Descent-y shooter Overload launches May 31st

In this ever-shifting modern world where up becomes down becomes left and before you know it you’re all sorts of lost in life, maybe more Descent can help us reorient ourselves. Or Overload, the new six-degrees-of-freedom spaceship shooter from the co-founders of Descent creators Parallax Software. It’s doing Descent-y shooting in a modern way, sending players into sci-fi warrens to blast bots and zap-pow to victory. Following a crowdfunding campaign and a year in early access, it’ll finally launch on May 31st, developers Revival Productions announced today. And it looks a little something like this.

See? Descent-y.

Along with a singleplayer story campaign, Overload boasts a challenge mode and competitive multiplayer. And VR support for people with stomachs made of steel; Descent always twisted my melon even just on a screen. Revival Productions plan to release a level editor after launch too.

Descent co-creators Matt Toschlog and Mike Kulas launched a Kickstarter campaign for Overload back in February 2016, then took the game to Steam Early Access in March 2017.

This is quite separate to Descent: Underground, the recent multiplayer-focused take on Descent that was made by people who weren’t involved with the original games but have licensed the name.

Overload will properly launch for Windows, Mac, and Linux on May 31st via Steam and GOG. The price will go up from its current early access amount of £19/€23/$25 to $35.

You can get a broad sense for the game in the free “playable teaser” demo.

29 Comments

  1. DatonKallandor says:

    Overload is fantastic (which backers can attest to, since it’s been playable basically from day one). It’s smooth, runs great and it’s just Descent. And most importantly it’s singleplayer first.

  2. LuNatic says:

    I’m not usually a graphics snob, but that looks very… 15 years ago, and I don’t see anything in the trailer to suggest that they spent their time and money coming up with gameplay any more complex than Descent.

    • Neutrino says:

      That’s because nobody wanted more complex gameplay. They just wanted Descent with great graphics, which this is.

    • Telkir says:

      If graphics like this were possible 15 years ago then wow, I must’ve missed some great games back then… :)

      No, Overload isn’t DOOM or Far Cry 5 or any other eyeball-wowing modern title, but the visual style they’ve used is consistent and easy on the eyes. The robot designs are all distinct, and they need to be in order to recognise how best to deal with them in a split second.

      I’d definitely recommend giving the free playable teaser a try to see how the game looks like in motion. The video doesn’t do it much justice after the encoding takes its toll.

      (As a note, the playable teaser was updated to v3.0 only a couple of days ago so it’s an excellent “shareware” representation of the imminent full release.)

      Deliberately haven’t played the EA version for several months so that I don’t get too spoiled and now I’m really starting to feel the wait. Roll on May 31st for some reactor melting and multiplayer fun!

    • GepardenK says:

      Try the free playable teaser on steam. Graphics are surprisingly impressive due to how clean they are combined with how things go boom based on kinetic impact.

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      phuzz says:

      It looks like what I remember Descent looking like. Of course my memory is flawed, and it actually looked much worse, but that screenshot is what I remember.

    • Caiman says:

      This was pitched as a spiritual successor to Descent, and that’s exactly what they’ve given us. Literally, it could be Descent 4, but polished to a sheen and perfected. Graphics are pretty damn great for a small team if you ask me (the same core members of Parallax Software are there). Ubisoft level of graphics requires hundreds of people and tens of millions of dollars, so be realistic. As for gameplay, it’s Descent. Thankfully.

  3. Dominic Tarason says:

    I’ve been playing Overload on and off since the very first preview build, right up to the current early access release. It’s fantastic.

    It’s Descent, yes, and doesn’t aspire to be anything more, but it sands every last rough edge off the original games and buffs it up to a mirror sheen. The enemy AI is still just sneaky enough to be consistently fun to fight, and the explosions are utterly gorgeous.

    The comment above grumbling that it’s not any more complex than classic Descent? Descent is one of the more complex FPS’s out there to this day. Juggling arsenals of primary and secondary weapons while using ship abilities all while navigating a full 3D maze is immensely demanding. Anything more complex would be hell to play.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      And the secret hunting. Oh those devious secrets, they could be on the floor, in the walls, in the ceilings. There could be secrets inside secret.

      I hope the crazy “fire a guided missile to trigger the door to the secret from the other side of the map” stuff made it into Overload (in moderation).

