If the multiplayer online battle arena is the video game genre that’s dominated the last few years, both in the number of developers trying to cash in on its popularity and in its esports appeal, then the arena shooter may be the next big trend in gaming and esports.
LawBreakers, the newest arena shooter in a growing list of announced but as-of-yet unreleased games, today revealed its fast-paced and frenetic gameplay. And, despite a crowded field of competitors, it appears to be one of the most promising titles on the horizon. Don’t believe us? Check it out for yourself.
LawBreakers is the first title for fledgling gaming studio Boss Key Productions, but the minds behind Boss Key are far from amateur. Founded by Cliff “Cliffy B” Bleszinski (Gears of War, Unreal) and Arjan Brussee (Battlefield Hardline, Killzone), Boss Key features some of the greatest developers in shooter history. And now, those minds have set out to tackle a free-to-play arena shooter.
After years as a nearly-dead genre in PC gaming, arena shooters are about to experience a massive revival on the back of arena gameplay, matchmaking, and the free-to-play business model. Recently announced (but not yet released) additions to the genre included Blizzard’s Overwatch, HiRez’s Paladins, Gearbox’s Battleborn, Bethesda’s Battlecry, and Motiga’s Gigantic. That’s not even mentioning Team Fortress 2, which Valve plans to update with a matchmaking mode over the next year.
All those games have their own appeal, but LawBreakers‘ gameplay video sets it apart from the pack. For one, the mobility and speed of the characters is frightening—Maverick literally has a jetpack strapped to her back, and even the “low mobility” Cronos is able to leap tall buildings thanks to his rocket jump.
In addition, all the characters seem a lot more deadly. Well-executed shooting quickly downs opponents, while special abilities seem like instant kills when done right. The difference is clear when compared to arena shooters like Overwatch, where the focus is more on team gameplay than individual skill.
At its core, LawBreakers appears a return to form for the genre. It just feels more like a deathmatch than the rest of the competition, an homage to titles like Quake and Bleszinski’s own Unreal Tournament. And while it’s hard to be critical with limited information, the effort of Boss Key to renew old aesthetics might just be the special sauce it needs to stand out from the pack, or even become the next big esports title.
Lawbreakers is set to release sometime in 2016.
Screengrab via Law Breakers/YouTube