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Roguelike shooter Killer Bean brings its mix of Just Cause physics, Matrix gunfights and PS2 energy to early access this summer

Solo developer Jeff Lew worked on The Matrix Reloaded - and it shows

A close-up of Killer Bean, from the game Killer Bean
Image credit: Jeff Lew

I’m not familiar with the proto-internet cartoon Killer Bean, but Graham assures me it’s fairly important in the history of online animation. Regardless, I’ve been won over by the upcoming video game of the same name from original creator Jeff Lew, which looks to blend together Just Cause stunt shenanigans, John Woo slo-mo gunfights and the energy of a third-person action game you would’ve found in a bargain bin for the PlayStation 2 in 2002. It’ll hit early access this summer, courtesy of a fresh look from tonight’s Summer Game Fest showcase.

Killer Bean the game is a third-person shooter roguelike that procedurally generates a whole new campaign - from locations and the enemies and bosses you’ll fight there - each time you play. That sounds fairly ambitious in itself, before you start referencing the plethora of gameplay features going on here.

There’s Just Cause vehicle play - the new trailer shows the Killer Bean skidding around in a car mowing down foes in a hail of bullets before leaping out, as well as grabbing a grenade in mid-air to lob it back to a group of baddies - and Max Payne-y bullet diving in slow motion, along with some Wanted-level bullet physics in first-person as bullets (which look to be steered with a Sniper Elite-like bullet cam) ricochet off each other to turn 90-degree corners around walls.

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Also in the trailer is a snippet of something that seems to work like Hitman vision, letting the player spot the outline of enemies through walls - before leaping through a glass window to pop them in slow-motion again. At one point the bean also dodges bullets by breakdancing on the ground, which I hope is an actual move and not just a cutscene or something.

Aside from the gunplay, hand-to-hand (or, er, bean-to-bean?) combat is here, with Killer Bean shown taking on foes using Matrix-like kung-fu moves - including the bullet time ripples trailing their limbs - and wrestling slams, suplexing and tossing enemies around. At another point, Killer Bean is shown fighting a massive robot that reminded me of the oil rig boss from Nier Automata while zipping around the sea on a jetski. I can’t tell you more than that, but I liked what I saw.

The story apparently sees Killer Bean seeking revenge against the Shadow Agency that originally employed the bean as an assassin, before turning on them for reasons unknown. I’m less sure about the wisecracking dialogue, including the line “There’s a reason why I’m called Killer Bean”.

Either way, there seems to be a lot of ideas pouring into Killer Bean. We’ll be able to see how it all comes together when it lands in early access this summer.

The flurry of summer games events are now underway! Hit up our Summer Game Fest 2024 hub and our Day Of The Devs roundup for all the news worth caring about from the shows so far.

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