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Gigantic: Rampage Edition gives a failed live-service game a second chance

A hero and guardian in Gigantic: Rampage Edition.
Gearbox Entertainment

When video game developers and publishers constantly hunt for their own live service white whale, many of them fail. Even fewer of those get second chances like Gigantic is about to.

Originally developed by Motiga and published by Perfect World Entertainment, Gigantic was a hero-based multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that was heavily marketed in the mid-2010s. Unfortunately, it failed to garner enough attention or make enough money for its developer and publisher for a variety of reasons, so it was shut down in 2018. That would be the end of the story for most live-service games, but Gigantic is getting another shot at life.

Since its closure, Perfect World Entertainment merged into Borderlands’ Gearbox Entertainment. Now, it’s working with Abstraction, a developer that’s mainly been a support studio on titles like Baldur’s Gate 3, to bring this multiplayer game back as a premium release, titled Gigantic: Rampage Edition. Ahead of its reveal today, I checked out the game early and found that Gigantic hasn’t lost any charm since 2018.

Big gains

Fans of hero shooters will be familiar with the core of Gigantic, as there’s a cast of 23 characters with customized loadouts and distinct abilities that can radically shift how you play. None of these characters had the time to enter the pop culture zeitgeist like Tracer from Overwatch or the Heavy from Team Fortress 2, so I forgot just how charming they all look and how vibrantly they were animated. Gigantic‘s original mode, called Clash, is still present, but the biggest draw of Rampage Edtion compared to the original is a new mode called Rush.

Gameplay in Gigantic: Rampage Edition
Gearbox Entertainment

In this faster-paced mode, players rack up kills and collect energy on a map to gain enough power for an opportunity to attack their opponents’ Guardian. The first to take down the opposing team’s Guardian wins. It’s a snappier mode emphasizing combat over the tactical play and more intricate character leveling that Clash requires. Fans of Domination modes in other shooters will have a good time with Rush, potentially opening up Gigantic to a whole new audience. Matches can go by quickly if one team dominates, but they truly shine when teams of equal skill levels can go up against each other as they slowly increase a damage multiplier after every attempt to take down an opposing team’s guardian.

This will be the mode all new players immediately unlock upon booting up Gigantic: Rampage Edition, as Clash doesn’t become available until Level 10. Rampage Edition will also include two new characters, Roland and Kajir, who were both in development for the initial game, but went unreleased. Two new maps, the pirate-themed Picaro Bay and industrial Heaven’s Ward, will also be part of Rampage Edition from day one. Abstraction and Gearbox Entertainment made several tweaks to the UI to make Gigantic more understandable and brushed up its tutorials to improve onboarding.

Gigantic: Rampage Edition feels like a bit of a throwback release in how Gearbox now plans to handle support for it. It will be a premium release priced at $20 and feature no microtransactions like the original. Characters need to be unlocked, but that’s done through vouchers unlocked via gameplay. A producer I spoke to during our demo likened the setup to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. These changes seem to directly address some of the factors that caused Gigantic to fail initially, like a confusing user experience and reliance on microtransactions for revenue. Gearbox hopes the inclusion of crossplay keeps the community together and sustained this time.

Roland fights in Gigantic: Rampage Edition
Roland is one of the new characters added in Gigantic: Rampage Edition. Gearbox Entertainment

Because of how Gearbox is approaching this rerelease, you shouldn’t expect live-service support in the vein of titles like Overwatch 2 or Fortnite unless Gigantic: Rampage Edition becomes a viral success. Instead, post-launch support for this game will entail the addition of a Ranked mode and character skins. Ultimately, the longevity of this new version will be directly related to whatever community forms around it, as its single-player offerings are mainly limited to bot matches and tutorials meant to help players hone their skills for multiplayer. If you’re looking for a satisfying form of progression in the absence of something like a battle pass, you should turn to the game’s challenge-based Fortune system that offers various rewards and is refreshed weekly.

I don’t know if this premium approach guarantees success for Gigantic: Rampage Edition, but I appreciate that this game is getting a new lease on life thanks to a new team of developers. I had a lot of fun playing through Rush mode with its developers, as I was reminded that there was a vibrant hero shooter underneath Gigantic’s legacy as a failed multiplayer game. I’m glad that this gem of a multiplayer game is getting a new lease on life.

Gigantic: Rampage Edition launches for PC, PlayStation 4, PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on April 9. A closed beta for it will be held between February 22 and 23 on Steam.

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Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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