance at Twitter and it's clear the Deathloop kick has become all things to all players -- a perfect morsel of video game nirvana that sparks universal joy. Whether you're doing the kicking, or watching someone else belt unsuspecting boot fodder across the horizon, there's something undoubtedly euphoric about the singular slice of game design.

Although the feature has quickly emerged as a fan favorite, Arkane Studios Lyon game director Dinga Bakaba has revealed it's only in the game because the studio was struggling to solve another design issue.

"When we made the first player versus player prototype, we had a parry [mechanic] like in Dishonored. But the host player had too many frame advantages compared to the invader due to network latency," said Bakaba. "Timing for a successful parry was too different when playing in either role and vs NPCs."

After mulling it over with Arkane designers Jonathan Foudral and Jerome Braune, it became clear the Dishonored parry would never work in Deathloop, largely because a simple back-and-forth exchange of attack meets block would become stale, but also because it would be useless against ranged NPCs. The solution? To implement a new mechanic that would allow players to go on the offensive.

"[After realizing parrying was a non-starter] we said hey, fuck defense, let's replace it with a boot kick in the gut that will interrupt a machete attack. It can also shove firearms wielding enemies when out of ammo, and it's not as timing reliant," continues Bakaba.

"The stun chain of kicks wasn't fun, so we added the rule that if you kick a stunned enemy it throws them. Shots from a big gun also stun and open [enemies up] for a throw. And then, it was two years of Jerome tweaking it to perfection (meaning: making it more potent every day)."

If you're keen for more Deathloop tidbits, you can learn how composer Tom Salta used music to capture the title's retro-future essence, or hear how Arkane worked to make the game's unique districts more open-ended than ever.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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