Babylon's Fall third beta test begins November 15, adjustments highlighted

In a broadcast airing today, the Babylon’s Fall team highlighted the major adjustments from previous beta phases and shared more information on the third, upcoming test – set to go live on November 15th. Producers Junichi Ehara and Yosuke Saito were present from Square Enix, and PlatinumGames was represented by director Kenji Saito and operations director Takahisa Sugiyama.

You can read our summary of the broadcast below:

What is Babylon’s Fall?

Babylon’s Fall is developed by PlatinumGames and produced by Square Enix. It’s an online action RPG that uses PlatinumGames combat style in the hack-and-slash genre and brings that to online multiplayer with teams of four people. Currently, the game is being developed for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Steam. For those unfamiliar with the hack-and-slash genre, which producer Yosuke Saito cites as game where you defeat enemies and collect the weapons and armor they drop thereby making yourself more powerful to progress through more difficult challenges. He references play sessions of Diablo 2 with Yoko Taro and Takahisa Taura.

Director Kenji Saito adds that Babylon’s Fall will have weapons and armor available as loot drops, which you can mix and match to create your character build. Armor have built-in skills that are triggered by the player’s actions, such as a perfect evasion or hitting enemies multiple times. Some activate when you attract the enemies’ hate, and others may activate when you move into a rear position behind an enemy. To function as a party, it’s important that you evaluate how you are using these skills and how you build your character’s equipment. Controlling enemy hate levels is also part of the game’s mechanics.

The team apologizes that it’s been a long time waiting since the game was originally announced back in 2018. It’s the first server-and-client-based online game that PlatinumGames has developed, so they conducted a lot of testing through Phase 1 and 2 of the closed beta. With the help of testers, the team confirms they are running in a “good and stable state.” Phase 3 will be a larger-scale test where they will be recruiting additional testers.

Closed Beta Test – Phase 1 & 2 Review

Previous small-scale beta phases were conducted this summer, with Phase 1 taking place in July/August and Phase 2 in September. The goals for these tests were to test various operations, the amount of server stress induced in multiplayer mode, and various game system checks. The team confirmed there were no major issues relating to server load, and players were able to access a very small part of the game.

Before Phase 3, the team had time to review and implement various player feedback they collected in previous tests. Generally, these improvements were to better visibility in the game’s oil painting visual style, improved character actions, and add additional information about the various “attack modes” you can select.

The team wanted to have a brushwork art style for the game, and wanted to retain that style while also improving general visibility.

Regarding actions, the player has something called a Gideon Coffin attached to their back, which grants them the superhuman powers of a “Sentinel.” It allows you to wield four weapons at once, which will float behind you. Players have a light attack that prioritizes speed and heavy attacks that are powerful but leave openings in your defense. Gideon Arms, which use the weapons in the Gideon Coffin, are a method of attacking that isn’t affected by what you’re currently doing, meaning you can use them in conjunction with your other inputs. You can have two Gideon Arms and equip a different weapon to each one. They’re powerful to use but will expend energy, so you have to deploy them wisely. You can equip different styles of weapons, and the core gameplay will revolve around tinkering with these combinations.

Swords are used to attack quickly and string together multi-hit combos; in testing, the team hasn’t adjusted the speed too much, but the input timing for stringing light and heavy attacks into the next attack has changed, which they feel has greatly improved the response time and control. They have also improved the input window for cancelling into an evade from an attack for all weapon types to fall in line with other PlatinumGames titles. Additional characteristics have been added to weapons, where swords will power up if you continuously hit the enemy and speed will increase up to three higher levels to get more hits in. As a team you’ll want to focus your attacks on one target and avoid breaking off to another to take advantage of these speed increases. A sword set to a Gideon Arm will attack other targets which can help you stay focused on another.

Hammers have been adjusted to be more responsive when executing light and heavy attacks, but care has been taken not to reduce the weight feel of its moves. It’s now possible to move while charging light or heavy attacks, but now you can evade while charging. The player will now walk instead of run while charging the hammer’s spectral attack. A “War Cry” ability has been added to gather hate from enemies, which can be activated by pressing the Gutwork button while charging a heavy attack. While charging up for an attack, if an enemy hits you, you will power up. To accommodate this, defense has been increased while charging, and the weapon type is more fit for a tank role..

Subtler changes have been made to bows, where the fundamental movements haven’t been changed but new features have been added. When you activate a combo’s finishing move, you can increase the rate of fire during combos. Like swords, there are three increasing levels to this bonus and the more consecutive combo finishers you land, the faster the attack cycle becomes. The charge attack has also been changed from increasing the amount of arrows fired, to a base increase in the power of your shot instead. The number of arrows you shoot at once is affected by how far in the combo you are – so if you string a long combo into a charge attack you will be able to put greater power into multiple hits. This works for the Gideon Arms as well. You can also speed up your charge time but using an evade mid-charge. The adjustments reflect that simply firing single arrows won’t increase your damage output.

