While all defenders in TideTurn start out equal to one another, each defender unlocks progressively more impactful abilities throughout each match. Covering the map in your team’s water, eliminating enemies, and accomplishing objectives quickly fill up your Ability Meter, ultimately adding four increasingly disruptive and game-changing abilities to your defender’s arsenal.
Said Game Designer Ian Stanion: “It’s a cool design space because we don’t need to balance things around them being guaranteed to be used every few minutes like an ultimate ability in most other games, so we have a lot more freedom to make things feel more like an awesome reward for playing great, rather than just another tool your character needs in order to function.”
In other words, every ability is powerful. Every ability has the potential to change the course of the match, making each ability more and more rewarding to unlock. Watching the Ability Meter fill up will have players anxious and excited, knowing they have the chance to disrupt their opponent’s plans with a special ability that matches their chosen playstyle.
Stanion and his team have especially enjoyed watching players come up with ways to use Hanui and Tatama’s abilities. Hanuii’s first ability is an advanced double jump. Her second unlocked ability is a burst of speed in a chosen direction. The third ability has Hanuii hurtling to the ground, dealing damage with a massive splash when she lands. The fourth and most intense ability teleports Hanui up into the sky. She can show up on the map again wherever she wants, diving towards the map while shooting and using other abilities. The landing splash deals an incredible amount of damage.
Tatama is also movement-based when it comes to her abilities. The scientist can place portals around the map she can move through in the first ability. The second ability allows Tatama to teleport in the direction she is aiming at. Enemies standing where she reappears will take damage. Tatama’s third ability allows her to enter a spectator-like mode. She can view all enemies’ locations and then appear behind her chosen target after a brief delay. The fourth ability has Tatama teleporting behind an opponent “as quickly and as many times as she wants” during the duration of the ability.
“Personally, I think it’s really cool watching people come up with ways to use Hanui and Tatama’s abilities. The game’s normal movement systems are already so advanced that the extra speed and movement those characters give themselves really provides them with a lot of surprising ways to turn their bursts of movement into even crazier ways of getting around. I think when people get good at using Manatsu’s hook shot that is going to be really fun to see as well.”
The Ability to Create Abilities //
Of course, it’s hard work putting this many dynamic abilities in the game. The Alpha only had two abilities available for each defender, giving fans a taste of what’s to come. Meanwhile, programmers, designers, artists, and animators helped work on more abilities behind the scenes while also addressing bugs, glitches, and the overall experience, from gameplay to menus.
“The team is doing great,” Stanion said. “There’s a lot of bugs and funny interactions you end up finding when you have a game with this many abilities and weapons and crazy movement, but we’re tackling them all and it’s been really incredible to see the game shape up and become more and more stable and ready for release every time we play.”
Stanion has been leading the studio’s small yet mighty and talented team on implementing all of the defender abilities. Each member of the Stanion Studios team has helped make the abilities happen, including 3D artists and game designers, helping Stanion’s vision come to fruition within TideTurn’s immersive world.
Said Stanion: “I try to approach every defender as a central theme, and then design increasingly more powerful takes on that idea. That way it feels like there’s a progression or a little story that goes along with your defender gaining abilities.”
But the abilities can’t just look cool. The abilities have to be balanced as well, another challenge for Stanion Studio’s small team.
Defenders like Manatsu are especially tough to take on, but the team is up to the task. Manatu’s mech changes how the entire game is played, making it “one of the most complicated” abilities to design. There are many things to consider when the team works on these abilities, making sure each one feels powerful while ensuring the game is still balanced.
Manatu’s first ability summons the mech, dropping it onto the map. It can slowly move around the map, using a grapple to climb buildings. Each ability amps up the mech’s capabilities. The second complete Ability meter will provide a shield to the mech. The third ability allows Manatsu to eject from the robot when its health is depleted, ensuring she stays alive afterward. The fourth ability levels up all aspects of the robot and adds a melee attack.
Working on the four abilities per defender has been hard work. But it’s very satisfying to Stanion and his team. When asked what the best part about working on the abilities was, Stanion said: “Seeing them in the game!”
Want to experience the abilities yourself? Join an upcoming playtest for TideTurn by becoming a part of our Discord community. See you at the next big battle.
Olivia “y05h1eggz” Richman //
Stanion Studios Marketing Copyeditor