The next generation of melee warfare isn't winning a one-on-one by watching for a window of opportunity - it's winning that one-on-one by feeling for the opportunity. Speaking to OXM at Gamescom, Ryse: Son of Rome's creative director PJ Esteves and senior producer Brian Chalmers have discussed how the game could make use of Xbox One's most-trumpeted new controller feature - the two smaller rumble motors inside the triggers.
"We're still dialling it in," said Esteves. "We haven't featured anyone playing with it, but the crazy part about the rumble triggers is that they're so sensitive. We've done tests, and when you put it in an executable state, the controller just goes [loud, not very informative buzzing noise]. It's like, holy crap!"
Chalmers was able to offer a touch more context. "It's all about how much we can tune the vibration intensity and speed," he said. "We're looking into it as a way to 'announce' things - for example, potentially and hypothetically with executions. We could implement a rumble effect that starts low and speeds up, so you know by feel where the window of input is.
"So there's going to be some interesting stuff you can do with that. These [features] are normally offered as a sort of reward, but I think with the ability to tune these controller motors, you can open it up to other uses."
Ryse's executions are a controversial topic in some quarters, thanks to the presence of large, now-eradicated button prompts in earlier builds - some players fear Son of Rome is too simplistic to entertain. Thankfully, Jonty and Aoife's respective hands-ons reveal a fighter that retains enough brain to balance out the brawn.
Executions are a lot more sophisticated, nowadays. There's still a highlight effect to assist the hopelessly butter-fingered, but in order to nail the perfect timing (and achieve Legendary status), you'll need to be mindful of other, subtler cues - chiefly animations, the audio and camera movement. You'll also need to think about what, exactly, you want to earn from your execution - taps of the D-pad correspond to health, XP, damage and "Focus" gauge boosts.
I somehow doubt the results are going to stand comparison with, say, Devil May Cry 3, but Ryse should be smart and tough enough for most. What else would you do with those trigger motors? Perhaps they could be used during UFC wrestling matches to indicate a fatal shift in your opponent's weight.