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© 2019 by  Karan Sahu

Just Cause 4

An over-the-top action-adventure game set in an open world environment that provides the players absolute freedom to navigate the world using best traversal mechanics in the genre, pull off insane stunts using the sandbox toys and create massive explosions along way.

As a Gameplay Designer for Just Cause 4, more specifically the Destruction Designer, I was responsible for creating physics-based destruction and gameplay objects that the player can interact with using any and all player mechanics available to them. It involved taking ownership of not only the iconic Chaos Objects of the Just Cause franchise but also all of the set piece destruction, numerous props and multiple physics-based gameplay objects present throughout the game. Official website: Just Cause 4

 

On a high level, I worked with other designers to understand their requirements. I designed and prototyped objects to get an idea of how the object should behave. Once the gameplay was established, I collaborated with environment artists, vfx artists, and sound designers to realize every object to a shippable quality.

 

The video below showcases a few of the destruction pieces that I designed and created for Just Cause 4, including a Trestle Bridge. All objects are purely physics based and react to all types of damage in the game. In this case – a swirling Tornado ripping through the streets of Solis. This is part of the Tornado campaign.

Wind Cannon

A physics gameplay object that was developed initially for the Tornado campaign. Down the line, it was added to the sandbox toolkit that would be available to the player through the Supply Drop system of the game. I designed the destruction sequence and guided another designer to set it up in the game engine.

 

I also set up an alternate method of destruction that doesn’t involve any bullets or explosives, but rather uses the Booster physics - a feature that was mentioned in a few articles.

“One particular sequence is also indicative of what the grappling hook mods are capable of; destroying massive wind cannons that impede progress with boosters wasn’t only the most efficient method, but watching these heaps of steel frantically spin out of control was a sight to behold.” – Gamespot 

 

They teased an idea in the trailer that I thought I’d give a try – using the booster grapples to turn the air cannon into a deadly whirligig worked like a charm, as not only did the tornado edge closer, but the cannon proceeded to careen around the airfield like a giant steel balloon with its knot cut. Things got messier (read: way better) when the next cannon got the same treatment, only this time I added Airlifters to make sure that it stayed airborne, blasting unsuspecting enemies and vehicles into the path of the oncoming twister.” – IGN

Tropical Storm Weather Base

The Tropical Storm campaign finale reaches its ultimatum at this location. The base is surrounded by constant lightning and pouring rain, providing a constant threat to the player. They are tasked with destroying the Core responsible for creating the storms and the only way to do that is to use the lightning against it.
To destroy the Core, the player must destroy:

  •     Lightning Rods around the base

  •     Heated maglocks on the Core’s support structures

  •     Shoot the Core with boat’s lightning mortar
     

Tropical Storm Weather Base - Maglocks Exposed
Tropical Storm Weather Base - Core Expos

I was responsible for scripting the gameplay and destruction for the Core and Lightning Rods and collaborated with the Lead Level Designer and Lead Player Mechanics Designer to establish the sequence of events that occurs with the associated gameplay.

Turbine Generator

A physics based destruction Chaos Object that was designed so that the player has to manage their resources between destroying the object and fending off enemies while they do it. Majority of the Chaos Objects in the Just Cause franchise have been designed to allow the player to cause havoc from a distance without ever having to show themselves down. This object was purposefully designed for the opposite purpose.

 
In order to destroy the object, the player needs to pull it out from its wall socket using their Retooler functionalities available to them – Retract, Booster or Airlift. Once exposed, they need to destroy the revolving red cylinders using any means necessary.

I was responsible for scripting the gameplay and destruction for the Core and Lightning Rods and collaborated with the Lead Level Designer and Lead Player Mechanics Designer to establish the sequence of events that occurs with the associated gameplay.

Sandbox Objects

“Solis has its secrets,” our lead design used to say throughout the production of Just Cause 4. Just like Solis, the fictional land where Just Cause 4 takes place, most of the destruction objects in the game has its own secrets.

JUST CAUSE 4

Vertical Fuel Tank

An iconic Chaos Object in the Just Cause franchise. It is completely physics driven and the player can interact and/or destroy with it with any tools they have at their disposal. The secret to this tank lies underneath. If you shoot the pipe on which it stands, the tank dislodges itself and one can create a makeshift missile.

Food Cart

An ordinary prop turned into a transport vehicle by the propane tanks installed inside it. Initially the frame was opaque and the player couldn’t see whats inside. I pushed for grated frames and collaborated with an environment artist to get it in the game.

Mobile Radar

A Chaos Object that is a Radar for the Black Hand, the enemies in the game. The narrative being that the Black Hand can move these around and set these up pretty much anywhere they want. The secret is that it can also function as a catapult for relatively light-weight objects. There are two red panels on the sides behind covers. The player can either shoot the red panels or use their Retract function to activate the catapult. PS – activating both panels at the same time moves the catapult with a greater force.

Systematic Chained Explosion

For a good portion of the project, if a player shot and destroyed an explosive barrel in a cluster of barrels all of them would instantly explode. This resulted in numerous explosions going off within a span of a few frames. This was too much sensory overload along with performance drops.


To resolve this, I came up with a design that if a player destroys a barrel with bullets, other barrels in the cluster would get pushed by the explosion force from the first barrel and explode randomly within a span of a few seconds. This helped the above mentioned issues and also added a feeling of randomness to the experience.

Espinosa Tower

A physics driven destruction sequence that takes place towards the end of the Tornado campaign.

Gas Station

Another iconic destruction of the Just Cause franchise. I added fuel valves as part of the gas station. These valves represent the underground fuel storage.

Turbine Generator – Invulnerable