Paradox Interactive posted a Dungeonland.on the official forums describing the genesis and evolution of what would become developer Critical Studio's upcoming dungeon crawler
The game started life as Hall of Goblins (aka HOG), a rather rudimentary game with geometric shapes and simple controls; two buttons, with one attacking and the other doing a special power for each of the three basic classes.
The gameplay proved to be exciting, which led to the game getting a graphic upgrade and being called Goblin Siege, which then led to the first prototype of Dungeonland, which they were tempted to call Dungeonland 3 since it was the third iteration of the same game.
However, they realized that they needed to make sure players would be playing with each other and not just playing solo with others who happened to be in the same area. Therefore, Critical had to do several things to ensure that players would rely on each other, and not let the game get predictable.
For starters, the game was made difficult so it was impossible to go solo. The game was balanced so players could play in any role with any ability. Skills are all unique so there's no duplication of roles, while discovering skill combos make the game more rewarding.
Lives are shared amongst the players so that players would be affected whenever another players died. On the other hand, when one player grabs food, all of them receive health.
The aesthetics also help as well. Like skills, there's no "reskinned" monsters - all of them are unique. While the dungeons are random, including monsters, bosses, treasures, and other challenges, there are also what the developers call "theme park rides" that are unique set pieces that provide a special challenge.
Finally, the game will allow for a human dungeon master who will be able to create challenges for the players to deal with. Much like the AI director of Left 4 Dead, the human dungeon master can wait for the right moment to plunk unexpected surprises on the players.
Finally, players could toss sheep around. As everyone knows, sheep-tossing is always fun.
Dungeonland is due to be released sometime in 2012 on PC.