Game Design Overview: Combat and Reaverbots

Game Design Overview: Combat and Reaverbots

Mega Man Legends, and especially Mega Man Legends 2, were designed right before the era of the modern third person shooter. As such, the combat in the games still feel fairly unique, if not a bit dated due to being replaced soon after. Mega Man Legends 2 even has a proto dual stick shooter setup with Control Type D that would be perfected in later third person shooters.

Legends 2 offered a few control schemes, some of which that only worked on dualshock.

Simply ignoring what Mega Man Legends 1 and 2 did and designing a modern Third Person Shooter wouldn't do justice for the games. At their core, Mega Man Legends 1 and 2 were lock-on shooters on a console where one of the primary controllers that most people used only had a directional pad. Meanwhile, ASH has modern controllers, motion controllers, and Keyboard/Mouse to worry about. Creating a design that satisfies all needs has been, and is going to be a challenge throughout development.

An Ordinary Digger

Mega Man sort of blasted through Reaverbots with ease, especially in Legends 2 where he was an older, more experienced digger that was possibly superhuman due to his creation as a Purifier Unit. As such, it's not too absurd to think that Mega Man was not only a great digger, he was beyond anything expected of a carbon digger.

Lexi is not Mega Man. She won't be lifting up Gorubeshus with one hand and tossing them halfway across the room. She might not have the best armor, equipment, and her island. Combat with individual Reaverbots should be a bit more thoughtful and interesting, rather than just being cannonfodder - at least at first.

These are some of the ideas that has pushed ASH's combat in the direction of manual aim, and making Reaverbots and their behaviors more complex in general. They will stalk you, they will chase you, and they will attack relentlessly once disturbed.

Once you've engaged with a Reaverbot, you're expected to make your shots count or potentially perish.

Breaking Through

With limited tools and tougher Reaverbots, ASH has added more ways for players to take down Reaverbots and gain an advantage. One new addition is the idea of "Armor Classes".

Essentially, different Reaverbots (and even different parts of Reaverbots!) can have thicker/weaker armor compared to other Reaverbots. If you have a strong enough buster, you can not only damage the Reaverbot, but also damage the armor in that area.

If your buster is strong enough, you can damage a Reaverbot's armor!

If you damage the armor enough, eventually you can expose a weakspot that can deal tremendous bonus damage to the Reaverbot!

Reaverbots have a tough exterior, but oftentimes have vulnerable internals.

On a Zakobon in the current game, a shot that hits these spots does triple damage! Using these spots can help you take down Reaverbots before they can strike back.

Note that not all weakness require piercing armor. Mirocs take bonus damage from head shots. Also, some armor classes can't be pierced with normal weapons no matter what, like a Gorubeshu's shield.

Parts Have Functionality Too!

Trying to shoot a Reaverbot is now a bit more complicated thanks to armor classes and damaging armor. However, there's another system going on underneath this - Part Functionality.

Take for instance our Zakobon. Zakobons are fairly simple Reaverbots, but they have a few different attacks and functionality. Zakobons also use their antenna to communicate to other Reaverbots, and with a well placed shot to the top of their head, you can cut off their ability to call for help!

The other Zakobon has no idea what his buddy just saw!

Our 2nd Tier Zakobon has a new behavior not present in the classic green Zakobon. If it's hit when not doing another action, it will immediately do an evasive spin to prevent further damage and reflect shots. This makes quick takedowns incredibly difficult and will often allow other Reaverbots to join the battle. But, if you can damage their legs enough, you can take away their ability to spin and slow down their overall movement speed!

Not only does damaging the legs slow the Zakobon down, but it completely disables their spin.

Every Reaverbot will have unique interactions with armor and internal damage. Some parts might be so important that damaging them can shut down the Reaverbot outright. If you shoot a Reaverbot in their eye, you can temporarily blind them to make a speedy escape. Some reaverbots can even be taken down in one precise shot!

Lock-On or Not?

With all of this talk of precision shooting and aiming, another question comes up. What happens to the series' lock-on? In our current demo, there is no lock-on functionality. However, that has caused a rather annoying situation - Keyboard and Mouse has much higher precision than a dual stick controller.

A lot of players prefer using a controller, and we don't want controller players to feel like they're at a disadvantage. Right now, we're considering a few things, which might be unique to when a player is using a controller.

  • A lock-on system where a player can lock-on to a Reaverbot and then precise aim with the camera stick.
  • Gyro aiming for players using Switch Pro Controllers, Dual-Shock 4/5, and other motion supported controllers.
  • Aim assistance that helps players make tough shots without being too intrusive.

One or more of these options will likely be present in the future. If any of them are chosen, we'll likely allow for turning them on or off so the player can customize their experience.


In the end, we're very happy with how ASH plays in our demo, but we're also acutely aware that playing well within a short demo doesn't mean it'll work in the full game. We'll continue iterating on our ideas and be open to wholesale changes if necessary. Combat is just one part of the game, and we've got a whole lot of work to do in order to put everything together.