Game Discussion: Hack, Slash & Backstab Forum

Hack, Slash & Backstab Multi-Genre Discussion

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Information Posted on 14 April 18 at 14:21
Please use this thread to discuss this game's classification under the multi-genre system.

If you disagree with the current genres, please click the "Add genre disagreement" button below.
Information Posted on 14 April 18 at 14:24
Swinny Costello has registered their disagreement about the genres applied to this game
This game features no roleplaying elements whatsoever, outside of the wizard/warrior/rogue character stereotypes, which are purely cosmetic.

The game is essentially a multiplayer twin-stick shooter with randomised level layouts. There's no character progression, skills, quests, equipment or actual storyline.

Suggestion:
- Remove Roleplaying
Allgorhythm
252,444
Allgorhythm
Posted on 14 April 18 at 18:03
This is a game that got zero votes. So, presumably, the game was listed on TA with the press release RPG and dungeon crawl tags. In other words, we on TA did not say it was an RPG and it may not be one.

So, at this point, I am not going to make any arguments pro or con but let the discussion take its course. Here are some points I'd like to see addressed:

-The opening statement in the TA Role Playing definition is:
Role Playing games (RPGs) see the player take control of one or more characters as they interact with the world around them.
A case to remove RPG should include rationale that demonstrates how the above gameplay stylistic criteria are not present to the extent where they would be genre defining.

-On TA, we do not feel that all dungeon crawls should be RPGs. Nevertheless, dungeon crawlers came about as an RPG subset. So, we would expect that a discussion to remove RPG from a dungeon crawl yet retain the dungeon crawl classification would address this issue. We recognize that some dungeon crawls distance themselves from their RPG roots. Where this is the case, we expect proponents to address it when they make their case to remove an RPG classification.

-It's odd that a game with Hack and Slash in its title is not classified as a Hack and Slash game.

To summarize:
-All we have on TA comes from the PR. So, the disagreement is not contesting a prior TA classification.
-Additional detail is required to demonstrate why the game does not conform to the TA RPG definition.
-Should we add the hack and slash classification if we remove the RPG classification?
Swinny Costello
Posted on 14 April 18 at 23:51, Edited on 15 April 18 at 00:16 by Swinny Costello
I'll try to add as much detail as I can.

Oh - and quickly to clarify my "twin-stick shooter" comparison - this game does not actually use a twin-stick mechanic aka Robotron.

The game does not meet one of the "two forms" of RPGs as per the TA definition:

Role Playing games (RPGs) see the player take control of one or more characters as they interact with the world around them. RPGs tend to come in two forms with most being a combination of the two. One sees the game being heavily focused on the story and narrative of the game while others focus more on character/s becoming more powerful over time giving the player a moderate to high level of control in regards to how they develop including stats/attributes, equipment and more.
1. There is no story in the game
2. There is no character progression in the game

It's essentially a Gauntlet clone with a single randomised levels. There's no keys or enemy spawns to destroy, but the gameplay and constant onslaught of mobs is very similar.

More details below:

Role Playing games (RPGs) see the player take control of one or more characters as they interact with the world around them.

The only game world interaction this game features is:
- killing enemies (mobs)
- killing randomly placed bosses
- picking up randomly dropped health/powerups
- opening chests that contain powerups
- accessing a portal to exit the level

The common types of game world interaction that is often featured in Roleplaying games that's not present in this game:
- No NPCs to interact with
- No loot (other than powerups)
- No equipment (weapons, armour, accessories)
- No currency or vendors
- No destructable environmental items that contain items or powerups
- No story-driven items to interact with (books, lore etc.)

The general gameplay loop:
- Once selecting one of the 4 classes (up to 4 players), you are placed into a randomised level layout.
- Your objective is to find the portal to complete the level
- There are infinitely spawning mobs such as spiders, skeletons, zombies. Hitting each enemy will display how much damage it has done.
- There are 4 possible boss enemies that you can encounter in the level that are "dark" versions of each class. When encountering them, you are locked into that room until you defeat them, which will reward you with a powerup in a chest.
- Once you find the portal, the game is over.
- If playing multiplayer, you are also forced to fight each other at the end of the round.

