GDC 2013: The free-to-play ‘Loadout’ is worth every penny (and quite a few more)

Loadout GDC

A multiplayer-focused shooter needs to do something that makes it stand out. Austin-based developer Edge of Reality understands this, and has spent much of the past two years spit-shining the free-to-play Loadout for an audience that isn’t easily dazzled. It shows, as we learned from a sitdown with the free-to-play third-person shooter at the 2013 Game Developer’s Conference.

The principal hook in Loadout that promises to keep players coming back is an insanely elaborate weapon crafting system. Starting with a basic chassis that determines the overall makeup of the thing, players cobble together killing tools of their own out of a basic set of parts. You can then equip your creations in a loadout and carry them into battle.

It all starts with a chassis, which determines the basic “type” of firearm you’re working with. Will you fire bullets or rockets? Sustained beams or energy pulses? The chassis that you settle on determines what other components you can tweak, such as the stock, sights, trigger, barrel, or projectile type.

Each choice confers different effects and there’s a neat “Test” option that allows you to try out your creation in a live-fire environment before finishing it off. The whole interface feels a bit like Ghost Recon: Future Soldier‘s Gunsmith customization menu, only you’ve got a much wider range of options to work with in Loadout. A similarly elaboration customization menu allows for cosmetic alterations to your character, covering everything from clothing and accessories to taunts.

Loadout GDC 2

The slickness of the customization interface carries over into the game as well. Loadout‘s third person action seems to take a page of inspiration from Team Fortress 2, particularly in the exaggeratedly beefy avatars that you trot into battle. The environments are similarly colorful, avoiding the drab military browns and greens that you’d typically expect to see in a multiplayer shooter

What really stands out about Loadout, however, is the overall presentation. Edge of Reality built a nasty little engine for this game from scratch and everything you see drips with quality and fresh ideas. Take Jackhammer, the game’s capture the flag mode. Two teams compete to grab the enemy’s flag and carry it back to home base, same as it ever was, though flag-holders enjoy an added bonus: the “flag” is actually an electrically charged hammer (think Halo‘s gravity hammer). The more kills you can score with the it, the higher your team’s point reward is when you get the flag to your base.

Even small details stand out. Characters take visible damage as you wound them, depending on the weapon you’re wielding. Bullets will carve bits and pieces of skin off of exposed extremities, leaving muscle and even bone fully exposed. This works in reverse as well, with support tools – be they health pick-ups or custom-designed healing “weapons” – visibly patching up the damage.

Loadout is one of those top-quality F2P offerings that we’ve been seeing more and more of lately. We’ll be participating in the beta – which should be opening up wider very soon – and bringing additional insights in the near future. This is definitely one you’ll want to watch for though.

Product Review

‘Battlefield V’ shows up late for battle, but it's still unprepared

Battlefield V’s War Stories give us a new perspective on World War II, but the game’s lack of polish across both its campaign and multiplayer modes are almost impossible to ignore.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Computing

G-Sync is a game-changer. These are the best monitors with Nvidia's display tech

Looking for a monitor that plays well with Nvidia GPUs? You need G-Sync, and we have picked the best G-Sync monitors available! Take a look and find out which monitor works best for your PC upgrade.
Home Theater

The seven best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2018.
Gaming

How to keep a PS4 in your pocket with the PlayStation Mobile app

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can browse profiles, trophies, and other content directly on your mobile device.
Gaming

Fortnite

Our full coverage Fortnite from Epic Games first arrived on PC as an early access game in 2017. Featuring a mode called Save the World, players could jump online with a group of friends to collect resources, build structures, and defend…
Gaming

‘Final Fantasy XV’ mod remembers the RPG’s canceled DLC and features

A Final Fantasy XV mod pays homage to the content canceled by Square Enix. Episodes Aranea, Luna, and Noctis will no longer happen, while the promised level-building tool and Mod Organizer improvements for the PC version were also shelved.
Deals

The best cheap-but-awesome PS4 game deals under $20

The PlayStation 4 has hit its stride in recent years and is now more affordable than ever. If you have a PS4 or are thinking of buying one, we’ve collected some must-have games. The best part? Each of these is just $20 or less.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Gaming

Owners of ROM sites ordered to pay Nintendo more than $12 million

An federal court judge in Arizona has awarded Nintendo more than $12 million in damages in its lawsuit with the owners of two popular ROM websites. The sites must also be transferred to Nintendo's control.
Gaming

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Gaming

‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ parachutes onto PlayStation 4 on December 7

Following months of speculation, PUBG Corp. has announced that PUBG is coming to PS4 on December 7. The PS4 version includes all three maps and major features, and you can get some PlayStation-themed apparel items by pre-ordering.
Gaming

Struggling to survive 'Battlefield 5?' Our boot camp will keep you in the fight

Battlefield V's multiplayer component can be overwhelming, but you can succeed against the enemy with a little help. These are the tips and tricks you need to know to win in Battlefield V.
Gaming

What games were nominated for the The Game Awards 2018? Find out here

The Game Awards returns to Los Angeles for its fifth show this December. Here is everything we know about the event, including its location, where you can watch it, and games that were nominated.