Life After Aliens: TimeGate’s Minimum

By Nathan Grayson on April 10th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

yeaaaah pew pew boom kthoom whirrrrrrrrrrrsplat

Oh, TimeGate. Still-unconfirmed (or denied) rumblings have linked you to a rather sizable portion of Aliens: Colonial Marines’ acid-puking awfulness, so there’s your legacy for now. I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t point out that the recently reviled studio’s proven reliably inoffensive in the past, producing middle-of-the-road manshoots like Section 8 and a few FEAR expansions. So it’s with a slightly less mountainous mound of trepidation than expected that I bring you word of Minimum, TimeGate’s new free-to-play shooter/slasher/watch two Greek-mythology-inspired titans go all Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots on each other-er. Promisingly, its inspirations seem to run the gamut from Quake’s speed to Unreal’s arcadiness to Minecraft’s adaptability, but obviously, snapping all those puzzle pieces into a coherent whole is another matter entirely. I must say, though, the achy, breaky, blocky trailer after the break has me sort of intrigued.

Beyond the marvelously marble aesthetic, Minimum has two standout features in its sensually rounded corner: multi-tiered, mid-match weapon evolutions and towering colossi that punch each other into rubble while you rumble. Here’s a (sadly) basic explanation of the former:

“Tired of only one way to make things go boom? How about weapons with 5 levels of awesome? Our PowerUp system harkens back to old-school classics like Contra and Raiden, with your weapons gaining ever-increasing levels of destruction as you pickup the super charged energy of the defeated. Try to stay alive though, your PowerUps only last as long as you do.”

“We’re not talking about the difference between an assault rifle and a machine gun. Minimum’s weapons are designed from the get-go to be unique, from an exploding ice-sniper to burning dual-wield katanas. Each weapon’s 5 PowerUp levels and unique alt fires give almost class-like diversity and depth, not to mention simply being a ton of fun to play with.”

I certainly like the sound of that, at least. The idea behind the titans, however, leaves me a bit wary. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for gigantic things wailing on each other without so much as the slightest flinch, but we’ll only be indirectly contributing to their gentlemanly fistic transactions. In other words, no direct control. Instead, players’ job is apparently to “harvest energy from creatures in the environment to power their team’s Titan to ultimate victory.” ULTIMATE VICTORY. SOMEHOW BETTER THAN REGULAR VICTORY.

But also, I’ve never really understood the point of putting something orders of magnitude more awesome than players in a game that’s ostensibly about making players feel awesome. I mean, it could well make for an interesting mechanic, but until I get the chance to give it a go, I’ll have some reservations.

Oh, but I won’t have to chomp craggy canyons into my nails for long. Minimum’s debuting as part of Steam’s early access program next week on April 16th. That’s one day before my birthday. Hooray! Good ol’ TimeGate, always thinking about me, specifically. Also, they’re apparently thinking about others (in a vastly reduced capacity) as well, because they plan to keep players involved in the development process every step of the way. Once again, the magical, ravages-of-time-immune hinge-based barrier hasn’t explained exactly how, but the message is clear: “Minimum was built on the ideas and input of a collective team, and we believe that the input of our players is the best way to drive where we go from here.”

Step one: all the stuff you did on Aliens? Probably don’t do any of that here. Step two: I don’t know I guess jetpacks.

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37 Comments »

  1. Ansob says:

    Instead, players’ job is apparently to “harvest energy from creatures in the environment to power their team’s Titan to ultimate victory.”

    What was wrong with just “shoot the other one?”

    • waaaaaaaals says:

      Absolutely everything must have MOBA-alike features in now.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Uhh, why MOBA-alike? Sounds like Control Point with an extremely fancy gauge to me.

        • jaantahir says:

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    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Could this be the successor to the wonderful Titan game mode of Battlefield 2142?

      • DrollRemark says:

        See, now I want to play some kind of multiplayer cross of Titan Mode and Shadow of the Collosus.

        • The Random One says:

          I want a game that every time someone dies your team loses a ticket, like in Battlefield. But as your team starts to lose your higher-ups start to send better units in desperation. So you start playing as dudes & ladies with guns and by the time you’re about to lose you’re playing as skyscraper-sized mechas with megacannons.

  2. Gap Gen says:

    I really like the aesthetic, but I’m unsure if the hi-res particle effects work well with the blocky models.

  3. Bracknellexile says:

    Is anyone else getting really fed up of the blocky aesthetic? Why are so many games obsessed with it? In games that aren’t Minecraft, in genres that already have games where the art is not a bad homage to Picasso’s more drug-addled cubist daubs, to me it just says: “We couldn’t be bothered finishing the models or textures so just left the alpha placeholder art in the game. You’ll still buy it anyway and who wants graphics when there’s a Minecraft bandwagon we can jump on instead, right?”

    It may just be me but it doesn’t feel retro or clever, it just looks lazy and crap and puts me off so many games that I might otherwise take a look at. Now admittedly this one isn’t high on my list but I might at least have given it a passing glance. Instead, I got 10 seconds in and switched it off.

    • mikmanner says:

      This doesn’t look anything like Minecraft.

      • Bracknellexile says:

        I never said it did.

        My point was that the blocks work in Minecraft – they got there first. It’s the taking of the block graphics concept to every other genre that I find lazy and off-putting, just because it was an aesthetic that worked in Minecraft and Minecraft is clearly the super-uberest-coolest thing ever, etc. etc.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      I think that it depends on the game. It doesn’t look right in this because it’s not used well. Meanwhile it looks great over in the Planetary Annihilation vids because you can’t see all that detail from space anyway.

    • InternetBatman says:

      No one else in the world hates the blocky aesthetic.

    • Moraven says:

      Maybe its not hate, but Voxel graphics are starting to become that radio hit you hear 5 times a day and start getting sick of and never want to hear again.

    • Consumatopia says:

      I love, love, love when the graphics aren’t much more complicated than the underlying simulated model. If I just want to look at pretty things, I’ll watch a video. I play games because I want to *interact* with things, so what’s the point of showing me a bunch of detail if that visual detail isn’t simulated in the way I interact with it? It’s visual photorealism as the “default” style that’s lazy, not blockiness (though I don’t have any interest in seeing blocks if the underlying model isn’t blocks). Hyperdetailed photorealism is just a refusal to focus–it’s just throwing all the visual distractions on my screen that you can without taking the time to decide what’s actually worth showing me.

      Neither simplicity nor visual abstraction are fads. And someone should make a game that looks like drug-addled Picasso. That would be a whole lot less lazy than just making another shades-of-brown photorealistic FPS.

    • wu wei says:

      Or maybe, just maybe, it’s chosen for performance reasons rather than aesthetic ones.

  4. durruti says:

    http://www.nooooooooooooooo.com/

    focus on kohan, timegate. that is all.

  5. Reefpirate says:

    I can’t say much of anything about Colonial Marines or their FEAR games… But Timegate has a good reputation in my mind. I was sad that the servers for Section 8: Prejudice seemed to depopulate as quickly as they did because that was an awesome and unique multiplayer team objective game. And then Kohan and Kohan II were two of my favorite single-player RTS experiences of all time.

    These guys are totally capable of producing real gems, and I all of a sudden have high hopes for this one.

    • solidsquid says:

      From the back and forward on Colonial Marines it seems like pretty much everyone was part of that clusterfuck, and the only way TimeGate could have avoided being tarnished with it’s brush would be if they had turned the project down right at the start

  6. Feferuco says:

    Well, what do you prefer? The entire team standing on top of a circle until the circle turns to your color or making your gigantic awesome titan punch the other one to oblivion?

    If you think about it the mechanic of making everyone work together towards one goal is common, we’re all used to it and lots of people enjoy it. It is just that this game dressed it up in something so distracting that you forgot about the rest of the game.

  7. Tarararararara says:

    I’ve never really understood the point of putting something orders of magnitude more awesome than players in a game that’s ostensibly about making players feel awesome.

    Why the balls do you have the impression that multiplayer-games are designed to make players feel awesome?

    Singleplayer-games, yes. Multiplayer-games, no.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I love being on the ground as a lowly grunt in ArmA, being pinned down by gunfire, only to have CAS turn the enemy position into a fireball. But sure, it needs to be handled right to ensure that you don’t feel like you’re a sideshow in two AIs fighting each other.

  8. deadly.by.design says:

    I had seen mention of a “Minimum” on the wall of my friend that works at TG, but had no idea what it was.

    Anyway, can I play it in first person? Because shooty shooty third person isn’t my thing when it comes to multiplayer.

  9. solidsquid says:

    I don’t know, if you can damage/destroy the enemy titan and boost yours then I could see it being like Team Fortress 2′s minecart mode (or whatever it’s called), but an opposed version. Could be quite interesting really

  10. Ringwraith says:

    Seeing Timegate’s name pop up has reminded me to start playing the Kohan games again, because nothing has been quite like them since.

  11. pupsikaso says:

    Timegate doesn’t have only Aliens behind their name. They also have the awful Section8 (and sequel) to their name, too. And that one was developed 100% by them!

  12. Bishop says:

    TimeGate…..TimeGate….Where I do I remember that name from?….Oh Yea! TimeGate are the ones who banned me from their forum after posting about Section 8 bugs in their forums. They said fixes for my solution were already out there (uninstall and reinstall everything in random combinations till it work), didn’t even work after a format and hardware change.

  13. TechnicalBen says:

    If they add customizeability (through pints/levels/xp) then they have this in game form: http://fav.me/dmjzi0

  14. Creaturemagic says:

    Dinosaurs! Rock Giants! Dragons! Robots!
    Take my money!

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