So far, the most promising thing I have seen in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is its desktop world map. About a minute after the game trailer shown by Sony’s PlayStation on Thursday, two Chibi characters ran around in the field, opened a box and moved towards the mark. This is how you move from one mission to another, just like roaming between cities and dungeons in JRPG. This is not the only thing that a hybrid of D&D and Borderlands can get from Japanese RPGs.
“Random encounters will appear in tall grass, so if you are on the main road, they will not pop up, but if you try to explore, they will,” creative director Matt Cox said. “When you touch them, you will enter a small first-person area. They will have similar biomes, but they will not become part of a larger map.”
Both Cox and senior producer Kayla Belmore described these random encounters as short-lived arena-style battles, seamlessly transitioning between the main world and first-person action. Each short random encounter gives players a chance to get some loot. You can choose to join a longer encounter to get a better chance to get higher quality loot.
“We tried to let players find something worthwhile in this way by adding many things unique to the game in the main world itself,” Belmore said. “The extra exploration will take the player to the side maps. These maps are almost like entire independent modules in the same Wonderland universe. They are their own independent sub-story.”
Belmore added that there are certain small missions that are unique to the main world, so you won’t just move from one place to another between shooting and looting. Armor and melee weapons are the two new loot categories in Wonderland. Melee weapons are still downgraded to dedicated melee buttons, but different types of weapons will have different statistics and attributes.
The new loot category emphasizes Wonderland and pays more attention to character customization. Cox said that he saw a lot of people pointing to the characters in the trailer and saying that they are a specific race or class, but he emphasized that you can actually create all kinds of characters, turning them from beautiful elves into weird cannibals magic.
“Not only can you choose one of the six courses, but you can customize all the other content about it,” he explained. “Your appearance, even your voice and personality, depend on the armor pattern and the color of the armor pattern.”
Another desktop reference: Tiny Tina plays the role of “bunker monster” or dungeon master in D&D terminology. Because Tina is in charge, she can shape the world around you. These are the set moments in the game. For example, Tina will turn an idyllic castle landscape into a kingdom ravaged by fire, sulfur and terrible purple clouds on a beautiful sunny day. It is exciting to think about the potential surprises-after all, video games need more dungeon owners.