Ryan Gibbs, TYF Music Editor: So firstly, what in terms of items and power ups are new in this DLC?
Steve Filby: Oh man, there’s quite a few. I think probably the ones that are the standout[s] would be the Boy’s Axe–I think it’s pretty obvious where that comes from–then we got the seismic shocker… it’s like a sword that’s going to send out some shock waves, there’s the lance that you can throw, which is going to do crit damage against walls. There’s a bunch of new things in there, we’ve got ten new weapons, and 3 new skills, there’s a little owl pet thing that follows you around, and attacks enemies and whatnot.
Ryan: The store having that mystery item, that’s new too, right?
Steve Filby: That’s an upgrade from the base game, it’s been there for a while, but takes quite a bit to unlock so a lot of players don’t see it straight away. Instead of picking one of the three categories, ranged, melee weapons or traps or grenades, you can just have a completely random drop.
Ryan: So are there new levels in this DLC?
Steve Filby: Yes.
Ryan: where do they fall in terms of the game’s progression?
Steve Filby: Ah, so Spoiler Alert: but basically, there is some of the content that is mid-game content, and so everyone is going to get to play that if you’ve beaten the game at least once on any difficulty. Some of it is super hardcore, top secret content that we’re not really talking about. We’re just sort of letting people figure out where it is. But this guy, the Giant, and the level that precedes him, the Cavern, they fall in the standard level structure. You’re gonna come through the Graveyard and then into the new area.
Ryan: did you include things in the DLC that fans had wanted or that you’ve heard from user comments?
Steve Filby: Heaps of stuff. I wouldn’t even know where to start. If you have a look at the patch notes, it’s usually about 50/50 stuff that we’ve done and stuff that the community has requested. One of the things we did change is the way that we handle damage capping. That’s been a big request for a long time…
One of the things we changed between 1.1 and 1.2 was the Custom Mode. The guys decided they were going to lock the custom mode behind beating the game, like two days before they released the 1.1 update and we were kind of like “What?” and the community was like “What?” and so we changed that so it will be now be unlocked. That’s one of the big ones that everyone was complaining about. A lot of the community stuff that we’ve been building here has been for balancing the higher boss levels. Once you get to boss level three, four and five. Heavy weapons have changed quite a bit. Now they’re going to have a lot more power, so there is a lot more risk and reward in playing with them. You can’t be interrupted, so if you get halfway through the attack, you’ll take damage but you’ll also finish your attack as well.
One of the big questions we’ve been having for ages is whether or not we could come up with a mode of the game that would allow us to lock certain items. Like, some kind of character that you could go and talk to and say “I don’t want Spartan Sandals or I don’t want whatever weapon it is,” and we didn’t really want to do that because we found that really takes the variety out of the game and locks people into one build that they want to use all the time. That’s not really the idea behind the thing. So what we’ve done is try to balance out all of the items as much as possible.
Ryan: What was the inspiration behind the design of this new boss?
Steve Filby: Do you see the skeleton in the beginning room? When Gwen, our second [of 3] artists join the team, one day he just randomly put this old skeleton in there, I don’t actually know what his motivation for doing that was, but he put it in there. And when Mathieu went about [making a new boss] Gwen was like “you know what that boss is going to be don’t you?” so he came up with the giant.
Ryan: Are there any new mutations?
Steve Filby: Yeah, there’s a couple of new mutations in there. They’re mostly changes in the way that the actual ones exist. We did some of that with 1.1. We changed all the cool-down ones. Now it’s based on how you kill enemies with which type of weapons. As far as new mutations in this one, there’s nothing that was suggested by the community, and nothing that is for the base game. I think there’s one or two for the advanced players.
Ryan Gibbs: What are your thoughts on “Dead Cells” becoming a popular speedrunning game?
Steve Filby: It’s something that we’ve definitely encouraged from the beginning. For example, the Assault Shield exploit: We found back in the day that you could get a double Assault Shield and you can pretty much fly with it. We nerfed that, so you can’t double up on your Assault Shields, but we didn’t nerf the role and the Assault Shield movement because, well if people want to play like and it’s fun, why would we stop it? I think maybe the second or third update we did, Seb [Bernard, lead developer] added the speed buffs for killing monsters – Like you kill a certain amount of monsters in a certain period of time and you get a speed buff and you can stack that – and it just felt really right. It felt like that’s how the game was meant to be played.
Ryan: How will the DLC launch, will it be a separate purchase or free with the base game?
Steve Filby: It’s free with the game. The DLC came out on Thursday [Mar. 28], and you can get it and play it right now on PC. It’s going to follow up on console as soon as the guy whose job it is to put the game on console gets back from holiday. It’s coming.
Ryan: Lastly, I wanted to ask you about the booth you have here this year. You have a really eye catching one
Steve: We first came to PAX East in 2017, and we had this scabby little banner thing that we hung up on our little Indie Megabooth. PAX was really great for us. PAX East is one of my favorite shows, just in terms of organization. We’re planning on continuing to support Dead Cells for as long as people want us to keep making stuff for it, so we thought we’d get a proper booth. So every time we’re at a PAX, we’ll try to line it up so we’ll have new content to show people and we’ll set it up so it looks like a castle.
Dead Cells – Rise of the Giant is now available on: