The arena shooter is making a serious comeback in the wake of the military shooter running the show for the past number of years, and it looks like the evolution is just right, while maintaining a sense of history to where it all began.
Nathan "nachosjustice" Lawrence recently took Boss Key Productions' debut arena shooter, LawBreakers, for a hands-on spin.
He was also lucky enough to be invited out to their studio in North Carolina for first-class access to the studio talent. Here's a snippet from his preview:
Doom is the most notable example but, if the recent betas are anything to go by, it’s also the most notorious. There’s a strange dissonance between the emphasis on forward momentum, use of 3D space and high lethality of the solo experience when stacked next to the faux arena-shooter antics of the low-ish lethality multiplayer. In many respects, Doom’s multiplayer is designed to look and, out of the gate, at least, feel like Quake III – id’s shining example of arena-shooter prowess and, arguably, the developer’s last amazing game – but it’s really a confused hybrid shooter in Orbb clothing.
Click here for our in-depth preview of LawBreakers
This is likely a result of the conundrum that developers face when trying to reimagine or recreate the arena shooter after a decade-long ceasefire. On one hand, they can treat it as an HD remake and leave gameplay tropes untouched, but that doesn’t really present anything new. On the other hand, they can try to evolve the subgenre and make it contemporarily relevant by working in modern-shooter tropes, but that’s a slippery slope.
It’s not a position I envy, but as an old-school shooter fan who isn’t necessarily looking for a prettier version of Quake III, I feel open to the next step in the evolution of the arena shooter. Cue the entry of ex-Epic Games household name Cliff Bleszinski and his team’s creation of LawBreakers. I’ve recently returned from a trip to North Carolina to visit Bleszinski’s Boss Key Productions studio where I had hands-on time with LawBreakers.