The early 2000s were dominated by arena shooters such as Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena, games where the story was non-existent and the action was turned up to 11. Also, remember using that Shock rifle in Unreal Tournament and comboing the alt-fire with a primary shot to create a massive boom? Man, those were the days.
Everything is cyclical when you think about it. Fads come and go, something that the gaming industry is a prime example of. The latest such trend on the market, is an arena shooter where you’re able to do more than just run ‘ gun. You’re a hero dammit, a special snowflake who is unique just like everybody else! Overwatch is the current champ of the genre, but it has plenty of competition nipping at its heels lately.
While there may be plenty of other colourful shooters gearing up to take on Blizzard’s darling, Lawbreakers has a different aesthetic approach – one where the action is portrayed through a more grounded lens. Or as grounded as a lethal cyborg assassin can be while sprinting over airwaves. That’s going to make a big difference when the inevitable comparisons to Overwatch begin. “Well, I always cite the style, right? The majority of character-based shooters has that kind of like Pixar look to it, which, it’s not for me,” Lawbreaker’s Cliff Bleszinski said to Game Informer.
I play the s— out of games like Overwatch, Paladins is pretty cool too, but that’s not the kind of game I wanna make, you know? I wanna make the one that looks, you know, like it’s more set for the Battlefield, Call of Duty audience, so…
That’s one of the main things I’m banking on. The fact that the game is so vertical, the fact that we say “death from every angle” is the cheesy marketing line, but it makes a lot of sense. Literally, if you play the game right, you never touch the floor. So it’s a lot of fun in regards to that. And overall, the core of the core of the core of it is that it’s the super, like, shooter DNA in it. It’s not an RPG masquerading as a shooter, it’s a shooter that then has some of those elements in it first and foremost.
You know, the aiming is crisp, the hit feedback is crisp, the hit boxes are one-to-one, so like, if you have a projectile weapon, it’s not beach ball-sized. You know, I don’t wanna do any things where like you freeze people or do Scorpion “get over here” type things, it’s just not my jam. Works in other games, not for us. So much of that DNA that’s on the game that I don’t feel a whole lot of the other character shooter games and I think we wanna be the character shooter game for the Counter Strike crowd as well.
There’s something to be said for style and substance. And right now, the substance of Lawbreakers is meant to appeal to a crowd that regularly spends evenings playing games such as Call of Duty or Battlefield. “The more I play some of the MOBAs, the character-based shooters, I feel penalized sometimes for the character I chose like I chose the wrong one, like I come around the corner and face the other guy it’s so hardcore rock paper scissors, so in our game we wanna make every character have a chance to take out any other character potentially,” Bleszinski explained.
So if I’m playing as the squishy battle medic, who heals people but also has a decent gun, and I encounter a big f—— tanky juggernaut with a shotgun, I can use my jump jets and stay away from him ‘cause he’s a close quarters guy and if he’s already been in a skirmish and had his health worn down a little bit and doesn’t have his ultimate shield, I can pepper him away and actually take him out. So we have a lot of like David and Goliath scenarios in our game that I don’t see in a lot of these other character-based shooters.
Plus, you can shoot your gun behind you in zero gravity.
There’s a certain intensity to the gameplay of Lawbreakers that I’ve seen so far, and hopefully when it tag teams with its pedigree development, I’m hoping that makes for an alternative to a very popular genre right now. That, and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to actually have a chance to defend myself from too many bullets in the back. Seriously, this is one mechanic that we definitely need more of, and I’m not just saying this because I’m the worst at everything. Totally not that.