      • Dominic Tarason says:

        Fiendish and frequent secrets are present and correct.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      Are the weapon projectiles as slow as they look in the trailer? I love me some Descent, but that blue pew pew that the player fired and then strafed where you could see it still trickling through the air was a bit gash (35 second mark)

  4. mitrovarr says:

    I like how they just managed to make the game everyone wanted them to make without going crazy and tripling the scope or turning it into another bloody MMO.

  5. Cvnk says:

    That looks fun as hell and immediately invoked memories of how thrilling is was to skillfully slide around Descent’s levels once you got the hang of the controls. It was often euphoric.

    I hope the sound design is as good as Descent’s was (not that I have any reason to doubt it will be). Those mechanical peals were a huge part of the game’s feel.

    And as much as I hated it I kind of hope the theif bot returns. It was frustrating to deal with but so satisfying to destroy.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      I think there’s some Thief Bot-ish thing in there, but not quite as frustratingly twitchy. As for the audio design, I’d say it’s pretty on point from what I’ve played. There’s plenty of footage of the game around.

      They also got Dan Wentz back in for the soundtrack so it *sounds* like Descent.

      • GepardenK says:

        What Thief bot-ish design are you referring to here? While I found the stealing mechanic annoying I loved how the Thief bot gave you a true nemesis to try to outfox. Sadly I haven’t seen anything like it in the Overload EA (other than all-around excellent AI that try to kite you of course).

        • Dominic Tarason says:

          Not in any of the current levels, but I think I saw the devs bouncing the idea around for it being a possible late-game problem.

          Could be misremembering though. Either way, if there’s one thing that could survive being cut, it’s that squirrelly little arse, and Overload adds a good number of new things to balance it out.

    • GepardenK says:

      You bet sound design is on par. One of the most impressive things about Overload is just how well designed it is. Everything just *feels* right. It’s honestly quite shocking the first time you play.

  6. Menthalion says:

    Can’t wait to dust off the old SpaceNavigator to play Descent with a real 6DoF controller again.

    Last time I used it was for Elite, made docking instantaneous the moment I had the configuration right. Not much of a game though.

    • Jabberwock says:

      Do not have my SpaceBall anymore, but Razer Hydra works quite well. Actually, Hydra does something which SpaceBall could not – it allows me to do rotations with one hand and movement with the other.

  7. SuicideKing says:

    inb4 “From the creators of FreeSpace”

    I’m happy that this is happening, I never played the original Descent games.

    • GepardenK says:

      You barely made it. I was just going to say. Not only is this designed by many from the Freespace 2 crew (You can just feel it from the moment you boot a level; same tight movement control, same feeling of kinetic impact as you blast enemies – just improved), but the writer is also the same guy who wrote the amazing Freespace 2 story.

      Edit: That username though. Coincidence or FS2 reference?

  8. epmode says:

    I’ve been looking for a worthwhile spiritual successor to Descent for ages now. While several contenders have been released in the last 10+ years, nothing came close to the real thing. ..except Overload. This is the real deal and I’m very happy to be a backer. It’s exactly what I wanted.

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    zigguratvertigo says:

    When I read Alice’s headline, I thought it said “Decent-y shooter”, as in sort-of-decent. Approximately good. And I think that would have been a much better headline than the actual one.

  10. Telkir says:

    Descent has a special place in my heart as pretty much the first shareware game that I played (and later bought) on PC after upgrading from an Amiga 500. You can probably imagine just how mindblowing that experience was, and I’ve been a fan of 6DoFs since.

    It’s sad that the genre has suffered such a withering drought after Descent 3, but at least we’re finally getting a game that might be the one to truly spark a Revival *coff*. It’s about damn time.

    I’ve got my fingers tightly crossed that Overload becomes profitable enough for the devs to keep supporting it with a well-polished level editor, updates after release, and perhaps some extra official levels… then ultimately a sequel! Forgive me if I don’t feel like waiting another 20 years for the next successor :P

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      A level editor and sharing functionality is already planned as a post-release feature, so at least we’ll have enough Descent to last us until the next.

  11. racccoon says:

    STOP!! I think it would of been better to call it, drone watch. :)

  12. Linkblade says:

    OMG! This is what I wanted Sublevel Zero to be, what Strike Vector couldn’t give me and what I was long looking for since Forsaken on N64. 97% of 210 Steam reviews are positive *o*
    Definitely gonna buy this…

  13. Caiman says:

    Actually they released an updated Playable Teaser / demo today, version 3.0. The link in the story goes to it, but it’s not a year old, it uses the most recent codebase.

    • Det. Bullock says:

      Yes, I can confirm this, even the tutorial level is very different from what was there a year ago.