Hood: Outlaws & Legends is the first Sumo Newcastle game since the former CCP studio that made EVE: Valkyrie was acquired by Sumo Digital in early 2018, and is a rather unusual game.
Priced at $ 29.99, the game is a multiplayer PvPvE affair where two teams of four players each attempt an assault in a medieval setting inspired by the tradition of Robin Hood.
They will have to outsmart the opposing team of rogues and defensive guards led by the AI to succeed and go home with the stolen spoils. Appropriately given the folklore Hood: Outlaws & Legends is based on, once a match is over, players will have to decide how much they will donate to the people (which will help level your character’s hiding place) and how much they will be left with. them to unlock new items.
Hood: Outlaws & Legends, which features a class-based system where each character brings unique abilities to the group, will be released on May 10, although pre-ordered customers actually receive three days before that as a bonus.
With the release date fast approaching, we contacted Sumo Newcastle game director Andrew Willans to delve into everything we can expect from this game, post-launch support and included technical details.
To ensure variety and avoid predictability between sessions, each assault has many factors that change randomly as maps load – the sheriff’s path, AI patrols, capture point locations (to reappear), even the location of the treasure chest can switch between buildings and floors. Players will become familiar with playing styles and bad guys that work better on some maps than others, but thefts rarely happen as planned. Like all the best assault films, we had an influence in designing each stage.
How many maps will be available at launch?
We will have 5 maps at launch, with another one added free for all players soon after. Some of the environments are huge in scale, so it will be a while before players explore each corner and crevice in search of the perfect hidden paths.
Can you discuss the character’s progression for each of the classes?
We have a variety of cosmetics for outlaws clothes and weapons, and a unique progression of advantages that is controlled by your character level (XP) and the coin in your pocket, obtained through robberies. The advantages are the only feature that will directly affect gameplay, and we wanted to avoid any kind of minimum / maximum arms race. Most of the time, these perks will allow you to further customize your outlaws to match your playing style, but with compensation that should be considered, for example, increased damage from long-range shots, but short range are weaker.
Each outlaw will have 3 privilege slots and players can choose from a variety of unlocked benefits to fill those slots. In addition to the expected capacity and damage modifiers, there are some really interesting advantages that increase your tactical options, such as converting the Mystics playable equipment item from poison gas to healing gas or adding a sticky property to the Brawlers explosive grenade.
Will there be any withdrawals you will receive from matches?
Gold and XP. We try to leverage the Robin Hood tradition with our economic system. Then, after each round, you will be presented with “The Scales Of Justice”. All the gold from your theft will be divided between 2 pots, one for the people and one for the pocket. It is then up to you to distribute the gold even more between these pots. If you invest more in people, your Hideout level will increase, unlocking more items for stores. If you invest more in your pocket, you will have more coins to spend in these stores. Both can only be obtained by playing the game and are not linked to microtransactions. We wanted to confront players with the choice to invest in the goal, or in the immediate, and that seemed like an interesting way to contextualize the fantasy.
You stated earlier that Hood: Outlaws and Legends is essentially an assault game. How do you plan to keep the game formula updated for a long period of time?
Two games rarely work the same way. The very nature of the PvPvE structure encompasses the random actions of players (friends and enemies) that can radically alter the course of the game. I think the main assault mode will keep players engaged while exploring the best tactics for success. When we look beyond the launch window, we are already working hard on new content to improve what we have and expand into new areas. Without entering spoiler territory, this will include additional game modes and bad guys. We have a large backlog of designs that were created during the development of the robbery mode, and it will be interesting to hear what our players want after they have spent some time stealing from the state and fighting rival bandits.
What is the cadence of post-launch updates that you envisioned for the game?
Approximately 3-4 months. Basically, the seasons. Our seasons will have the pagan calendar as their theme because it fits perfectly with the legend from which we take our influence.
I understand that Hood: Outlaws & Legends only features environmental storytelling at this point. However, some fans have already been asking for a PvE-focused mode with more traditional storytelling based on this beloved lore. Is that something that could happen post-launch?
This is complicated. Honestly, anything is possible, but in reality it all comes down to the harsh reality of business. If there was a high demand and audience for this, then it is definitely something that we would look at. We are a small / medium sized studio here in Sumo Newcastle, so we have to be aware of the scale and scope of the project. As tempting as a more linear narrative is, it also requires a significant development team to meet the quality benchmark we seek in our games.
Do you have plans to introduce a competitive mode in which pre-formed groups would be combined and a classification system used?
We have many post-release features planned that will expand the competitive aspects of the game. The first step is to build our community and then understand what aspects are needed first. But yes, we do discuss how clans, leagues, classified game, spectator tools, etc. they could be in our world. We just need to build the audience first.
Hood was developed with Unreal Engine 4. Do you have plans to support integrated features, such as NVIDIA DLSS (on PC) and / or raytracing?
The DLSS plugin for Unreal arrived a little too late for us to integrate it into the game, but it is something we will add after launch. Raytracing is being used, and with beautiful effects, on our map of the Pantanal, which has large volumes of water and a vibrant golden sunset for those postcard moments.
After having worked with both Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, do you feel that there are any noticeable differences between the two? Can you reveal the target resolution and frame rate for each console?
We are targeting 60 solid fps and radius tracing for both consoles, and final resolutions will be confirmed (after optimization) and communicated before launch.
Did you have any problems optimizing for the less powerful Xbox Series S console? Were there any specific commitments that you had to make?
We have not yet reached the end of this optimization journey, so it is difficult to go into details. The closest performance benchmark is the Xbox One X, but I’m sure we can dive into the final stats closer to launch.
Can you share all the details about how you plan to support the PS5 DualSense controller on the hood?
Our chief designer is posting a detailed article on exactly that topic in the coming weeks, so I really don’t want to steal your thunder. I can say that we have one of the most intuitive bows I’ve ever used in a game, thanks to the DualSense’s trigger resistance feature. It’s incredible! And it’s not just limited to ranged weapons, we also try to provide tangible fatigue when melee attacks deplete your resistance. In fact, swinging a hammer seems more difficult, as its resistance is drained from full to empty.
Is there anything else you would like to add about Hood: Outlaws & Legends?
There is much more, but I need to learn when to shut up and leave some surprises. The past year has been a struggle in many ways, and I am honored to be part of a development team that genuinely cared for each other and even managed to deliver our shared vision for this exciting new IP. So, on behalf of everyone here at Sumo Newcastle, I’m going to lift a bow (or hammer) and see you in the treasure chest!