Back To The Arena: Toxikk

Toxikk wants to take you back to before the days of military shooters and sensible game names, when the arena FPS ruled and all followed in its wake. Reakktor Studios (who previously worked on shooty MMOs Neocron and Black Prophecy) are heavily pushing the old school feel, seemingly drawing a lot from the best arena FPS ever. But the trailer, which you’ll find below, focuses mainly on what the game is not and what it does not feature: microtransactions, reloading, iron sights, regenerating health, and so on. Hmm.

Don’t get me wrong – this is exciting to me. I just don’t like the way it’s being presented. Sure, the odd throwback is welcome, but I can’t get behind selling a game on what it’s not. Hell, arena shooters could even be a great fit for free-to-play, selling player skins and weapon models without a hint of pay-to-win. Not doing that? Fine, but that’s not the most interesting thing about your game.

As for what Toxikk actually is, it’s full of ye olde Unreal Tournament-y things like double-jumps, dodges, health packs, alt-fire modes, wacky weapons, and maps split between small arenas and bigguns with vehicles. It’ll also have tools to create maps, models, and skins, though they’ll need to go through through a voting process to reach the game.

Reakktor are A-ok with the modern developments of crowdfunding and Early Access, mind. They’re currently doing the former on their website, selling keys with beta access from $15, which will become useful when Early Access starts towards the end of this year. Given the heavy Unreal Tournament influence, it seems like they’ll have some stiff competition, as that’s when Epic plan to launch their F2P new UT into open beta.

40 Comments

  1. ran93r says:

    In fairness, all those things that they listed as not having were things shoehorned in to games as selling points that nobody playing FPS shooters at the time asked for.

    I’m intrigued but as you say, UT will be back by then so will have to see how it all pans out.

  2. rustybroomhandle says:

    There’s an error in the article. The link to “best arena FPS ever” should link here link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Ben Barrett says:

      No, I checked, it definitely has the right link.

      • Tom Walker says:

        Don’t worry, you have right on your side. Sane people just don’t shout as much.

    • Premium User Badge

      oggnogg says:

      Quake Live, which is basically a polished version of Q3A.
      I like how they still release fixes even for maps which are quite a few years old.

    • Rao Dao Zao says:

      No, they added an extra suffix by accident, it should go here: link to en.wikipedia.org

    • IanWharton says:

      Quake III > Unreal Tournament 2k4

    • vlonk says:

      Q3A was aptly named for its ARENA style levels, while UT 2004 has vehicles, alternative firemodes and outdoor levels. Therefore Toxikk clearly takes UT as its inspiration. They should have opted for Q3A of course, cause it is the better game. If you excuse me now I have to make slight adjustments in my Carmack Pantheon to acommodate the Faceb… false prophet.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      There’s so much wrong in this thread, I weep for humanity.

      • Geebs says:

        Ut2k3 and UT2k4 were both examples of Epic trying to ape Q3A’s movement while totally getting it wrong, and losing what was good about the original UT’s system.

        Seriously though, you’re suggesting an arena shooter where a skilled player could break physics in their favour is inferior to one which has a “dodge” key? Nuh uh.

        (not that it matters now, but for an HPW back in the day, Q3A’s network code dumped on UT’s from a great height)

        • El_Emmental says:

          Exactly – UT2k3 and UT2k4 were fun, I had a blast with them, but they were barely “arena” shooters.

          Even the smallest maps just didn’t work like arenas, and the pace of the encounters/fights wasn’t on par with the original UT99 or Q3A. Both “modern” UT were excellent games, just not in the same category, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

          And I don’t believe any arena shooter will take off these days – the hardcore gamers who could gather around a handful (no more than 5) fast-paced arena shooters, and form up a competition scene, are now extremely diluted in the sea of less dedicated gamers and video game players, and have too much MP games to play: some of them are playing with their friends on popular AAA, some are playing old MP games, etc.

          Add the fact that the current industry rely on yearly/biyearly sequels for its business model, and you have very unstable and volatile playerbase, disappearing before a solid scene is up and running.

          • LordxMugen says:

            I know im probably gonna get lynched for this, but what about UC2? that was a good Arena Shooter (definitely more “ARENA” than 2k3 and 4 for sure). sadly, it was only on Xbox but damn if i didnt love it.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            UT, Quake and Counterstrike all prove though that an established playerbase and a stable game can be as beneficial as these yearly releases. It’s just difficult to get that across to execs because all they care about is getting a big fat quarterly earnings call just before they get their christmas bonus from a job they might not even have in a years time.

