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Embr is a savage third-degree burn on the gig economy

Embr simultaneously feels like a great, funny idea for a game, and a horrifying glimpse into an all-too-likely future. Developed by Muse Games (Guns Of Icarus) and due in early access later in the year, Embr is s a tongue-in-cheek firefighting sim. The problem for the people you’re trying to save is that you and up to three buddies are not highly trained professionals, but regular folk just taking firefighting jobs via a smartphone app to make ends meet. Have a look at the debut trailer, plus Alice L taking a longer look and chatting with the developers at Rezzed last weekend.

I’ve always had a soft spot for firefighting games, and we just haven’t had nearly enough of them. Burning Rangers on the Sega Saturn will never leave my heart, but this looks like the next best thing. Messy, chaotic firefighting in procedurally stocked houses for up to four players. The initial early access release will have solo and co-op play, and rescue missions. The full game (due out 9-12 months later) aims to include more map and mission types, boss battles, a driving mini-game and missions where you square off against a rival company, Hosr.  They aim to roughly double the game’s size by launch.

And you can see a bit more of the game from our RPS Sessions at EGX Rezzed. If the time-stamped video doesn’t skip you to the right bit, just click through to 4:14:15.

As obviously good a joke Embr is, it does feel like it hits a little too close to home. Back in the ’80s, the corporate hellscape of Robocop seemed like amusing but only faintly cautionary satire. Now there’s probably a few libertarians looking at the Embr trailer and wondering why nobody has started that business for real yet. There’s potential here for spinoffs, though. Mountain rescue on a budget? Amateur surgeons on call 24/7 (in applicable cities)? A hit-sharing service for bargain bin assassins could make for a hilarious game, but I digress. Either way, I’m definitely keeping an eye on this one, and the other nervously on headlines in case it becomes reality.

Embr will be landing in early access later this year, although no date or price has been pinned down. You can check it out here on Steam or its official page here.

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Dominic Tarason

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