Today I worked.
Today I was trapped with my mind with nothing better to do than to just go from topic to topic, including me thinking up a reimagining of Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, just with my own twists on it to make the game even bigger than before.
I thought that there would be eight classes, with eight elements, with both genders, each with a secret form unlocked with New Game + (New Game + resetting levels and items, sets the story back to zero, but allows you to still access the levels from later on, the benefit being it raises the stat cap from 750/800 to 900/999). Like in the game I'm reimagining, each would have a different name (with an accompanying appearance change) at levels 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 99, for 11 total forms/names if you include the original.
Each class would have a focus stat, of which there would be eight.
Attack Speed (Elf/Archer),
Movement Speed (Jester/Temptress),
Turbo Magic (Sorcerer/Sorceress),
Potion/Item Magic (Wizard/Witch),
Damage Reduction(Armor) (Viking/Valkyrie),
Damage Tanking(Endurance/Extra HP) (Knight/Samurai),
Basic Attack Damage (Berserker/Barbarian),
And Combo Attack Damage (Warrior/Duelist).
Stats cap out at 750, 800 for the prime stat (which grows at double speed); on NG+, it's 900, 999 (the max) for the prime stat.
Yes, that would mean 256 unique characters (each needing a melee quick-attack, melee power-attack, ranged quick-attack, ranged power-attack, weak-turbo, strong-turbo, and 2-3 combo attacks), and as far as names/appearances, you'd need to multiply that by 11 for 2,816 different names/forms. (Which is mostly aesthetical, butstill.)
It sounds daunting but you'd be surprised how much the actual game proper had in it for a PS2 game (and this would presumably be a more advanced game). Like, one thing older games had (which I kinda miss from newer games) is that they had a bajillion secrets, often near-impossible to actually obtain, some even requiring cheat codes. Gauntlet: Dark Legacy among them. (I could look it up in a guide and probably still be left knowing that the guide no matter how thorough was still missing things.)
The elements of course would be my standard eight:
Earth (color scheme, various browns/greens),
Air (color scheme, yellow/green),
Water (color scheme, various blues/white),
Energy (color scheme, cyan/yellow/white),
Ice (color scheme, various cyan/white/blue),
Fire (color scheme, orange/red/yellow),
Light (color scheme, yellow/white),
And Shadow (color scheme, various grays/black).
Okay so Shadow isn't the name I normally use (I use Darkness), but it felt like 'Darkness' wasn't appropriate for an element for the given aesthetic I was aiming for here.
The game as I envisioned it would feature twelve controls--sixteen, if you count directionals.
Quick/Rapid-Attack (100% damage at normal speed),
Power Attack (200% damage at half speed),
Magic Potion (capped at 99 carrying capacity--keys would also be increased to that amount),
Sprint (uses turbo),
Tagteam (for multiplayer; uses half of both players' turbo meter),
(De)Activate Inventory Window (one thing I loved about Gauntlet Legends which Gauntlet Dark Legacy took out was the ability to NOT AUTOMATICALLY USE ITEMS since some items are best stored for later use rather than drained immediately),
(De)Activate Item (NOTE: not all items can be deactivated; all items have a cap on how much can be stored),
Scroll Left through item inventory,
And Scroll Right through item inventory.
Note that obviously, you don't need all of these at once. In fact, most are optional. Block's only used essentially to stop boss attacks, Strafe is an entirely optional mode, Sprint is designed to be an awesome thing which is never actually used, Tagteam relies on HAVING multiple players, you can't both power-attack and turbo-attack except when trying to create Combos, and it's a bad idea to be micromanaging items in the middle of a fight, so you only really deal with a small fraction of them at a time.
As I designed the game, the controls would also be adjustable, too.
A feature of the game is also combo attacks: 2-3 different attacks (which unlike in Dark Legacy can be either melee or ranged), which are about as powerful as a weak-turbo, but require specific timing in order to pull off. I'm thinking to keep it simple the combos would be power-power-weak, weak-weak-power, and then if a third, power-weak-power.
The game does feature elemental modifiers so the choice of element is not just aesthetical: against the opposite element (Fire <-> Ice, Water <-> Energy, Air <-> Earth, Light <-> Darkness), there is a two-way damage upgrade: your attacks do more damage, but the enemy does more damage to you. Similarly, against the identical element, there is a two-way damage reduction: your attacks do less damage, but the enemy does less damage to you.
