Acid Nerve talks all things Death’s Door

Here's a taste of what to expect from the title, announced earlier today.

Death’s Door was announced during this morning’s ID@Xbox showcase, and Stevivor was able to sit down ahead of the full reveal to chat about the title.

Stevivor sat down –virtually, that is — with Acid Nerve’s Mark Foster and David Fenn to discuss Death’s Door‘s look, bosses and more.

Steve Wright, Stevivor: What lessons have you learned between Titan Souls and Death’s Door and how have you implemented improvements in this coming release?

Acid Nerve: I’m not sure if these are so much ‘lessons’ as differing approaches, but Titan Souls was a very minimal and focussed game, all about exploring one mechanic, which forced us to be creative when it came to the boss designs.

We really enjoyed this part of creating Titan Souls, and wanted to take what we learnt and apply it to a more fully-fledged and ambitious adventure, with lots of depth, variety, exploration and secrets etc. So where Titan Souls is a sensibly-scoped indie game, Death’s Door is basically us using the success of Titan Souls as a means to create our dream game using that experience as a foundation.

Stevivor: Is it as simple as the land of the living is in colour and that of the dead is black and white? Can you speak to the design decision to make this distinction?

Acid Nerve: I won’t go too much into story stuff, but that’s mostly right – the greyscale world (‘The Hall of Doors’)  is specifically where the Crows work, and acts as a contrast to ‘the world beyond the doors’ which is where you must travel to for your assignment.

Stevivor: Has combat been balanced for those who want to go wholly close combat or long-range? Or will players need to master all the tools at the Crow’s disposal?

Acid Nerve: You will need to attack enemies with your melee weapon to gain ‘charge’ for your long-range attacks, so the game encourages you to adapt to using both. Melee attacks are  faster but they are riskier, however you won’t be able to just take it easy firing from a distance.

That said, you can adapt your build somewhat to favour one approach over another. For example, you could prioritise upgrading your long-range damage and movement speed, and focus on the fastest melee weapon that lets you get your charge up and then get clear as efficiently as possible, allowing you to deal more damage from a distance.

Stevivor: How much character customisation is involved? And is it cosmetic, stat-based or both?

Acid Nerve: You will upgrade your character’s core stats throughout the game, and these are tuned so that you will generally want to adapt it to your preferred playstyle – you probably won’t fully max out every stat on one run. You’ll unlock a variety of long-range abilities through the game and you will also be able to find alternative weapons, which have varying stats and special effects. The main cosmetic change will just be your choice of weapon.

Stevivor: Conversations look quite important — how would you describe Death’s Door’s humour and the work you’ve done to get these interactions just right?

Acid Nerve: We put a lot of thought into the presentation and economical use of dialogue. We’ve struck what we think is a good balance where there is enough proper story to get invested, but not too much that you’ll get overwhelmed and lose a sense of pace.

Characters tend to talk with punchy, short lines of dialogue, with bespoke text styles and animations, so we’ve avoided ever putting you into the situation where you feel like you’re reading a book. The humour is intended to be a little bit surreal – the setting is dark and sinister, but the characters you meet are endearing, which should help give you some motivation on your quest.

Stevivor: Can you give us a bit of a taste with what to expect in boss battles?

Acid Nerve: The boss battles are a chance for us to turn everything up to 11, and act as a culmination for each chapter of the game.

Stevivor: Is Death’s Door planned for Xbox Game Pass? And can you speak to the reason why or why not?

Acid Nerve: It isn’t planned for Game Pass.

Thanks to the studio for its time.

Death’s Door heads to Windows PC and Xbox One later in 2021.

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About the author

Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.