All About Horses – Twitch Stream Recap

Welcome to another Twitch stream recap blog! We’re hosting biweekly streams on our Twitch channel where we talk to Torn Banner developers, community members, and we’ll soon be debuting upcoming features! Be sure to follow us over on our Twitch profile so you get notified every time we go live.

During our public test of the Tenosian Invasion content players were able to get their hands on horses for the very first time. In our latest Twitch stream took a look at horses in Chivalry 2 and chatted about the design process behind them.

You can watch a VOD of our latest stream here on our Twitch channel, or archived on our YouTube channel below.

Development of Horses

We knew from the beginning that we wanted horses to be a core part of the Chivalry 2 fantasy. We also wanted cavalry to check all the same boxes as for our foot combat – depth to allow players to explore the gameplay and become really good at it, and the ability to live through hero moments – but also show the carnage and “fleetingness” of a single life on the battlefield.

With the introduction of horses into the world of Chivalry we wanted to make sure that what we give to players feels right. We have and are always focusing on the game feel of Chivalry 2, which means extensive amounts of testing and iteration. As a team we want to take risks and try out novel approaches to new combat mechanics while still applying enough scrutiny willingness to discard designs after playtesting them if they don’t fit the vision or gameplay feel we’re looking for.

As such, horses have been through many iterations throughout the games development, and since they were first previewed when Chivalry 2 was announced. The biggest difference since then would be the overall control scheme and how players maneuver on the horse. This includes the core moveset, how the horse is controlled, and how movement is balanced. We believe these to be critical elements that will play into the success of cavalry being a Chivalry 2 staple.

Challenges of Designing Horse Gameplay

From the beginning we had some very clear ambitions for horse gameplay and one of these was to get the feel of maneuvering the horse right. The team has always talked about conveying the idea of the mouse of gamepad stick being like the reigns, and other parts of the moveset being the heels, and really making it feel like you are maneuvering a real animal, without losing control snappiness and without it getting into the way of combat. That was certainly one of the key challenges.

Another big thing for us was integrating lance combat, and getting the fantasy of charging into enemies with a lowered lance right, without breaking the balance of the game.

Finally we wanted hand-to-hand combat on the horse feel fun and engaging to players. Making sure that mounted combat feels coherent with combat on foot, while also providing an additional layer in the combat that requires new tactics and allows new behaviors was an exciting balance for our design team to strike. In their current state we feel very satisfied at how the basic horse movement feels and how we have been able to strike a balance between creating hero moments for players in terms of mounted combat, while also being vulnerable and never feeling like you are overpowered while mounted.

Spawning on Horseback

For the new Team Objective maps featuring horses, players will receive a prompt to Join the Cavalry, allowing them to spawn on a horse during the next wave of cavalry. These spawns are limited and players will be randomly selected. Horses can also be found on the map itself for players to mount by approaching them and interacting with the horse.

For Team Deathmatch maps featuring horses, players will be randomly selected to spawn with a horse upon death. Up to twelve active horses can be present at one time, and horses are currently only present in the new maps featured in the Tenosian Invasion update.

At any time you can climb aboard an unoccupied horse regardless of its faction. Horses change their appearance based on the faction riding them so any horse without a rider is fair game.

Into the future we will be exploring ways to best incorporate horses into the game and within our existing content in order to give players the best Chivalry experience.

Horse Movement and Attacks

Horses can kick opponents in front and behind them with jab (R on keyboard, R3 press on controller) and kick (F on keyboard, Circle on PlayStation controller, B on Xbox controller) inputs. Horse movement is controlled with the camera while also having direct WASD impact on movement. The combination of both of these movement types allows for a greater range of movement abilities for the horse, including the ability to strafe left and right while on horseback.

An important aspect to playing cavalry is keeping momentum. Always be moving for your best chance at staying alive especially since horses cannot be healed or regenerate health like the player can. Horses allow for very quick transportation which allows you to pick the fight you want; and surprise your enemies. Horses have various states of speed. Once a horse reaches a gallop after naturally increasing its running speed, the rider is able to knock over opponents similarly to how a player gets tackled on foot. Using Sprint inputs will cause the horse to reach a full gallop and build even more speed. As a horse builds up speed, the harder it will be to turn with the horse. Decreasing your speed will allow for quicker turns to be performed. Turning a horse involves looking where you want to go using your mouse/controller sticks. 

With the lance in-hand you can perform a “drive-by” attack, especially with the lance and its couched strike (see couching explanation below) allowing you to stay mobile and deal maximum damage to your enemies.

Weapons on Horseback

Horses bring a lot of new gameplay opportunities to the battlefield.  New tactics are required as you’ll be able to move in different ways in a 1v1 fight, and different distribution of swings (with overheads/stabs generally being better than slashes).

When you spawn on a horse you’ll spawn with a lance in hand. When a gallop is reached, attack inputs will turn into a focused, constantly active horizontal state known as “couching”. If aimed accurately, the rider will deal massive damage to an opponent. Players can input a timed lunge for extra damage during this state. Couching will cause a player’s stamina to drain over time. If there is not enough stamina, a normal stab attack will be used instead. The lance will break after three successful hits and the player’s primary weapon will be drawn in its place.

Standard weapons can also be used on horseback and attack normally. As the rider moves, the weapon’s damage output will multiply based on the horse’s speed. All melee weapon based attacks will receive this multiplier. Special attacks can be used while riding on a horse, however a few weapons will have a different special attack while on horseback:

  • Highland Sword – Low sweeping attack on the right side
  • Two-handed Spear – Hard hitting stab attack
  • Lance – as described above

When it comes to weapon selection on horseback you should consider that the height advantage you have can also become a weakness if you pick the wrong weapon to attack with, but any long and pokey weapon is good for cavalry. Two-handed weapons have strong synergies with horse combat, such as two-handed axes (via overheads), or two-handed swords (via stabs). Overall these are just suggestions and we look forward to seeing what players come up with to make the most of mounted combat!

Fighting Against Horses

If you’re dealing with an enemy on horseback there are a few effective ways you can deal with them. Using long range weapons to reach the horse while staying out of range from the rider is very effective. At close range the spearplant will cause the horse to staggered giving you time to attack. And if you’re able to kill the rider first you can steal your enemy’s horse.

Upcoming Streaming Schedule

Be sure to follow the Torn Banner Studios Twitch channel and join us for our next Twitch stream on June 8 for more sneak peaks on upcoming Tenosian Invasion content – as well as to celebrate Chivalry 2’s one year anniversary! We will be exploring the development of the four new maps coming to Chivalry 2 this summer.

You can always stay up to date on the bigger items the team is working on at the Chivalry 2 Road Map. And don’t forget: for help be sure to visit the Chivalry 2 Knowledge Base and Support Site, community discourse – Discord, follow us on Twitch, and read all the latest news on our Social (Twitter & Facebook).