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Posted June 24, 2014 by Jeremy Jastrzab in Feature
 
 

E3 2014 Preview: Battlecry


It’s hard to know whether the name of the game or whether the name of the studio came first with Battlecry, the first title from Battlecry Studios – a subsidiary of ZeniMax Media.  Established by industry veteran, Rich Vogel, the studio was tasked with creating a new online centric free-to-play title.  With several members of the development team having been involved in RPGs, both online and offline, it was a little bit of a surprise to see a game that was so heavily action centric for Bethesda’s early foray into the free-to-play world.

The basic premise behind Battlecry is that of a ‘world without gunpowder’.  Essentially, sometime around World War I, there was a treaty signed that outlawed the use of gunpowder, and the shape of future wars completely changed as a result.  So rather than having wars fought with arsenals of ranged gunpowder-based weaponry, wars were being fought at a much closer range, with brawlers and sword wielders, while any ‘guns’ were either crossbows or guns with air bullets.

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The concept itself was pretty interesting to say the least, and the two sides or factions in the game look like they have been modelled around East vs. West – where East looks like the old personifications of Russians and East Germans, while the West is pretty stereotypical anglophiles.  Still, the artwork had a nice mix of these intricate details, some pretty rustic looking environments, while the illusion of a painted on sky actually worked pretty well and fit in nicely.

There will be five classes in the game: archer, brawler, duellist, enforcer and gadgeteer.  While the game is being designed in such a way that an ideal team will include one of each class, the development team is working hard to make sure the balance is astute enough that you could play with a team, for example, of just archers.  Also, speed and being able to move between points quickly looks like it will be an integral part of the game as well.  There are numerous points in each level that will players to zip around with a magnetic grapple.  Movement across the maps resembled something out of Titanfall.

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In an interesting twist and addition to the game, it will feature a unique method for combating a toxic online community.  Players will earn in game currency and plaudits for ‘saluting’ the best players – similar to shaking hands at the end of a good sports match.  Whether this can be developed into such a mechanism that genuinely encourages positive play will only be found on release though.

Being such a new and uncertain field, any venture into the free-to-play market is certainly going to be precarious.  While Battlecry enters a market that certainly has a lot of competition, the core systems in play in the game look a lot of fun and with the development pedigree and story development behind it, the game could very well be a hit.  It’s just a matter of whether players are willing to get away from whatever it is they are already playing, and whether there will be enough to keep them there.


Jeremy Jastrzab

 
Jeremy is the former executive editor of PALGN, and freelance journalist.


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