For a long time while watching this Insurgency: Sandstorm trailer, I thought its great innovation was to do with context dependent AI barks that swear at guns a lot. Then I thought I must be listening to actors pretending to be players in that cringingly E3 demo sorta way. Then I realised that devs New World Interactive were attempting to sidestep that by paying actors to pretend they were actual combatants, and creating a strange hybrid of the two. I've been listening to people pretending to be people that people in the future might pretend to be, but without the silly pretence.
Game marketing is weird, but Sandstorm itself is the opposite: it's an upcoming team based shooter that revolves around tactics, realism and impressive sound design. The original Insurgency passed me by, probably because it looked just as generic as this one. Dear old Adam got his hands on Sandstorm earlier this year though and called it a "goddamn work of art", so my shoulders have stopped shrugging and started quivering with excitement.
So what we've got here is a 16 v 16 multiplayer FPS, with an AI hunting mode that goes up to 8 players. In the dev's words, it's a "hardcore depiction of combat with deadly ballistics, light attack vehicles, destructive artillery, and unprecedented audio design putting the fear back into the genre". I'd be inclined to take the last of those words with hefty doses of salt, but they actually do an uncanny job of capturing Adam's impressions:
"There are so many things I love about Sandstorm that I could go on for another thousand words. It’s my ideal balance of realism and accessibility, and it all comes down to the way every moment of excitement is also a moment of fear. Checking a clip when your ammo is close to running dry and knowing that the second it takes to do so could be your last, wondering whether all of that noise and violence is capable of penetrating the wall you’re cowering behind, hearing a cry of “gas!” from somewhere up ahead."
New World originally planned to include a story campaign, but wound up dropping it so they could focus on multiplayer. They'll revisit the idea after Sandstorm comes out.
I know I just said this flippantly, but it's worth repeating seriously: I've gone from having next to no interest in this to itching for it be under my fingers. Adam talks about how much he loved it despite multiplayer military shooters not really being his thing - and by golly, they are mine. I didn't think I needed another, but if this is good enough to make Adam say "I want to play it forever", then there's a real chance I actually might.
Insurgency: Sandstorm will be out on an as yet unannounced date in September for £23/$27/€27, and you can wishlist it on Steam.
Check out our E3 2018 tag for more announcements, trailers, news, and goodness knows what else.