Gunnr has 2 standalone attacks whose role is to encourage parry (yellow FX); their anticipation window/attack speed are similar to allow for consistent parry timing. [It] encourages the player to parry, but doesn’t require it. All of Gunnr’s attacks can be evaded left / right / back or parried [except] 1 unparryable (red) attack [...] performed after a series of initial attacks, so the player has plenty of time to prepare. The unblockable attack has almost zero tracking so the player can evade to the right with minimal precision. Gunnr usually evades away to initiate her standalone attacks. This gives the player an obvious visual tell but also a huge amount of layered anticipation time ~2-3s to prepare and react to the subsequent attack. [...] Gunnr has virtually no downtime after evading and then attacking which arguably makes the fight easier. This removes one less variable the player has to strategize against. The designers’ kept the intensity high, but actually put the enemy in a vulnerable position.
Unlike Gunnr, Kara’s has 2 attacks that strongly forces the player to evade/block. Since these attacks have similar startup poses, the player must identify the red FX to choose evade or block. [...] Kara shares Gunnr’s Dash, but [if] the player mistimes a parry/plays defensive, they’ll be vulnerable to nearby Draugrs, [adding tension.] Kara’s Wing swipe is a standalone attack that gives her another mixup when evading away and resetting the fight. [...] The range that Kara’s Wing swipe is initiated causes it to miss on purpose. This serves to lull the player to sleep and bait them into attacking if they aren’t paying attention or become greedy. The small burst of forward translation at the end makes this attack deceptive.
Geirdriful shares some moves from both Gunnr and Kara, but adds 2 unique attacks for a formidable/well-rounded moveset [...] Her lone closing attack is unparryable and gives her a high risk / high reward attack compared to Gunn/Kara’s dashing attack that can be parried. [...] Geirdriful’s wing swipe combo is the same as Gunnr’s, but used as a standalone attack (as opposed to Gunnr’s counter attack), another mixup to make the fight less predictable. Geirdriful shares the Gunnr wing thrust unblockable but as a standalone attack with increased translation/speed. If the player fought Gunnr first, then the removal of the wing swipes before the wing thrust unblockable will force them to relearn the cadence of this attack.
Normally I hated boss fights so it was kind of excited to design one to avoid all of the stuff I didn't like about them. [...] Designing that encounter with Daud is still one of the things I'm the most proud of. I love watching people play though it. Big blocks of text is nice for a "dev commentary", but it doesn't work well if you have a hundred docs to keep up to date or you're the person who has to read them. Simpler, but conveying more, is always the goal. That's really hard.