Superfuse GDC Hands-on Preview:
If Diablo and Path of Exile Had a Superhero Baby
I was lucky enough to be given a special hands-on GDC virtual preview of Superfuse, a new comic book style ARPG developed by Stitch Head. I played a very early build of the game while conversing with the developers. Superfuse puts the player in control of superheroes sent to stop The Corruption from spreading as superpowers are controlled by elites, The relationship between society’s elite and the superheroes as The Corruption spreads appears to be the cornerstone of the plot based on the opening cinematic of the demo I played. What is also extremely clear to me is that Stitch Heads is serious about telling a solid story fit for a comic book universe. Just watch the trailer and you can see the beautiful comic book aesthetic. I was lucky enough to see and hear a cinematic featuring Eli Harris, an award-winning voice actor. His clear crisp voice does a fantastic job of narrating the story. He was present during the preview presentation and spoke about being allowed input during development, something normally not given to black voices, The entire game is fully voiced, something I’m also excited about.
Stitch Heads Creative Director, Tim Baijen, answered my questions and helped walk me through this Superfuse demo experience. Although the demo only included the Berserker as a playable character, the menu showed at least three other characters that I’m eager to try eventually. What gives me a lot of hope and promise with Superfuse is the complexity of the character building. Although I was limited to playing as the Berserker, the game features deep levels of customization that can and likely will set everyone’s Berserker apart from one another. Every character has a talent tree, but even better, every skill has its own passive tree where you’ll insert skill fuses to manipulate your skills to your liking. For the sake of the demo, I was provided with plenty of skill fuses with different effects and talent points to play around with and really explore the deep customization of the game. Path of Exile players will feel right at home with the skill fuses because they operate essentially the same way as support gems, except they insert into the skill tree. I could add things like elemental damage, honing, fork, and many others. What I find the most intriguing about the skill trees is that they expand like a web. It was difficult for me to see just how far the skill tree web can go, and I’m intrigued to see what that answer is in the finished product. Based on my experience with ARPGs, my current assessment of the skill system is that it will be more complex than Diablo 2, but less daunting and intimidating than the skill system in Path of Exile.
What makes me feel really good about the future of Superfuse is that all of my questions were answered with a level of confidence and a sense of direction that Stitch Heads knows exactly where they are going with the game. As a veteran player of dungeon-crawling ARPGs, like Diablo 2, Path of Exile, Torchlight, Grim Dawn, and even smaller indie games of the genre like Victor Vran and Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards, I walked away very impressed with the quality of Superfuse. I was very surprised that this early on in development the mouse hover item comparisons were already implemented within the game. The passion for the ARPG genre was clearly evident during my conversation. It didn’t get past me that the town portal looked almost identical to the Diablo 2 tp,
Superfuse has a lot of what you’re already familiar with in the ARPG genre, like item rarities and the same kind of inventory system, but Stitch Heads also has a very unique opportunity with this game that I hope they take advantage of. They already have a very beautiful comic book aesthetic with a somewhat more visually pleasing NPC dialogue system. I remember when Diablo 3 released it was criticized for being too bright for a Diablo game. Superfuse has the opportunity to really play with the visuals and design of the genre in ways that games like Diablo and Path of Exile don’t have the liberty to do without criticism due to their dark nature. I really want Stitch Heads to lean into the comic book universe of storytelling and mold a superhero experience that feels like ARPGs of old, but also brings a very unique experience with new systems and interesting boss fights that can’t be done elsewhere.
Superfuse is currently scheduled to launch into Steam Early Access later this year. The game will feature both solo and online co-op play.