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Digital Extremes is working on a free-to-play shooter that relies on card decks

digital extremes keystone closed alpha
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Seems like it was just yesterday when developer/publisher Digital Extremes teamed up with Epic Games to create the ground-breaking first-person shooter Unreal and the multiplayer-only shooter Unreal Tournament. The studio’s most recent shooting effort for the PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 is the free-to-play cooperative third-person shooter Warframe. Now Digital Extremes has another free-to-play shooter in the works called Keystone.

Launching as a closed alpha on Friday, the game cleverly combines first-person shooting action with building a deck of cards. This deck is fully customizable, providing players with weapons, abilities, and gameplay benefits. And because Keystone will be a free-to-play title, we suspect that it will offer the ability to purchase in-game currency, cards, and specific card decks in exchange for real-world money.

Keystone originates from our roots in the FPS world and mixing genres like we have done with Warframe,” said Sheldon Carter, studio head at Digital Extremes. “We believe there’s room to expand the confines of what defines a good FPS and hope our community will see the potential and get on board for the ride.”

According to Digital Extremes, the studio formed a second internal team just to work on Keystone. This team will work heavily with the community to shape the game’s eventual form much like what Epic Games and Roccat are doing with their current free-to-play alpha-stage multiplayer shooters for the PC, Unreal Tournament 4 and Sick City, respectively.

Unfortunately, the Keystone website reveals nothing about the game’s content. However, the artistic style will borrow from the 1970s’ retro-pulp era and the seven characters displayed on the website’s splash page appear to be pulled straight out of campy sci-fi movies and TV shows from the 1950s and 1960s. The site also defines Keystone as a free team-based shooter “where each move transports you into an epic battle.”

Players begin each match on a starting square of what Digital Extremes calls an “intriguing, mystical board game.” Spanning across a multiverse, each match will push players to remain resourceful and timely when using their cards, as they give each player a unique approach to the current battle, and each team a different strategy given the different cards held by every team member.

Interested PC gamers wanting a shot at the upcoming closed alpha this Friday can head over to the Keystone website now and sign up for access. The chosen participants will be notified on Thursday and provided with a link to download the client. This will be the first wave of Keystone’s closed alpha program, which will conclude on Monday. Bethesda did something similar with its closed alpha for the Quake Champions multiplayer-only shooter for the PC, offering weekend-long play tests.

The studio’s current free-to-play shooter, Warframe, first launched on the PC in March 2013. It then appeared on the PlayStation 4 in November 2013 followed by the Xbox One in September 2014. The game generates revenue by selling in-game credits called Platinum. Players can also purchase weapons, equipment, Warframes, and blueprints using real-world cash.

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Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
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