We got the chance for an exclusive interview with Tyler Sigman and Chris Bourassa over at Red Hook Games this week about their latest DLC, The Crimson Court for the hit Steam game Darkest Dungeon. This DLC introduces some new elements to the game with a new area dungeon, character class, and bosses. Taking a turn into the vampiric, the guys explained their motivations and philosophy behind the update.
Chris explained that after watching a documentary on the old Limelight club in New York, it inspired him to look into the debauchery of the ancestor in Darkest Dungeon. It was always eluded to in the game that eventually he dug too deep into the arcane world and it ruined the estate, but also unleashed the terrors you now fight as a player. So The Crimson Court mirrors the excess and eventual decline at the estate. With the new theme comes the new classes.
What better way to contradict the court than to bring in a fanatical new character called the Flagellant? This anti-hero is at his core insane and driven. Tyler explained that the character had always been on the roster, but they did not think he would be as appealing at the launch of the game. He is also very tricky to play, as he is at his best when near death or insanity. Also, the whole self-mutilation bloody theme may be a bit much. However, the team loves the class and it is a real treat for veteran players who are a bit more skilled. He does show up on the estate around week 5 so you don’t have to go through any wild unlocks.
As the fans hoped for a vampire hunter style class, Tyler and Chris are much more clever. Instead the team introduced a wandering boss mechanic with the Fanatic. Continuing to explore the religion gone bad theme, this boss enters the dungeon to hunt you down if anyone from your party is tainted with the curse. You will get a pop up on your screen when he arrives and then the chase is on. Never knowing when he will appear. This nasty boss fight can really mess up your party if you are not prepared. Believing that all taints should be purged, he is a nasty foe.
The Crimson Court allowed the team to fill in some gaps with the backstory. They had an outline but purposely left some open spots to fill in as the game progressed. However, Tyler explained that you cannot really mess with the full arc too much. It still must begin and end in the same places. So the Crimson Court while a DLC adds in some of the open areas. The Courtyard is also another area to explore. Even though the game follows a dungeon crawl theme, the team likes to have open areas that act as a dungeon. As with their game, they want players to explore and learn as they go. Nothing is handed to you, everything is trial and error. With this approach learning the Courtyard makes for a much better victory at the end.
Chris and Tyler continue to watch live streams of the game and work on player feedback. They want the DLC to be as smooth of a transition for their fans as possible. With only minor fixes here and there, the team said the feedback has been very positive and even veteran players are coming back to explore the new area. We asked how the next few months will look for the Red Hook and Darkest Dungeon. The guys said that they will continue to support the game and make sure everything is running smoothly. They also gave us a bit of information which made us jump up a cheer, the studio is working on a second game, and we’re very excited to see what the team comes up with in the future.