            If they could make a shooter on the level of UT or Quake 3 they could make a bomb selling cosmetics etc, it would keep generating profit once the competitive playerbase was established. Whether arena shooters can be successful again remains to be seen as FPS gamers habits have changed drastically in the last 10 years. I hope it takes off again as I think I’m not alone in getting seriously tired of “modern military shooter”. However weaning people off CoD and Battlefield is probably not going to happen overnight.

            I certainly don’t think games such as this will have enough impact to gain enough traction and retain a playerbase and to me one of the great things about UT was the variety of gamemodes and large amount of maps. You need lots of full servers for the game to not feel restrictive, that could be a problem for games like this. Hopefully the new UT turns out to be good because the name will draw in more people and hopefully create a good community.

          • El_Emmental says:

            He he, just watched some footage, it looks like a great game – but to be honest, an “arena shooter” implies a faster pace, where your movements and speed are a major tactical element (but I guess UC2 went as far as they could with a gamepad interface, without breaking the fun).

            Enjoying a game designed for the console platform isn’t something to be ashamed off, plenty of PC gamers enjoy a good game made for the console platform – it only becomes a problem when it’s brought up by some immature players (some young, some already adult but behaving like teenagers) in some e-peen contest, about who’s the best/strongest/most worthy of praise and attention.

            The whole “PC Master Race” is (was originally, then misunderstood by ignorants ?) a way to make fun of console users who are too much focused on ego trips, constantly reminding everyone they have better “skills”, stats, ranks, ratio and whatever they can find – the stock phrase “console peasant” and “PC master race” is an easy way of discarding and ridiculing the entire “I’m the best” trip of immature video game players (who often, but not always, start gaming on consoles), by applying an extremely dumb logic (a platform = worth/skill/dedication of a gamer), that only the most immature players would fall for it and ridicule themselves even more by bringing even more stupid arguments (theorical FLOPS, sales numbers, etc).

            Sadly/funnily enough, it seems a lot of these immature and ignorant users failed to see they were being fooled (aka “trolled”, the original meaning of the verb) and a few thousands of them got PC gaming rigs, and think they’re now part of the “gaming master race” (ha !). Never forget the original meaning of the joke – these people using it unironically are as ignorant as the people trying to argue about who’s the best/strongest at gaming.

            nb: even if the ratio of immature/ignorant players varies depending on platform, you still got plenty of actual gamers on consoles, and plenty of immature players on PC – the “PC master race” is only there to ridicule and derail discussion about platforms.

            ps: However, I need to point that console gaming is now seen as (at least) partially responsible of making these platforms commercially and socially viable, allowing the the publishers/developers to make half-assed PC ports and force simplified game design to target a specific “casual” audience (that happen to be mainly on the console platforms simply because of their ease-of-use, literally plug’n’play).

            A lot PC gamers still feel console gamers opened the Pandora’s Box and let the mass consumerism within the gaming kingdom, even if a lot of other factors played in the equation. It turns the “PC master race vs console peasants” joke into an easy occasion to punish and reject consoles gamers for their (alleged) role in diluting the gaming culture.

            I’m not sure what to think of it: console gaming isn’t bad per se at all, but if you have the choice and truly value gaming as a culture (and not just a dumb entertainment, “just a video game”), I really expect you to play on PC (mostly).

            Gaming on consoles is now made of forced “exclusivity” that prevents other gamers to play many games for purely commercial reasons. Gaming on consoles is also made of completely closed hardware (no upgrade, no repair, no easy replacement), closed software (no mods, no fixes, little to no patching), closed platform where everyone (players, developers and publishers) have to pay their master (console platform owner: Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo). It also made publishers believe they could get away with whatever amount of control they wanted over the users’ experiences, leading to the never-ending DRM era – the console market ended up greatly influencing (negatively) the PC market (PC gamers won nothing by getting AAA games with larger SFX and marketing budget).

