inXile Entertainment's Brian Fargo wants to update the classic dungeon crawler, popularised by MUDs and dark medieval adventures like Stonekeep and the Wizardry series, into the modern age for the Halo or Gears of War player with Hunted: The Demon's Forge.
The argument can be made that the dungeon crawl has already been modernised with recent hits such as Gearbox Software's Borderlands or From Software's Demon's Souls, but inXile is taking a slightly different approach with its dark third person shooter. That approach is to stick closer than ever to the Gears of War design template, focusing heavily on cover, team-based range and melee combat and what Fargo calls "co-op at a distance".
Hunted: The Demon's Forge is all cooperative action, all the time. Players will control one of two characters, the elfin E'lara, the minimally clothed bow expert, and the bulky Caddoc, good with a sword and shield. The two bounty hunters will work together, either as co-op players online or with one of them controlled by AI. Players can also swap between the two at checkpoints, for a little variety.
In the demo we saw at GDC, inXile staffers played as both Caddoc and E'lara, strategically hunting down and flanking the various ghouls and hellspawn terrorising the world of Kala Moor. While Caddoc would engage enemies at close range, shattering their wooden shields, slicing them with his massive blade and coating the screen with their black blood, E'lara would find high ground, picking off stragglers with bow and arrow.
The two also worked together to solve puzzles that required one player to stand over there, holding down a pressure plate, the other dipping her arrows in flame and setting alight the eye of a rocky, sentient statue. E'lara and Caddoc could also cast offensive and defensive versions of their magical spells, lobbing fireballs in once instance, setting the other player (in this case Caddoc) on fire to shield him with an invincible shell of flame.