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Developer Diary: The Cinematic Combat System

by Gorath, 2007-05-09

Master Creating´s Creative Director Jan Beuck gives an insight into the development process of their upcoming action-RPG Legend - Hand of God.

The Cinematic Combat System

The Cinematic Combat System – in short: CCS – describes the way of fighting in LEGEND. My personal opinion is that this feature will rejuvenate the genre. At least this is what I hope, because now that I’m used to the CCS, I just can’t enjoy other action RPGs anymore.

An example: We all know how it usually takes many, many hours to reach an end boss. The boss looks impressive, and you expect a challenging fight – but when you hit him in the knee, he doesn’t react to the stimulus at all. Or even worse: hitting the boss in the knee seems to cause him serious chest pain. Did I accidentally pick the acupuncturist when choosing my class? Be that as it may, the giant‘s huge weapon hits the ground meters behind me. Ha, now his size suddenly is a big drawback! Or not: I seem to take damage no matter what. And in the end, one of us slumps with an arrow in his back… huh?

Not only does this type of combat look wrong, it also destroys immersion and takes the drama out of the battle. All I can do is imagine how this fight would have looked in a movie. And so we we came about the idea that combat should have the look of a chorerographed render sequence - of course without losing the direct dependence on the character’s skills and equipment.

A simple idea, yet difficult to implement… so we hired a Vietnamese master of Escrima. Escrima is a martial art from the Philippines which can be practiced with any combination of twenty different weapons, both one-handed and two-handed. This was ideal because we needed a corresponding reaction for each weapon. Instead of using motion capturing, we handcrafted all animations in a painstaking process because we wanted a seamless fit for all actions. Besides, it can be difficult to get a troll-sized mocap suit…

The result is one of the highlights of LEGEND!

If it’s the only way to get at an enemy’s vulnerable spot, the hero will jump. He will also execute a blocking animation with his shield – if he has a shield, and if his enemy isn’t a giant. I mean, why would you even attempt to block a tree-sized club with a shield? In LEGEND it wouldn’t do you any good – the only way to avoid damage would be to leap aside, which is exactly what the hero will do… at least sometimes. If he doesn’t, a direct hit will probably send him flying.

If we fight a smaller enemy, it will be the other way around. Now enemies will have to jump at our throats or dodge our blows: the little guys cannot block our attacks because they are too weak! We can easily block their attacks with our shields or swords, however. If we fight with an axe, we prefer the duck-and-dive approach to evade their attacks. This may not always be easy as small enemies tend to be fast… Now you know that our CCS doesn’t just look better; different equipment will also have a different effect on small, medium-sized and large enemies.

That’s about it. I hope my entry served to shed some light on one of the coolest features of the game.

See you,


Box Art

Information about

Legend: Hand of God

Developer: Master Creating

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Action-RPG
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: 10-20 hours
Voice-acting: Full

Regions & platforms
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2007-09-28
· Publisher: dtp

North America
· Legend - Hand of God
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2008-08-01
· Publisher: THQ

More information

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