Each class has a set of three actions they can perform, with minor cooldowns:
As a wizard, I could
- use a normal attack
- a secondary AOE attack
- a teleport/dodge attack
None of these actions can chosen from a group of skills or be upgraded in any kind of skill tree - they're all locked in for each class. If you're playing multiplayer, you can revive downed teammates.

There is no character progression, or progression of any type that carries over through each run.
That means:
- No experience points
- No character levels
- No stats or attributes
- No skill points

Gameplay videos for reference:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yeGJBYEN4I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn9SSGOme0A

Official game description makes no mention of Roleplaying:
http://hackslashbackstab.rit.edu/
http://store.steampowered.com/app/438910/Hack_Slash__Backsta...
HSB is a multi-player arcade dungeon crawler with a twist! We’ve all been there: stack ranking, team projects, student or employee evaluations on a curve – groups of people that need each other, but that are evaluated individually to the detriment of true teamwork. In Hack, Slash & Backstab, we adapt these broken models to a 2-4 player couch co-op dungeon crawler, and use a game setting to seemingly reduce the stakes. Work together as warrior, rogue, wizard and archer to survive a dangerous world. But only one player will be crowned the winner: it becomes a fight to the death, as betrayal and backstab become the tools of choice. #bewaretheknife

As for the Hack & Slash definition, I don't know if this really applies:
Hack & Slash games usually feature a single or small group of characters facing off against medium to large groups of enemies (sometimes hundreds at a time) and gameplay is usually quite fast paced. Upgrading of either weapons or characters is generally a strong point of gameplay. - there's no upgrades whatsoever in this game. It has more in common with Gauntlet than it does with Dynasty Warriors. The game is just poorly titled.
Swinny Costello
Posted on 15 April 18 at 00:06, Edited on 15 April 18 at 00:09 by Swinny Costello
I just went and looked at the descriptions for Dungeon Crawler, and the game doesn't even suit that:

Dungeon Crawlers focus on the chase for better and better loot gained from exploring the environment and defeating enemies. Levelling your character and gaining skills is a means to increase your combat abilities and advance ever deeper into the world.
- There's no loot, leveling, gained skills, advancement of combat abilities or even a "deeper world" - it's just the one random stage.

The only way this game could be considered a "dungeon crawler" is:
- That it's in the official description
- It takes place in an actual medieval dungeon.

It is more in line with the Roguelite genre:

Roguelite games rely on a core mechanic of randomization, in which the game's maps/levels, enemies, items and/or bosses are randomized each playthrough. The extensiveness of the randomization can vary, but the goal is that every playthrough will be completely different. Players will usually experience permanent death, but some degree of persistence is permissible, such as unlocked characters and items.
- Every run in the game is randomised with permadeath, but there is no persistence across runs.

To be honest, the gameplay is Gauntlet with a single randomly generated level, so my final suggestions would be:

- Add Action (as Gauntlet is considered action)
- Add Roguelike
- Remove Roleplaying
- Remove Dungeon Crawler
misfit119
814,710
misfit119
Posted on 15 April 18 at 03:37
Swinny, don't take this the wrong way but I think I love you for your posts. laugh That's two of the most well thought out and reasoned posts I've seen in regards to genre changes.

With that said, I'm a little torn on what to do about the adding of genres. On the one hand this looks exactly like Gauntlet that's been tarted up a bit, so that fits. On the other hand I'm not really sure if the randomized element really warrants that tag. In many older school games there could be a random element to where enemies entered the screen from (notably based on your position) but I wouldn't call that Roguelike.

In either case Action is a solo genre catch-all so if we did end up assigning this genre it would end up being Roguelike standalone and I'm not sure how I'd feel about that if I were one to worry about my position on that leaderboard.
Looking to boost any MP achievements I don't have for any game I own.
Allgorhythm
252,444
Allgorhythm
Posted on 15 April 18 at 03:41, Edited on 15 April 18 at 03:50 by Allgorhythm
Thanks. This was extremely well presented. At least one other member of the genre team besides me is receptive to your disagreement. We'll leave this open for at least a couple of days to see if there is further discussion.

