The Brute

Welcome back to my developer diary series about Extreme Prejudice, the upcoming expansion to LEVEL 7 [OMEGA PROTOCOL].

Last time, I explained a bit about the game in general and talked about the first new enemy type: the guard. Guards are a natural fit for the game, but they were not at the top of my list for new things to add. That spot was held by something much bigger: a new kind of hybrid.

Adding a new creature to the chamber of horrors that makes up the enemies of the LEVEL 7 setting is one of the funnest parts of working on a new game. As conversations about the expansion continued, I saw a perfect place to add a new hybrid creature—and give it a bit of a twist.

The Ghin empire flourished for centuries and spanned a large section of our galaxy. The Ghin were masters of genetic manipulation, and they reengineered many of the creatures they encountered into useful servants. Dr. Cronos, the leader of the Ghin refugees on Earth, is a peerless scientist, but he has lacked access to some of his most powerful tools since he fled from the Hydra with a handful of survivors almost 100 years ago.

Cronos has been working alongside the U.S. government since the ‘50s. Cronos has made do with salvaged Ghin technology and access to cutting-edge human equipment, making functional yet unstable servitors. Having decided that our story would see Cronos running to a Russian shadow agency in Siberia, I asked myself what his facilities there would look like. Full cooperation with the Americans had given him the ability to make creatures but not at the level he would have been able to reach at the height of his empire’s power. If the creatures we had already seen were the result of that relationship, what would something look like with a hastily arranged lab and little time? This is when a slightly different concept struck me. What if Cronos wasn’t the creator of the new hybrid?

The Cold War in the history of the real world is paralleled in the LEVEL 7 setting as we try to keep things as grounded in reality as possible, even when talking about world-shattering alien invasions. If there were defections and thefts of technology during the real conflict, what would have been changing hands in seedy pubs in a divided Berlin when alien technology was up for grabs? Following that thread to its natural conclusion, it only made sense that the Russians would have been doing everything they could to win the shadow arms race involving genetic monstrosities created with alien tech.

What we ended up with is simply called the brute—a creature that is less a brother to the hybrids in the base game and more of a cousin. Russian scientists, working with limited knowledge and equipment, developed a truly horrifying creature. Where Cronos confined his work to the combination of Ghin and human DNA in hopes of finding a cure to the disease ravaging his race, the Russians took genetic strengths from whatever was available.

Looking at the monster they created, aspects of the ape stand out the most, but I like to think there is a bit of elephant in there, too. The brute looms over human-sized figures in the game, and his muscle-bound physique isn’t all that separates him from the more spindly hybrids. He is the second large-based creature in the game, taking up the same amount of spaces as the fear hunter. His more resilient nature is reflected in his defense stats, different from any other multi-wound enemy in the game. And he is the only figure that always has an impact on line-of-sight. There is a lot more to the brute, but I’ll save further teases for the future.

Next time, we’ll look at a much more cunning tool in the overseer’s arsenal.