“Give the guy a gun and he’s Superman,” Russian playwright Pavel Chekhov said in his manifesto. “Give him two and he’s God.” The same is usually true in video games, except in Receiver. There, giving me even one gun turns me into a fumbling idiot, unable to shoot because I forgot the the safety off, accidentally dropping precious bullets when trying to reload… I hope and pray I am not given two guns in Receiver 2. Over the weekend, Wolfire Games announced a sequel to their fantastically fiddly first-person shooter where it’s vital to master the mechanical procedures of firearms.
Hey, it’s that Idle Thumbs song.
To explain Receiver, I’ll turn you over to our Graham talking in 2014 about how fiddling builds the game’s tone:
“If you want to reload one of Receiver’s three handguns, then you press E to remove the magazine, and then tilde (`) to holster the gun. You press Z multiple times to slip any spare bullets you’ve found into the magazine. Then you get your gun back out, press Z to insert the magazine back inside, and hit T to load the chamber. Before you can fire, you’ll also want to press V to turn the safety off or cycle between firing modes, and pull back the hammer with F.
“This greater fidelity of simulation is normally described as ‘realistic’, and it extends to the game’s violent machinery, each of which is simulated as individual components: motors, cameras, ammo packs. But realism is not why these systems are interesting. If anything, in the case of your guns, abstracting your actions to individual button press feels less realistic. It’s a reminder of all the little ways in which pressing a button is not at all like sliding a bullet into a magazine.
“Instead the button presses help you embody your role within the game in a way that’s fun and exhilarating.”
Wolfire say that for the sequel they are “doubling down on the aspects that made the original stand out: the detailed firearm controls and the tense, surreal atmosphere.” They explain that “while Receiver 1 simulated several moving parts for each gun, Receiver 2 simulates *all* of the moving parts.” It’ll have more guns too, for an even higher total number of parts.
This will go well.
Receiver 2 is coming to Steam in “early 2020.”