The Warden

So far we have looked at the Russian Soldier, and the Brute from the upcoming expansion, LEVEL 7 [OMEGA PROTOCOL]: Extreme Prejudice. This installment of the developer diary series focuses on the third new enemy type introduced in the expansion.

Like I’ve mentioned before, imagining what else exists within the setting is one of my favorite parts of making an expansion for a game. How this process starts is often unique. The guards we talked about in the first diary were something that had to exist, so their creation was a straightforward process of figuring out how they worked. The brute from the last diary was something that came about completely from scratch, from his story elements to his rules. The Ghin warden, however, has a noteworthy origin story.

Everything that exists in the setting started with LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE]. In that game, we jump into the story just as the relationship between the U.S. government and the Ghin refugees has been pushed to its breaking point. As the story progresses, we see that relationship fracture and implode. The game also presents a very guarded Dr. Cronos, who has kept many secrets. During Omega Protocol, we see many of these military secrets in the form of weaponized servitors Cronos never shared with his human allies. As we were exploring the militarization of the Ghin during development, we talked about Cronos himself. We briefly considered decking out the Ghin leader in a suit of high-tech armor and giving him a gun, and we even went so far as to concept what that would look like. But in the end, we decided Cronos was above getting his hands dirty and chose to portray him in his alien lab coat. We had a great piece of art and expansion plans, so we decided to commission a sculpt of the armored Ghin, along with the rest of the enemies, and save him for the future.

All of that backstory means the Ghin warden is the oldest component of the expansion, but I didn’t know exactly what to do with him when work started on the project. Eventually, we decided that if Cronos were establishing a new base with limited support from another government while under threat of constant attack, he would bring more of his people out of stasis. In the core game, the commandos were surprised by the sudden appearance of Ghin handlers. So, at this point in the story, Ghin trained and armed for war would be less of a surprise and create a natural escalation in the conflict.
When designing the rules for the warden, I focused on flexibility. These Ghin are veterans of the war against the Hydra, who attack our world in LEVEL 7 [INVASION]. The Ghin lost their war and fled their empire 100 years ago, but that didn’t make their warriors pushovers. I established the warden’s threat by giving it formidable weapons: both a melee claw and a ranged pistol. This gives the overseer the option of attacking a commando’s weaker defense stat. Then, I gave the overseer the option of rolling more dice by spending more adrenaline when a warden attacks. This makes them much more accurate than most enemies. To push the danger to the limit, I created an ability that would give this enemy a chance to do more than one damage to a commando with a single attack roll. All of that makes the warden a frightening opponent, but it still needed something else. A powerful defensive ability was missing. Once that ability was created, the warden was ready for action. To get the most out of him, the overseer must spend adrenaline, but it’s well worth the cost.

That wraps up our exploration of new enemy figures in the game, but there is one more new enemy element in LEVEL 7 [OMEGA PROTOCOL]: Extreme Prejudice. Along with the stat cards that represent the three new enemy types, there are six more stat cards. These cards offer alternate versions of the existing enemies from the core game. Each alternate card can be chosen instead of the original version when the overseer sets up the reserves. These cards modify stats and abilities in unique ways, offering new ways to play the enemies of Subterra Bravo.

With all of these additions to the overseer’s arsenal, the commandos have their work cut out for them. Next time, we’ll take a look at one of the two new heroes, a character intimately familiar with the danger the Ghin present.