Desperados 3 Head Of Design Talks About Gameplay, Characters, Skills, Next-Gen & More

Breathing new life into decade-old franchises has become a recurring theme for publisher THQ Nordic. Much like the new Comanche and the Destroy All Humans remake, Desperados 3 too looks to dust off another symbolic old franchise.

Desperados 3 serves as a prequel to the original Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive from 2001 which at the time was hailed for combining a story-driven adventure with real-time tactics. This will be the first installment in the franchise since the Helldorado spin-off from 2007 and promises to raise the stakes in stealth-oriented, strategic gameplay.

Speaking with SegmentNext in a recent interview, Moritz Wagner, head of design at Mimimi Games, discussed some of the ways in which Desperados 3 opens up alternate gameplay-styles while still encouraging stealth. Desperados 3 is primarily a stealth game but players can definitely go all in with their guns blazing. That will come at a severe disadvantage though.

Desperados 3 tasks players to assess each situation before making a move. That means there will be certain points in the narrative where depending on the characters, their weapons, and such, players can opt for a full-on gunfight. However, there will also be certain points where remaining in the shadows will be the only way to survive. Hence, it all comes down to making a choice and planning ahead in a tense western-style real-time setting.

Desperados 3 will release next week on June 16, 2020, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam. You can read through below what else Wagner shared about the game.

Your game mentions that we can play with 5 different characters. We can choose any of the character for any mission or they will be story limited?

The characters you can choose for each mission are pre-determined. There are two main reasons for this:

  • The story: The game tries to tell a compelling revenge story, centered around John Cooper. To be able to tell it in the best way possible, it’s important to know what characters go to a mission.
  • Gameplay: The fact that we as designers can remove characters from a level, allows us to create really cool enemy-setups focused on the characters you have. It also nudges players to actually learn all the characters, instead of always relying on the same few. Understanding your characters and combining their skills is a huge part of this game!

How many hours of gameplay (for a single playthrough) players can expect to have? Are missions divided into main and side quests?

This always depends on how deep the player wants to go and how good they are at this type of game. I would say the “typical” playthrough of the main story without going for any challenges is about 25 hours or more. Now if you ramp up difficulty, or try to go for some of those challenges that are all over the game, it can go a LOT higher.

Primarily, Desperados 3 is a stealth based tactical game. What if I want to go in guns blazing? How disadvantageous would that be?

Good question! Desperados 3 is a western game, so we knew guns have to be viable and are important! It is primarily a stealth game, but you can definitely use your guns. Every character has a unique type of gun that works best in certain situations. Hector for example has a sawed-off shotgun, that can take out large groups of guards. McCoy on the other hand has an almost silenced sniper, that is strong against single targets from a high range.

Now if you go in guns blazing, you will sound the alarm, which makes things harder. But even then, you can keep playing in tactical gunfight combat. With Showdown Mode you can pause the game, which gives you time to react to what is happening, carefully choose your targets amongst the guards you are fighting. You will have to manage cooldowns and ammunition, though so just like in stealth it’s about carefully analyzing what’s happening and thinking, before acting.

I think if you want to use guns a lot, the best approach is to stealth-kill some of the guards first and then, if things go wrong, switch to a gunfight. You never HAVE to use guns, though. Just want to make that clear. The game can be completed in stealth of course!

Also, if you feel like you are up to the challenge you can turn off the pause option for Showdown Mode.

Are there any puzzles in the game?

Depends on what you mean by puzzle. The enemy setups you encounter are puzzles in some ways. Sure, they have a LOT of different solutions, but you still have to figure out a way to solve them. If you mean things like Uncharted-style environment puzzles, we don’t have those in the game.

How will progression will work in the game? Is there a levelling system? How do players upgrade their skills?

There is no upgrading for skills. For our game it is very important that players and we as designers know exactly how their skills work and how the AI reacts. Everything is designed VERY tight and polished, so having the variance of “what has the player skilled how high?” would be a problem. You do unlock some new skills over the course of the game, though.

Is Desperados 3 going to be a loot heavy game? What sort of Gear will different characters will be able to acquire and equip?

There is no loot or gear in the game. It’s a tactical stealth game about finding your way through huge missions filled with guards and in the end succeed against all odds! Motivation comes from players progressing, beating the challenges of the game and getting better at playing it. Loot and RPG-like systems are not part of it.

Are there any incentives to perfectly execute the missions? From the replayability perspective, that is.

Yes, there are! Every mission has loads of so-called “Sheriffs Badges” that you can achieve. They will sometimes require you to play the missions in completely different ways. Other times they require you to do a cool or funny thing in the mission. They really boost replayability A LOT!

Can we expect to see any expansions or DLC for D3 after the release?

Yes, there are 3 DLC missions planned. They will take place after the story of the main game and offer an own storyline to follow.

We are also planning to deliver free extra content after release in the form of new Baron’s Challenges. These challenges are special twists on levels you have visited before.

There are already a lot of stealth action tactical games out there like recently released XCOM and Gears Tactics. How do you think Desperados 3 is different from them and players should buy it?

The biggest reason is this: Desperados is real-time. You can play it in your pace by pausing the game, but the titles you mention are all turn-based. This makes Desperados stand out a lot. The game feels very different because of it. You still act tactical and think before you start your moves, but it just creates a very different dynamic if you can react to things in real-time. Also, there is no randomness in Desperados 3. You know how the guards act or how much damage they deal if they hit you.

Desperados 3 is coming for Xbox One and PS4. Any plans for next-gen consoles or Nintendo switch?

Desperados 3 is coming for Xbox One, PS4 AND PC. For now, we’re focusing on these platforms.

Talking of next-gen consoles, as a developer, what do you think about the power new consoles have to offer? The power these consoles justify a generational leap?

A generation leap is definitely needed. Hardware of the old consoles is just really holding games back after so many years. So of course, it justifies it. I cannot speak to the individual specs and so on, since I’m not a technical guy. I’m really looking forward to the new consoles and I believe we will be able to create really cool stuff on the next-gen consoles!

Sony has revealed its Dualsense controller with advanced features like Haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. How do you think these features will affect the gameplay immersion for future games?

I haven’t thought about that too much, yet. I’ll have to get my hands on it and think about what could be done with it. But I’m sure there will be cool gameplay possibilities with features like this in the future, though.