Kicking ass and taking names.
Who would win in a fight between Jet Li and Sly Stallone? Better yet how about Darth Vader versus a T-1000? Debates surrounding who would own and who would be owned out on the battlefield have dominated internet chatter for a generation and after successfully parodying the fantasy genre with Magicka, Arrowhead’s next effort is looking to emulate the classic era of action cinema with a side-scrolling multiplayer combat experience which packs enough style to make John Woo piddle in his pants.
Recently we had a chance to sample a pre-alpha build of the game which only featured two characters and the Neo-Tokyo level, but we still got an idea of what the game is all about; namely style. A bit like Bizarre Creation’s The Club, Showdown is about getting stylish kills by pulling off one-liners, performing acrobatics moves like flinging yourself over a table and utilising environmental weaponry like pool cues and potted plants, as well as a wide selection of guns to dispense your target. The final version will have a cast of six heroes and six villains all playfully based on beloved blockbuster characters, like a certain buff Austrian or a gruff, balding cop and like in Magicka, these archetypes will be playfully riffed upon.
Following on from their obvious inspiration, Arrowhead are also adding a substantial level of persistent destructibility in all their environments. Neo Tokyo for example had plenty of windows, furniture and ledges to shoot out which when crumbled remained that way for the rest of the match, giving an indicator of the carnage which has preceeded you arriving on the scene.
The game’s producer, Emil Englund, also talked about a medieval level and the potential for more time sensitive arena’s inspired by other beloved flicks – e.g a jungle setting a la Rambo. That said, there will only be a handful available at launch, with more potentially added post-release.
Speaking of DLC, Arrowhead also revealed to us a new customisation system, which allows players to swap out certain components of their hero or villain to give them more attributes in battle. The example given was the Austrian’s hulking chest which grants him more health, you could potentially add this to any of the characters in the game’s roster which would grant them the given perk, however they will accrue a speed and agility penalty. It’s a similar identikit approach to loadout design which sounds like a mix between Team Fortress 2 and the Lego games, but it should add a lot of depth to the combat. Players will not only be visually different to their foes, but also potentially have a vastly different skillset with even the same characters potentially bringing different weapons and abilities to battle.
Knowing how much Arrowhead love goofy cinema and turning lovable tropes on their head, it’ll be really interesting to see how there second ever game pans out. Doing something purely PvP-focused is a massive leap for this studio in terms of balance and polish – especially as the team is planning for arenas to support as many as ten players online.
We have no doubt that they’ll do their upmost to make it the netcode work as flawlessly as possible and push the copyright boundaries to the absolute limit, while making fun of the source material at the same time. If there isn’t a Sigourney Weaver inspired heroin with a tie-in Aliens environment boot, we’ll bust out the mini-gun and head down to the studio ourselves.
We’ll have more on The Showdown Effect later this week, including an exclusive chat with design director Emil Englund.
The Showdown Effect will be released exclusively on PC before the end of the year.
Tags: The Showdown Effect
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