Arthur is a symbol of destiny, royalty, and leadership. His legend has been reinterpreted many times in various cultures and artistic mediums. Although story has been told differently, a few things always stay true. He was destined to be king from a young age, and he triumphs over any challenges along the way. He creates an era of peace in the Kingdom of Camelot, uniting a war-torn country. He fights along with his chivalrous knights, leading by example instead of from a distance. He is the ultimate hero in a world filled with warfare, magic, and dragons.
King Arthur is a strong and benevolent ruler. His mythology tells of his rise to meet his destiny by acquiring the sword, Excalibur, that has supernatural qualities. We chose to focus mainly on Excalibur and his “Warrior King” qualities for SMITE’s King Arthur. These themes will play a pivotal role in his artistic portrayal, his personality, and his ability kit.
When researching Arthur we chose a few different elements from multiple sources. No one author paints the complete picture of how we understand King Arthur. We wanted to clearly recognize his historical accomplishments, such as defeating the invading Saxons. We also wanted to include his Godlike qualities, such as Excalibur and the magical teachings of his wizard advisor, Merlin. These two sides will be fused together within the SMITE universe.
King Arthur’s legends will be seamlessly woven into SMITE’s lore. Hera is on her quest, her odyssey, to prove her leadership ability to the other Gods and to save the world from Ragnarok. To do that she must defeat Jormungandr, The World Serpent. She cannot defeat him without the help of Arthur and Merlin. Soon after Arthur’s launch we will be expanding on what happened to Arthur in between his ancient mythology and the current SMITE story timeline. Camelot was also affected by Ragnarok, and Arthur’s own kin, Mordred, sought to capitalize on the chaos to seize the throne. The SMITE story will reveal what happened and why Arthur and Merlin are the keys to stopping this catastrophe.
Arthur’s art style was heavily influenced by his legends and his proposed gameplay. We wanted to create an armor set that looked fit for the finest of kings. It needed to look intimidating and regal, but also practical. Arthur’s gameplay design requires a lot of animation and movement, so his visual concept was prepared to work well with that idea.
Arthur’s iterations weren’t as extreme as many other Gods early concepts are. We had a very strong core concept and we didn’t divert from that much. The main things we focused on were his armor and his sword.
A lot of the earlier armor concepts were too bulky to fit his combat goals. This animation heavy combat is always why we avoided too many extra accessories on him. Things like a cloak or a scabbard for Excalibur would be clunky and limit his range of motion. The final armor is large, yet sleek. The armor is fit for the the most legendary fantasy character of all time.
Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, was essentially treated as another character. His sword fighting is a huge part of his kit and presentation, so the blade had to be impressive. Through exploration, we found a great balance of metal and extravagance, with a touch of magic. The final Excalibur has a clear blade, and an impressively intricate hilt.It glows blue and then gold as Arthur powers up in combat and that magic can be seen radiating from it.
King Arthur’s Kit focuses on melee combos. He has a lot of abilities and low cooldowns and mana costs. Because of this design style he benefits greatly from a tanky warrior build that allows him to stay in the fight for longer periods of time so he can keep comboing. Items like Gladiator’s Shield are core on him for sustain.
Arthur’s attacks feel very different from the rest of the SMITE roster. Most SMITE Gods are able to rotate extremely quickly and move in any direction while firing their abilities. Arthur’s abilities have the movement and rotation driven by the animation. This creates a more action game feel. The God plays more like a Dark Souls or Monster Hunter character with a greatsword, and we were of course inspired by games like God of War, Devil May Cry, and Bayonetta as well.
His combo system was designed with a Smash Bros. or Soul Calibur style in mind. Which means: the God has a large set of single abilities that players will need to string together on their own to create combos. We specifically designed the God to not have long scripted combos specified by the designer. As a result, King Arthur will most likely have a high skill cap. The amount of choices and different ways to execute his kit will be more freeform than any other God in SMITE. The best Arthur players will need to change their loadout order in each situation, instead of trying to repeat the same order of abilities each time.
King Arthur’s unique gameplay features are:
This combination of gameplay elements creates a new type of SMITE God. Arthur can use his abilities at a pace that no other God can, but he must react quickly and aim properly to make sure he is effective in combat. The character handles especially well with a controller, and the team is excited to see how the console player base feels about him.
King Arthur will be joining SMITE in update 5.24 as SMITE’s 99th God. Merlin, the Great Wizard will be joining soon after as the long awaited God number 100! We planned around God 100 to make sure the full set of Gods were exciting to the community. Arthur and Merlin would not have happened without Jormungandr, Horus and Set. We wanted something new and interesting for our big milestone, but we also wanted the most long awaited Gods from community discussions. These all come together to make Season 6 an awesome year for SMITE!