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Take a first look at Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski’s arena shooter

Boss Key Productions, the independent studio founded in 2014 by Gears of War and Unreal Tournament co-creator Cliff Bleszinski, has released the first footage of its upcoming arena shooter, codenamed BlueStreak.

The early, pre-alpha footage shows off a fly-through of one of the game’s levels. The environment features a mixture of traditional Japanese imagery and science fiction: think samurai outfits, jade dragon statues, and souped-up assault rifles. It draws from a long tradition of Japanophilic sci-fi, tracing back to the early ’80s with films like Blade Runner tying the rise of dystopian sci-fi to paranoia about Japan becoming the global economic power.

Bleszinski previously revealed details about Bluestreak during a Reddit AMA in October 2014. The game is free-to-play, but he was insistent that optional in-game fees wouldn’t give an advantage to players with money to spend. Maple Story publisher Nexon will publish, providing its expertise in that sector of the market.

The game does not feature much conventional narrative, but it has a rich foundation of lore and world-building, possibly expanding into other media as the game develops.

“There will be an emphasis on story, but not in the traditional sense,” Bleszinski explained. “Weapons will have manufacturing corporations, players will have lore/history, and the world will feel there and lived in. We also want to make live-action shorts quarterly to help tell more about the universe outside of the game. If you’re doing a sci-fi IP you need as much of the fiction to come through in other mediums (and with lore) so people care about Plasma Rifle 3 or Player X.”

The facility shown in the footage could be one of these weapons manufacturers, based in Japan. The footage also reveals in a final splash screen that the game is being built in Unreal Engine 4, tying BlueStreak back to the beginning of Bleszinzki’s career at Epic Games.