            Playing on consoles would be like making business (selling oranges, or car tires) with an authoritarian government that isn’t *that* bad (they don’t kill anyone anymore, or it’s pretty rare), but they still don’t have free press, or free elections, or free political representation, or freedom of movement – I’m not really going to judge you for selling your fruits or tires to that government: they need to eat and drive around and it’s “just some fruits”, someone gotta provide that, and if you don’t do it someone else might do it – but still, you’re making a profit out of it by allowing a perverted and flawed system to continue, so it’s a bit of a grey area in my opinion. That’s why I think that if you ever have the possibility, you should avoid that business partner and work with a more respectable one, even if it’s not perfect either and has its own flaws.

      • schlusenbach says:

        You know nothing, Ben Barrett.

    • int says:

      Poppycock! We all know what the one true arena shooter is.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Brtt says:

      You needn’t worry, Ben was merely exercising on his british humour with that link to a(ny) UT.

    • MD says:

      Those of you on the Quake side of the fence might be interested in Reflex and/or Reborn.

  3. DrollRemark says:

    “Designed exclusively for PC”

    Yeah, I think we can all see which crowd they’re pitching this at.

    • MD says:

      For this kind of game, being PC-only is actually a genuine selling point. It’s not a matter of silly platform-elitism, but simply that shooters designed around gamepad controls do tend to be limited in predictable ways. (Well, PC versions of console shooters also tend to be flawed in various unnecessary ways, but the fact of being designed around a different control system goes right to the core of the game.)

  4. windspiek says:

    I’m glad we are getting some competition for arena fps going now because the UT team looked mildly motivated in their promotional videos. Maybe they think that being The Guys that made UT is going to secure the success of their game but they might as well get their butts kicked by a game like this one here.

    The concepts the UT team presented sounded more sloppy and pretty much how I would have expected them from a team that just realized that f2p is the new thing.

  5. Turkey says:

    Out of all the PC genres that fell off after the late 90s/early 00s, I think the arena shooter is probably the one I care least about. Besides, i had so many reincarnations and mutations that it never really felt like it went away.

    • Herzog says:

      Out of all the PC genres that fell off after the late 90s/early 00s, I think the arena shooter is probably the one I care most about. Besides, i had so less reincarnations and mutations that it really felt like it went away.

      • Keyrock says:

        Out of all the PC genres that fell off after the late 90s/early 00s, I think the arena shooter is probably the one I’m middle of the road about. Besides, i had an amount of reincarnations and mutations that it only sometimes felt like it went away.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      “i had so many reincarnations and mutations” So, how do you feel after having been reincarnated and mutated that much?

  6. Keyrock says:

    UT2004 best arena shooter ever? Blasphemy! UT99 > UT2004

  7. anon459 says:

    Had me at secondary fire modes.

  8. NailBombed says:

    Of course, with that name, the soundtrack should be full of this band…

  9. Freud says:

    Looking fun, but most non-BF/CoD/CS/TF multiplayer shooters seem to fail getting critical mass and don’t have a healthy player base. UT/Q3 were the last non-boring shooters that had big followings.

    This looks interesting, but I suspect UT will manage to attract players in this genre.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      Rule #1 of indie games: don’t make a multiplayer FPS.

      • liquidsoap89 says:

        I’d say multiplayer games in general. Such a shame too, because some of them are excellent!

        I’m looking at you Shattered Horizon and Plain Sight…

  10. rustybroomhandle says:

    Is it worth playing arena shooters on anything other than a LAN and UDP? I know internet speed is alright these days, but surely…

  11. DissidentDan says:

    The looks like exactly what I want (no joke). The name is kind of awful, though. But I will definitely keep an eye on this one.

  12. AsianJoyKiller says:

    I may be a Quake guy, but I’m still excited to see where this goes. (Similarly, I have hopes for the new UT).

  13. bill says:

    I thought it looked pretty good, and they did list a few things that it has, like VERTICAL GAMEPLAY that have been missing from FPS for a few years.

    Games like this depend on a critical mass of players though, and I guess a smaller game from a less known developer will have a much harder time getting a decent audience.

    F2P actually sounds like a good idea for this kind of game, as it allows a much bigger audience.

    I’m not sure about skipping classes, it seems like a few basic classes would be a good way to extend the lifetime of the game. (Like Tribes… btw, does anyone still play ascend?)

    NO IRON SIGHTS… yes.

  14. Megakoresh says:

    They had me at the
    F2P… NO!

    Sold :P This should be good…