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An interview with Chris Fox of Phoenix Labs

chris fox game designer

Chris Fox – Phoenix Labs

Ebuyer’s resident gamer, Jacob the Bear, recently caught up with game designer Chris Fox at Pax South in San Antonio, Texas.

Chris and his team at Phoenix Labs have been working hard on their soon-to-be-released co-operative action game, Dauntless.

After playing a beta version of the game Jacob sat down with Chris to talk about Dauntless and PC gaming.

Dauntless? Break it down for us.

Sure! Dauntless is a four player co-operative action game. It’s all about you and three friends teaming up, gearing up and taking on massive behemoths.

Our city is called Ramsgate Bluff, and is where you are going to find all the vendors, places you can craft, upgrade your armour and make your weapons. It is also where different factions will have quests for you.

Everyone gathers there. You make your party of four and you head out into the Shattered Isles where you take on the behemoths.

You fought Panguard today, Strike is also in the demo. We’re aiming to have over a hundred hours of gameplay when we go into open beta in the fall.

If like myself, you’re a loaner and don’t have four friends. How do you cope as a solo player?

It’s really simple to jump into a game right away. You can match up really easily in the city with other people who are on the same quest as you or who are looking to defeat the same behemoth as you.

Is there lore or a story line running through the game or is it kind of an open sandbox experience?

We’ve talked about it a little bit so far and revealed a small amount in our trailer. The idea is you’re from this place called the Shattered Isles, it’s the floating remnants of worlds.

The behemoths are trying to harvest ether from the world and it’s up to you to stop them. Ether powers all your weapons, it’s also what the behemoths feed on. That’s the set up for it. We have a full time writer on staff and will have some really cool lore behind it as to why you’re fighting these guys.
daundless behemoths


In terms of your factions do you have to stick with that? Or can you swap out your character from time to time?

For us, we don’t want to lock players into a specific role. So you won’t find players stuck in a healer role or DPS class. It’s more about you as the slayer changing your load out based on the task at hand.

So, when you first log into the game you make your character with the generator. Select your gender, skin tone, face shape and you start off with a sword.

But then you can make any weapon you want. Of the three weapons we showed today, we have the hammer, the axe and the sword which you can swap between games. You can change your armour sets and your load out.

We want you to be able to look at what the challenge is and act accordingly. Change your gear, change your abilities. You’re never really locked into one thing. You play it how you want to play it.


daundless screenshot


Where does the inspiration come from?

We at Pheonix really love action games. That visceral, combo based action stuff. We played a lot of Monster Hunter and Dark Souls.  Personally as a combat designer I love anything by Platinum games.

So you were as upset as I was when Scalebound got cancelled?

I was really looking forward to Scalebound. I actually met Hideki Kamiya at GamesCon and shook his hand and said “I’m looking forward to it so much”. But, it wasn’t to be I guess. But I am really looking forward to NieR:Automata.

Fun action games, awesome co-op experiences and just hanging out with friends. That’s kind of what we’re about at Phoenix Labs.

So do we have a launch date for this?

We’re going to have an open beta of Dauntless come out this fall. The first time we’re going to let everyone get in there and play. We’re free to play on the PC so we want as many people to play as possible.

Will this be a PC only title?

For now we’re focusing on PC. We’re a small team and we’re never going to say no to any opportunities elsewhere, but our main aim is to get this PC version as good as possible.

The game looks stunning. How power hungry will this game be graphically?

Thank you. Part of being free to play is we want as many people on as many different machines as possible to play the game. We’re a little far out for exact specs but we’re going to be able to be played on a wide array of machines.



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Jacob The Bear

Resident gamer

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