Rods have had more changes applied to them. In previous phases, light and heavy attacks would consume energy, now landing a light or heavy attack would recover some of your energy. Charging a light attack will still recover your energy but you have to stand still while doing so. The attack released would previously affect a wide area, but has been change to fire multiple ranged shots instead, where the number of projectiles will increase with the charge level thereby allowing you to recover more energy on it. The goal is to encourage play where you actively recover your lost energy then use it to unleash powerful attacks with the Gideon Arms. While charging Gideon Arms, and energy field appears around the player that will further increase the power of projectiles cast while inside it. It will dissipate after a certain time and will need to be recast if needed; teamwork to draw enemies away from the rod-user will be key.

Shield has had the most changes of any weapon type, and the adjustments that have been performed are based on the idea that it should be paired with another weapon. The shield can now defend against almost any type of attack to a certain degree and the power of your next attack will increase after guarding. A taunt action where you bang your shield has been added to draw in enemy hate. Parrying previously didn’t have hit detection like attacks, but that’s been added so you can take down enemies with just the parrying motion itself. It’s difficult to defeat an enemy with just parries and you’ll have to be careful aiming it. Using the shield with a Gideon Arm will raise an energy barrier that uses energy but will be tough enough to deflect minor enemy attacks. You can equip two shields on your Gideon Arms, with the second acting as a reflective barrier for projectiles when charged. Using two shields and then manually blocking will reflect physical damage back to enemies. You can also parry in this state, which can even deflect attacks from mid-level and larger bosses.

“Attack modes” have also been changed to be more comprehensible: Standard Mode is the first style you unlock and lets you put together combos easily without too many quirks and it doesn’t use a lot of energy, which makes it easy to recover energy as well. Power Mode prioritizes attack power, and individual swings are heavy and slow. Using Gideon Arms in this mode consumes a lot of energy but the payoff a lot of damage – you’ll also get an extra charge level for charged attacks. Technical Mode is the most difficult to understand and has several combo routes available. If you perform combo routs correctly followed by a finishing attack, you’ll see a flash that will prompt you to activate a Gideon Arm. If done so correctly, you can use a special attack. These modes will unlock as you proceed through the game. Your arms can have their modes set independently so it’s possible to have Power Mode set on one, while using Technical Mode or Standard Mode on the other.

Closed Beta Test 3 Main Adjustments

Additional parts of the game have been adjusted for the third test, such as enemy HP scaling based on the number of party members with you. Smaller changes to terminology and weapon effects have been adjusted to be easier to understand. A character creator will be available and you are able to select from 5 available weapon types and undertake 3 playable dungeons at two different difficulty modes.

Elements that won’t be in the test phase but will be present in the retail version include the story, gutwork (except for a few select actions), certain UI adjustments, a “private base” feature, and weapon crafting. Since this is a live service game, additional adjustments will come after launch. The team apologized for the lack of tutorials in the game, but the launch version will have them to explain the game’s various systems. New game modes will debut as well. Keyboard and mouse support will be added to the PC version of the game. More information will be shared through the game’s official channels.

The closed beta test 3 schedule is as follows:

Closed Beta Test 3

PS5 • PS4 • Steam
Begins: 11/15/2021 18:00 JST
Ends: 11/17/2021 17:59 JST

Application period ends 10/28/2021 11:59 JST. Streaming and uploading are allowed.

North America
Closed Beta Test 3

PS5 • PS4 • Steam
Begins: 11/15/2021 1:00am PST
Ends: 11/17/2021 12:59am PST

Application period ends 10/27/2021 7:59pm PDT. Test details here. Streaming and uploading are allowed.

Closed Beta Test 3

PS5 • PS4 • Steam
Begins: 15/11/2021 09:00 GMT
Ends: 17/11/2021 08:59 GMT

Application period ends 28/10/2021 03:59 GMT. Test details here. Streaming and uploading are allowed.

In closing, director Saito says that additional graphical improvements are on the way and he hopes that players will appreciate that. Producer Sugiyama is blown away that they’ve come this far and that for a live-service game it’s important to listen to players and consider their feedback. He hopes players will continue to support them after launch as they have fun making the game together with everyone. Producer Yosuke Saito commented that if you’ve seen the game for the first time today, he hopes what you saw was exciting. He’s thinking of streaming some of his gameplay during Phase 3 and hopes to match up with players. Even though it’s only a test, he doesn’t get this chance often to experience this with players.

A release date hasn’t been announced yet, but the team wants to complete Phase 3 and make as many adjustments and fixes as they can based on feedback from the testers so that the retail version can proceed in a safe and stable state. Square Enix is already playing versions of the ROM that PlatinumGames sent them and it contains a large amount of content that it’s been difficult to check it all. In the meantime, they ask for players’ patience for when the game’s release date will be announced.

About the Author

Tony Garsow Tony joined Nova Crystallis in 2015, and has spent more than a decade writing in the Final Fantasy community. He also contributes to the Nova Crystallis Twitch and YouTube channels, where you can watch select gameplay highlights, previews, and streams.