When it was announced in April, MercurySteam described Raiders of the Broken Planet as a “Multiplayer Online Asymmetric Adventure” that will be released as an episodic campaign. The description did not, however, paint an especially vivid picture of the game’s moment-to-moment gameplay. Based on the gameplay demo, we can now see the game will be a third-person cover-based shooter, but with an emphasis on close-quarters and melee combat.
At a glance, it layers the MOBA-influenced conventions of “hero shooters” like Overwatch and Battleborn on a Gears of War-style cover-based shooter. Each player controls a unique character with their own weapons and abilities, which may make them better suited to melee combat, or long-distance shooting and stealth.
Running out of cover causes players to build “stress,” which makes them more resistant to melee attacks, but also causes their silhouette to glow and makes them visible through walls. That stress energy, called Aleph, is also used to complete mission objectives in some cases.
While the game is being designed with multiplayer in mind, chief game designer Enric Alvarez said the gameplay will revolve around a narrative, and will be playable solo or with friends, on or offline. Set on a mysterious planet light-years away from Earth, criminals and outlaws fight for control of an “ability enhancing” resource called Aleph.
Alvarez said the game’s “primary inspiration” was not a multiplayer game or a sci-fi story, but such classic films as Akira Kirosawa’s Seven Samurai, and its western adaptation, The Magnificent Seven.
“We have a group of characters that are united in a very random manner,” Alvarez said, based on a translation from GameReactor. “They share nothing and are looking for their own stuff, so watch out who you turn your back on … And the plot, the narrative, is really fed by the conflicts among them.”
That narrative conceit also what seems to be the game’s asynchronous mechanic: Alvarez emphasized that, in addition to controlling the “anti-heroes” at the heart of the story, players can opt to play as enemies in another group’s play-through. Though the details remain in flux, the system sounds reminiscent of invading another player’s game in the Dark Souls series. Alvarez suggested that the story mode will feature four-player co-op, but the enemy side will presumably allow a different number of people to join in.
If Raiders of the Broken Planet sounds like your cup of tea, you can sign up to join the game’s upcoming PC beta on the developer’s web site. The first episode will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC “later this year.”