My team-mate on the genre team who is sympathetic to your argument has suggested we add shoot 'em up since it plays like a twin stick shooter. What are your thoughts regarding this?
ChinDocta
932,509
ChinDocta
Posted on 15 April 18 at 04:12
There's Randomization and Perma-Death, in the past those 2 criteria have been enough to get the Roguelite Genre. If this is now not enough I will re-open a couple old disagreements.
Game Info Manager
misfit119
814,710
misfit119
Posted on 15 April 18 at 04:52
If that's the case would you be able to point me in the direction of those threads? The team has changed over the past few months and I would like to take an eyeball at these games and the arguments presented therein. I'm, frankly, not a fan of this genre since it tends to be applied pretty arbitrarily in my opinion but unless we're going to do a full overhaul I want to maintain consistency.
Looking to boost any MP achievements I don't have for any game I own.
ChinDocta
932,509
ChinDocta
Posted on 15 April 18 at 05:11, Edited on 15 April 18 at 05:14 by ChinDocta
Don't Starve: Giant Edition Multi-Genre Discussion

Allgorhythm said:
We intentionally decided on Rouguelite as our genre rather than the more stringent Roguelike. The degree of randomization and the permadeath aspect are sufficient to qualify as a Roguelite. This is especially true because the Permadeath is a substantial feature. There are many ways to die--some very bizarre--and, because of the length of the game, Permadeath represents a gut-wrenching loss.
Zonrith1 said:
For me, it's more in cases of random level generation plus permanent death (with an evaluation on the level of persistence). The site definition is very broad, but the focus on if there is enough randomization to make each playthrough feel different. I've not played this, but it's randomly generated open world I think is complying with the goal of the definition. Of the GT members, based on other games we've looked at, it is probably fair to say I have the most liberal interpretation of the Roguelite definition, so the other GT members may weigh the subjective element (how much is really *enough*) more strictly than I do.

But anyway, long story short, if I think it is reasonably random with a decent quantity of perma-death, I will lean towards tagging such titles as Roguelite.
I know Zon is no longer on the team but that was the evidence presented when I argued against it. I attributed the randomness to it being a survival game, just like how Minecraft is randomized (which I imagine if it had perma-death would have been enough to get the genre)

Happy to re-open that thread and discuss it over there if it's something you think is worth looking at it.
Game Info Manager
Vitiated1
1,023,739
Vitiated1
Posted on 15 April 18 at 05:52
Because of the outstanding argument and some footage that I watched, my conclusion as to add Shoot 'em Up and remove Role Playing.

CD suggesting the addition of Roguelite is certainly on the table. Looking at the site definition, the main characteristic is level/room/boss randomization, which is certainly present. Perma-death is an additional step in the Roguelite direction, but since items or upgrades carrying over between playthroughs is an addition rather than a necessary requirement I am in favor of having this game tagged as Shoot 'em Up and Roguelite only.
ChinDocta
932,509
ChinDocta
Posted on 15 April 18 at 06:08
Vitiated1 said:
Because of the outstanding argument and some footage that I watched, my conclusion as to add Shoot 'em Up and remove Role Playing.

CD suggesting the addition of Roguelite is certainly on the table. Looking at the site definition, the main characteristic is level/room/boss randomization, which is certainly present. Perma-death is an additional step in the Roguelite direction, but since items or upgrades carrying over between playthroughs is an addition rather than a necessary requirement I am in favor of having this game tagged as Shoot 'em Up and Roguelite only.
Perfectly fine with whichever direction that decision goes just want consistency behind the reasoning across the board. If Roguelite gets added I won't be re-opening the other disagreement as criteria being used for both is identical.
Game Info Manager
Allgorhythm
252,444
Allgorhythm
Posted on 15 April 18 at 14:09
Thanks all for the great discussion. Appreciate the thoughtfulness that everyone is providing in well reasoned arguments. This is tentatively where we stand.

Remove Role Playing
Remove Dungeon Crawler


Add Shoot 'em up
Add Roguelite


Since, as @misfit119 has pointed out, we only use Action when there is no more specific genre that can be applied; we do not plan on adding the Action tag.

