In the early days of gaming, particularly on arcade systems, your high score was your primary motivator to keep playing and mastering your skills. Earning the highest score meant you had all the bragging rights and fame associated with it, well... until some punk took away your crown.
It wasn't until games were able to introduce a narrative that the concept of a final boss was introduced. Behind every memorable story there is a really iconic and interesting primary antagonist. Some franchises defined as much by their memorable antagonists as their protagonists: Bowser, Dr. Robotnik, Sephiroth, and Gannon are some classic examples. For a game developer, putting in extra time and special care when designing a final boss will be one of the most important things you do for your game.
BioBeasts Art concepts by Thyton
When designing the final boss, we had to look back at the greats and asked the important question "What made that boss so awesome?" We came up with a few concepts we felt were important.
The final boss needed to be large in size compared to the player. One reason for this is so the player knows right away this isn't just some normal enemy they've encountered.
The final boss battle is broken up into stages to break up monotony. We know the final boss encounter could be lengthy so to make sure the boss is random enough with its attacks will keep the player engaged. Stages usually always get harder as as the battle progresses.
The final boss needs to be able to test the player. It usually shares a combination of attacks with the other enemies in the game. Everything the player has done so far will be tested so that a level of mastery of the game can be achieved.
The final boss needs to be visually appealing. More often than not the cover art of the game will feature the final boss in someway. Which means it requires the best looking asset in the game. It must look amazing so that the player forms an instant connection and want to take it out when the time comes.
So here is a epic shout out to final bosses in video games! The under-appreciated underdogs of the gaming world. We are well on our way with designing our own final boss for BioBeasts. Without giving away to much of course, we still want to keep him rather elusive as not to spoil too much of him. ^^
Questions for the reader.
- What have been your favorite final boss battles and why?
- Have you ever quit a game because a final boss was too hard?
- Have you ever purchased a game just because of the final boss art?