No Nexus platform, fewer microtransactions, and fewer colours: these were the main points of the GDC panel held by Cliff Bleszinski and his Boss Key Productions about their multiplayer shooter LawBreakers [official site].
The game will be released exclusively on Steam, with an upfront purchase and their latest screenshots showcase a change in visual direction away from the colourful and cartoony look of some of its competitors. But boy, do we need some new marketing lingo in gaming. Come raise your eyebrows with me.
If you missed it previously, LawBreakers is a class-based arena FPS emphasizing vertical movement, with grappling hooks and jetpacks aplenty. The game is being developed by the aforementioned Cliff Bleszinski (Unreal, Gears of War) together with Arjan Brussee (Killzone) and it’s being published by Nexon, which worried many for their oppressive business models. This trailer from last summer is still the most recent look at gameplay we’ve had.
The first two announcements, then, are meant to reassure those who feared the game would be hampered by microtransactions and pay-to-win: LawBreakers will not be released on the Nexon platform but on Steam, and it will have an upfront payment to “ensure an even playing field by giving fans access to every available role without any barriers.” This doesn’t mean no microtransactions, however: much like Killing Floor 2, there will still be cosmetic items on sale.
As for the shift in visual style, which you should be able to appreciate in these screenshots, here are Cliff Bleszinski’s words:
Being constantly compared to the current slew of colourful shooters on the market made us realise we needed to stand out from the crowd. […] We decided to take a step back and explore how we could dial up the maturity in LawBreakers, going back to our original vision. The new look and feel embraces the innovative and vertical nature of our game elevated by violence, intensity and competition.
I don’t disagree with this new direction, if that’s what they feel fits their game best, and with competitors like Blizzard’s Overwatch, Dirty Bomb and even the immortal Team Fortress 2 showing a more competitive side as of late, I can see why they feared they wouldn’t stand out. But, dude: “dial up the maturity” is language that borders on self-parody.
According to the FAQ on Steam this won’t mean all-out gore, however, just a bit more blood and visual violence than before.
There is no word on the exact cost or on the release date, but it sounds like it’s almost ready to enter alpha testing, and it should be less than a full $60 release.