This modifier only applies to rapid/power attacks and does not influence either turbos or combos.
The power attack modifier is 3: against opposite elements, doing 600% at half speed, so 300% damage.
Against the same element, doing 66% at half speed, so 33% damage.
The quick attack modifier is 2: against opposite elements, doing 200% damage.
Against the same element, doing 50% damage.
Enemies do 200% damage against opposite or 50% damage against same regardless.
As regardless of which level design I use, there will always be levels focused around enemies of one element, this means that every class will have times where they have a harder time killing things and a harder time defending against things but an easier time surviving and an easier time dishing out damage.
Speaking of level designs, I thought of one of two ideas, the latter of which is probably easier to design but makes things considerably shorter.
The first is where the game has 64 realms (one for each element/class combo), with five levels plus the boss level.
Then, a 65th "realm", a single level called Purgatory. At the end of the level, the final boss's first form would be fought.
Then, a 66th "realm", a single level called Hell. At the end of the level, the final boss would be fought.
Then, a 67th realm (with either 3 or 5 levels) called "Roots of Evil". After all levels are beaten, a bonus boss can be fought, and this is considered the conclusion of the story.
The 68th realm is considered to be the "Mission Control" hub station world you start in from which you access the shop, save, get hints, and so on and so for (the equivalent of the tower), called "Yggdrasil".
The 69th realm would be the Eternal Hall: a series of 69 interconnected levels (as in, start one, go through all of them), where you face apparitions of all the monsters, and all the bosses. It's bonus content only, unlocked after the above, and something to do purely for fun/bragging rights. (Each level would, of course, be reasonably short compared to actual levels.)
OR, a much simpler game (and thus, less fun):
8 realms, with 8 normal levels each (each level representing a different element), with a 9th level being the boss for that realm, and the boss being tied to the class and shifting through the eight elements as part of the fight.
The 9th would be a "boss realm"--a single level where you face a boss rush of all the bosses you have fought, back to back, before then facing the final boss's first form.
The 10th realm, Final Realm, is where you'd face all the monsters in the game on a single level, at the end of which you face the final boss.
The 11th realm, the Eternal Realm, would be somewhere between Roots of Evil and Eternal Hall, in that it'd have 3-5 levels, each featuring a mixture of old monsters with a new monster introduced, at the end of which there would be a bonus boss, and this would be considered the conclusion of the story.
There might be the 12th realm, where you face monsters THEN the bosses, in subsequent order, but this is not a requirement.
I also thought it'd be good to have optional extras in difficulty. Normal, Hard, and Hardcore. The only difference between Normal and Hard is that Hard features friendly fire, in that you can hurt any allies you have (thus, not influencing a solo-player).
Hardcore introduces a gradual health-drain (though, to compensate, extra food items are dropped throughout levels more periodically)--not active while in Yggdrasil, but active whenever inside a level, effectively giving you a time limit for the level as your health slowly drains away. It would be possible to switch difficulties in a game, for obvious reasons.
Also, miscellaneous thing, but at 25, all heroes unlock an ability (didn't decide if it was by class, by element, or by both, which makes the difference between 8 tied by class, 8 tied by element, or 64); at 50, this ability is upgraded and they gain a familiar (which launches an attack with them); at 75, their familiar is upgraded. I also think level 99 (the level cap) should have something, but what, not sure exactly.
That's about all I thought up in advance while at work. I'm sure I could keep delving deeper into the idea of a reimagined game were I to actually do my research. Butyeah. This is how I'd handle things.
Oh, I guess I also did some precursory thinking into some of the characters involved. Specifically, the appearance and blurb for a Fire/Ice Wizard.
For the Fire Wizard, I'd reuse the image I had for a different game which was also inspired by Gauntlet Dark Legacy, which was a laughing mad mage, and it'd have the caption: "The definition of a pyromaniac. The answer to which half dominates is 'yes'."
For the Ice Wizard, I'd have him have spiked cyan hair, and a slasher smile with all his teeth being fangs, and he'd have the caption: "As far as his enemies are concerned, cryomancy? Not cool." (I'd claim credit for that, but I'm lifting it from cryo mines and certain robots' reactions to them in Ratchet & Clank.)
But I didn't really hash things out beyond that.