During an interview with Gamasutra, Dead Cells developer Sébastien Bénard was asked how the team balanced the weapons in the game (in terms of costs/damages). Was the decision based on feel or a specific mathematical formula? Bénard responded by saying the team “did have a special rule for balancing weapons,” which was known internally as a “two second combat rule.”
Here is the video of the Dead Cells interview.
We decided that every [bit] of combat in the game should last no more than two seconds. It seems kind of short but actually its quite long because [a lot] can happen in two seconds. When we decided on this two second rule it helped balance every weapon. For example if you have a normal weapon, like the classic sword, it will take two seconds to kill an enemy but if you have a low risk weapon (such as the bow where you are out of the combat area) it’ll take four seconds. [On the other hand, with a close range] at risk weapon you should kill the enemy in one second.
Bénard cites Dead Cells‘ genre as the primary reason combat needed to be quick. Because Dead Cells is a rogue-lite, there is a lot of combat involved. As he said, “In one level you can kill 50-70 enemies.” If combat began to deviate from this on-average, two second rule, the game would become much longer. Since Dead Cells has permadeath, where when you die it is for good, the longer the game is, the more discouraging your deaths become. By keeping things quick, players can stay engaged.
Have you experience the fast and brutal combat of Dead Cells yet? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out our review.