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Aztez aims to empower players to feel 'like a badass'

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Aztez, an Aztec-inspired beat-em-up from Team Colorblind, aims to empower its players by giving them agency over their actions without a lot of handholding, artist and designer Ben Ruiz told us at PAX Prime 2013.

The game "smashes together" two genres: turn-based strategy and beat-em-up. Players jump back and forth around different areas of the Aztec empire about 20 years before the Spanish invasion. According to Ruiz, Team Colorblind wanted the game to feel more like an arcade title in terms of instruction.

"Arcade games never did anything for you, and that's kind of what we're doing," Ruiz said. "It's your job to pay attention to what enemies can do, utilize what you're able to do, have a good Rolodex of everything that's happening and be awesome with your own brain. We're trying to empower people to feel like a badass, and it's hard to feel like a badass when the game does all this stuff for you."


Players head into battle with a spear, club, ritual knife or obsidian sword. Areas are based on different Aztec cities, and players hunt enemies based on different events — if there's a plague in the city, for example, the goal is to take out infected warriors.

"I really like beat-em-ups a lot, like God of War or Devil May Cry, but I hate all the things they make you do in those games in between the fights — grabbing ledges, pushing big blocks around — I think that's super tedious. We're just trying to do anything different."

Aztez is currently being developed for Windows PC, Mac, Linux and Oculus Rift; the game is expected to launch in 2014.