Ryse: Son of Rome Developer Talks Mars’ Chosen Pack and Game Updates

On Feb. 28, Microsoft Studios and Crytek invite you to return to the Colosseum of ancient Rome to take up arms in “Ryse: Son of Rome’s” most ambitious and robust add-on to date: “Mars’ Chosen Pack.” Available for $8.99 USD through the Xbox Games Store, or as part of the “Ryse: Son of Rome” Season Pass, “Mars’ Chosen Pack” adds new maps, a new character skin and a brand-new cooperative gameplay type called Survival Mode. 

In Survival mode, there is only one objective: battle alongside a fellow gladiator against endless waves of barbarians as your health gradually drains. The only way to regain health and keep death at bay is with quick kills and brutal executions, but the longer you survive, earning more gold and experience with each wave successfully cleared, the faster your health depletes.  

In addition to Survival mode, “Mars’ Chosen” Pack features five maps. Two of the maps – Firestorm and Dockyard – are specifically created for Survival Mode, and the most popular map, Courtyard, has been optimized for Survival Mode. The other two – Pyramid and Obelisk – will transport you to the distant and exotic shores of ancient Egypt in Arena Mode. Lastly, Mars’ Chosen Pack includes a new character skin: the Legionary.   

To prepare gladiators for the arena, 10 days of sales on “Ryse: Son of Rome” content will be available in the Xbox Games Store. To kick things off, from Feb. 18 through Feb. 24, the Games on Demand version of “Ryse: Son of Rome” will go on sale for $39.99 USD. Afterwards, more “Ryse: Son of Rome” discounts will be announced each day between Feb. 25 and Feb. 27 via Major Nelson and Xbox Twitter and Facebook.

Learn How “Ryse: Son of Rome” Has Evolved Since Launch

Since “Ryse: Son of Rome” launched last November, fans have immersed themselves in the chaos and brutal violence of the Colosseum. Through the course of 150,000 rounds of Gladiator mode, they have earned 2 billion gold, finished over seven million levels, and unlocked over 24 million achievements.

We sat down with “Ryse: Son of Rome’s” Senior Producer Justin Robey to talk about how the game has evolved since launch, the new Survivor Mode and the upcoming “Mars’ Chosen Pack.”

Xbox Wire:  What new elements have been added to “Ryse: Son of Rome” since launch?

Justin Robey:  A couple months ago, players may have noticed new “level events” showing up in some maps, such as Courtyard. A new enemy turret bombards your Gladiator with deadly arrows until destroyed, while reward statues of Roman deities may emerge from the sands and can be activated as a one-time bonus to boost your Gladiator’s health or Focus.

Xbox Wire: Can you tell us about any new features that may have come on-line?

Justin Robey:
We’ve made some UI and interface additions to allow you to view things such as vistas, scrolls and music tracks, and also check in on your progress as you attempt to collect them all. Coming on-line on Feb. 28, you’ll also be able to view “Chronicles and Ryse” comic book pages.

We also added leaderboards for those of you who think you got the skills to pay the bills.  You only rank if you are in the top 10,000 players, so we made it a little more hardcore than usual. Seeing your name on the leaderboard tells you that you are truly one of the best gladiators in the game right now.

Beyond that we are always looking at customer feedback and doing what we can to make the game better.  We are integrating all the new party work that was made for “Titanfall,” as well as improving the overall experience just getting into a multiplayer game.  We also made tweaks to gameplay balance and amount of gold you earn to make middle levels in the game more rewarding.

Xbox Wire: Tell us about the new Survivor mode. How is it different than Arena Mode and Solo mode?

Justin Robey:
Survivor mode changes the strategy of the arena altogether.  The premise itself is quite simple: you are bleeding out constantly, and the only way to regenerate health is to pull off executions.  Though the premise itself is simple, the strategy to succeed is anything but.  This is all about choosing when to kill barbarians and when to save them for later.  Add to that all of the mayhem we will be throwing at you during your arena experience and it starts to get really tough really fast.

More than anything you will need to work with your partner to survive.  One of you might be having the catapults target you while the other is executing enemies to keep the two of you alive.  Your partner might be taking down a group of archers while you are dropping enemies to an executable state to help carry your health over to the next round.  There are a host of new strategies that are introduced with this new gameplay mode, and more than ever co-op is the key to success. 

The best part yet is how we approached building the maps for Survivor mode.  Each map makes it a distinctly different experience.  Firestorm is all about tight corridors and creating choke points to keep you from getting swarmed, while Dockyard has wide open spaces with indestructible catapults raining projectiles down on you.  What is even more exciting are some of the additional Survivor mode maps that will be coming in future add-ons, which take this new gameplay mode even further. 

Don’t want to spoil too much, but let’s just say that sometimes where you can move around is very limited. I know, I know, EVIL!

Xbox Wire: What else is coming with “Mars’ Chosen Pack?”

Justin Robey:
On top of Survivor mode we have the new Legionary skin, and we added new themed arena maps.  These two new maps, Obelisk and Pyramid, are some of our coolest maps yet.  Pyramid involves actually defending the building of a pyramid in Egypt while Obelisk is about battling it out in an Egyptian-themed village while protecting a build site.  Pyramid is by far one of my favorites because you actually watch the pyramid get built. It’s a very different environment than what you have seen in “Ryse: Son of Rome.” Pyramid and Obelisk definitely add to the variety we wanted to have in the Gladiator Mode.