This thread will be open for another day and a half or so for further discussion. If we have consensus, we plan on making the changes towards end of day Monday UTC (UK time).
Vitiated1
1,023,739
Vitiated1
Posted on 15 April 18 at 14:24
Great, normally I'd make the changes now but I want to see what misfit says first since this is a decision that will have an impact on other disagreements/assignments going forward.
Allgorhythm
252,444
Allgorhythm
Posted on 15 April 18 at 23:31
Vitiated1 said:
Great, normally I'd make the changes now but I want to see what misfit says first since this is a decision that will have an impact on other disagreements/assignments going forward.
Absolutely. Because the discussion points were so well articulated, we can apply them to future cases--there are a lot of games that may have some rudimentary RPG elements but not to the extent that they can be classified as RPGs.
misfit119
814,710
misfit119
Posted on 16 April 18 at 05:27
I'm very torn on this issue. I think that calling this roguelite is a stretch of the term. The idea of "permadeath" seems to be somewhat weird here. I mean in a game like Shinobi when you run out of lives, you get a game over. Does that count? If the idea is that multiple lives negate the permadeath thing, would we say that the various ways to have multiple lives in Don't Starve cause that to be removed?

I actually did support the roguelite in Don't Starve due to the randomized levels and single life but ChinDocta made a good point in that thread about the "one life" thing being just a part of a Survival game. Is it only permadeath when it's a game that typically allows multiple lives but doesn't? I mean we decided that Rogue Legacy doesn't count as a roguelite because too much transfers over but anything with even a modicum of randomization does?

Mind you, I'm not really arguing for or against. I'm trying to get to the reasoning at play here in general so that I understand what it means for future usage.
Looking to boost any MP achievements I don't have for any game I own.
Vitiated1
1,023,739
Vitiated1
Posted on 16 April 18 at 05:44
In my eyes a "permadeath" is when you die once and get some sort of game over. Since that applies to a lot of old school games, the inclusion of randomized levels and the possibility of carrying over unlocked characters, weapons, or abilities helps define the term for our purposes.

I'll need to take a look at the discussion on Rogue Legacy to see what the case was for that, but I think the nature of Survival games should exclude them from the Roguelite category. Otherwise we would see some out of place additions like Sheltered, Ark, and maybe even the Minecrafts.

Would a change of language in the Roguelite definition be called for? I'm fairly certain we could compose something that specified the type of games that generally fall under the category without there being room for questioning titles like Don't Starve,
misfit119
814,710
misfit119
Posted on 19 April 18 at 06:59
I'm not sure if language that excludes genres specifically is allowed in the descriptions. Might have to ask Rich. I do agree that the persistence, randomization and permadeath all come together to make for a roguelite but it gets really squiggly right now when you have games with a more old school vibe to them, kinda like this does. Randomized levels + no continues ≠ roguelite. So I'd like to written in a way that makes that make more sense but I'm a lot better of an editor than I am concise writer. "Quick Misfit, write a 500 word preview about this game!" *1,500 words later* laugh
Looking to boost any MP achievements I don't have for any game I own.
Vitiated1
1,023,739
Vitiated1
Posted on 19 April 18 at 13:31, Edited on 19 April 18 at 13:45 by Vitiated1
Maybe just updating it so it hits the key points?

"Roguelite games are defined by permanent character death, randomized levels and/or maps with varying items or item locations each playthrough. The persistence of unlocked weapons, characters, upgrades, or items between playthroughs is allowed but not required. Permanent death is classified as the game saving no environmental progress, no checkpoint system, and no system consisting of multiple lives."

The above, worked in with the current definition, serves to better define the genre and gives us the ability to judge games easier. If it doesn't check off all 2/3 boxes or checks one of the exclusion boxes, no Roguelite for you.
Vitiated1
1,023,739
Vitiated1
Posted on 30 April 18 at 18:54, Edited on 30 April 18 at 22:01 by Vitiated1
So we decided to clarify the Roguelite genre by just a hair, and determined that this would fit. Changes are now applied, thanks for the discussion everyone!
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