Beacon Is A Top-Down Shooter from HL2 Modders

You know when the premise of a game doesn’t really make sense but you don’t care because the game looks fun enough? In Beacon [official site] you’ll find yourself stranded on an unfamiliar and hostile planet, with a weapon and a working clone bay. That’s the setup for a top-down shooter with roguelike elements (read: permadeath, mostly) in which you’ll be fighting, dying and cloning yourself back, each time using your enemies’ DNA to modify yourself in gameplay-altering ways.

Why can’t you clone yourself multiple times and make a small army? How could such a delicate piece of equipment survive your ship’s destruction? Does it matter? These and more hard-hitting questions after the break.

Beacon is the first effort from Monothetic, a studio created by same folks who worked on Half-Life 2 mod Black Snow. There is no announced release date, but it will be coming to Windows and Mac as well as XBone. The trailer tries to make the premise look cool – and admittedly, it succeeds – before showing quite a bit of gameplay.

The visuals give a strong Transistor vibe, except with more wildlife and alien nature. The game itself will be quite action-oriented: you’ll shoot your way through robots, aliens, wildlife and some zombie-like things called “the occult” to get to the titular beacon and off the planet, but the devs also promise ” long-term strategy, where your actions can be felt and built upon hours down the line.”

Now, back to our questions: If you’re dead, how can you carry the defeated enemies’ DNA back to the clone bay? And who is making the decisions about what DNA to splice into yours? When does the game come out? Will we ever know? Can we ever be sure we know anything at all? But if we can never be sure, can we at least be sure about our uncertainty, or is that inherently self-contradicting?


  1. Styxie says:

    Needs more screen shake…

    Damn it Vlambeer, you’ve ruined video games.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      There are times Nuclear Thrown (spell error for emphasis ;) ) is unplayable with it’s screen shake!

  2. noodlecake says:

    Interesting and distinct visual style, but the animation looks a bit lacking. It looks like there isn’t much in the way of a punch when bullets hit enemies. No noticeable knock back or flinching or anything like that. I think in a game primarily about shooting the most important thing is making the shooting feel satisfying.

    The above comment about Vlambeer is spot on. :P

    But yeah. Very cool aesthetic and it sounds like an interesting concept. :)

    • Xzi says:

      Agreed. Seems like a less-polished version of roguelikes we already have. That said, if it gets fleshed out a little and the price is right, I’d support these guys.

    • chackosan says:

      You could tell the animation was going to be floaty when that bird-like creature reacted to the pod opening. Having dabbled in some freelance animation myself, making characters look they’re moving underwater is one of the first things you get pulled up for.

  3. Voidlight says:

    Ouroboros is an amazing name for a ship.

    For those who don’t know: link to

  4. denizsi says:

    Looks so damn pretty. Now if only it had more of an adventure streak to it than an action/shoot’em up one. The latter somewhat erodes any distinctiveness to the game.

  5. Lim-Dul says:

    The gameplay reminds me a bit of Helldivers – which is a good thing in my book since Helldivers was one of the few games that got me hooked for like 40+ hours in recent times.

  6. Unsheep says:

    It certainly makes me think of a shooter version of Transistor.
    While the game does look quite fun, I’m definitely interested, they could have gone with a more distinctive visual design.

  7. deadlybydsgn says:

    I have always felt the PC needed more backward running simulators.

    Joking aside, I dig the premise and art direction, but agree that its flesh appears a bit thin. (lack of ‘punch,’ the feel of shooting, etc.) If it gets polished up before release, it might be a real gem.

  8. Dynamique says:

    The beginning of the trailer triggered some memories of “The Fall”. Really looking forward to the next episode of that one!

  9. Josh W says:

    The music in that trailer is a bit of a letdown, by the time it gets to 1:30 you think it’s going to develop some rhythm based on the strange sounds it introduces, but instead, it treads water for a bit, and then drops back to the kick it introduced to form a relatively traditional videogame plodding groove that doesn’t build on any of the energy or really the chord progressions of the first bit of the track.

    Aside from that, the game looks like it might have a nice flow, with lots of slow projectiles to dodge, reminds me of a slightly more zoomed out and obscured starcraft 2 (enemy design isn’t quite as clear, but the movement pace and approach to slopes and level geometry looks reminiscent).

  10. Nauallis says:

    I see they found the missing trees from Sleeping Beauty!