Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference showcased a bunch of new projects, including Ninja Theory's colourful multiplayer brawler, Bleeding Edge. After the presentation came to a close, we stuck around for the Xbox Showcase and had a chat with the game's creative director, Rahni Tucker, about its inspirations, gameplay mechanics and the studio's approaches to combat design.
"I'm a very different type of creative director to Tameem, the previous combat designer for DmC: Devil May Cry," Tucker explains. "For me, I go more for the game mechanics. I want to prototype first. I like the touch and feel of the game - that's the most important thing to me. Bleeding Edge is a reflection of that."
Talking more about the influences behind Bleeding Edge's bold and vibrant art style, Tucker tells us about the team's interest in graphic novels: "We took a lot of inspiration from anime. Stuff like Tekkonkinkreet was an inspiration - the game's art director really likes that, [also] Ghost in the Shell and Akira."
Discussing the difficulties of departing from single-player to multiplayer-based gameplay. "One of the challenges early on was trying to figure out that balance between making the player feel empowered in the way that they can combo their attacks together and pull off cool stuff, but also the counterplay for the person who's being attacked and what options they have to break that combo lock and get the advantage back."
"Each character has three special moves and two super abilities, which you can pick when choosing your character. A lot of the characters have a passive ability as well and then you've got your basic attack which is either shooting or melee combos," Tucker said, going into more detail about the characters' ability in combat. "In terms of synergising, a moveset you might see on Dante is spread between all of the characters."
Bleeding Edge has been in development for a long time now, the game's director explained to us: "I wanted to do [the idea for the game] straight after DmC. We got to start in properly just over three years ago. We've been working on it with a small team - a Hellblade-sized team - an average of about 15 people."
As the game's development is due to be impacted by community feedback when it enters technical alpha later this month, Tucker shares the importance of working with the players to refine the experience:
"One of the really good things about going back and doing the DmC Definite Edition was getting to see what fans were doing with the game, then try support that stuff and add the things that they felt were missing, and I'm really excited about that for Bleeding Edge. We get to do that - not just once -but continuously for the life of the game."
Bleeding Edge is due to launch in technical alpha on June 27. You can sign up for the alpha over at the game's official website.