Maryland-based publisher Bethesda Softworks brought their new free-to-play multiplayer action game, BattleCry, to the E3 2014 expo in Los Angeles, California. The game, which was just announced in late May 2014, will be the first release by Austin, Texas developer BattleCry Studios. The studio is headed by Rich Vogel, a veteran of immensely successful online gaming titles Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, and was created by Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media to specialize in free-to-play online game development.
BattleCry is a multiplayer action game in which 32 players engage in head-to-head combat set in an alternate reality in which guns and explosives were banned internationally in the wake of World War I. In this universe, wars are no longer decided by huge armies but by specialized super soldiers wielding a vast and varied arsenal of traditional weapons and technological gadgetry. Players can take to the battlefield as one of five classes: the archer, the brawler, the gadgeteer, the duelist, or the enforcer and fight for one of two factions, the Royal Marines or the Cossacks. As players progress through the game with a given class, they gain access to a wider array of weapons and skills, evoking a sense of traditional MMORPG leveling.
In terms of gameplay and aethestics, BattleCry takes most strongly after Valve’s Team Fortress 2, with a focus on fast-paced, action-packed combat over careful planning and deliberate execution. BattleCry graphics designer Viktor Antanov, known for his work on Half-Life 2 and Dishonored, described the game’s visual style as a “fairy tale romantic perception of war and death” at the E3 presentation. BattleCry draws heavy inspiration from the latter of Antanov’s prior works, utilizing an array of vibrant colors and cel-shading with Renaissance-inspired characters and structures.
Bethesda gave E3 attendees a chance to play the game for themselves, albeit in a pre-alpha state. Available in the demo were the Enforcer, a defensive melee combatant wielding a broadsword that can transform in a shield complimented by a set of buffs to support his teammates in combat. Also available were the archer, who specializes in long-ranged combat, and the Duelist, a mobile melee fighter who specializes in hit-and-run assassinations using stealth and teleportation. The gadgeteer and brawler are as of yet unfinished and did not make an appearance in the E3 demo, although Bethesda did disclose some information on the two classes. The former will use Gauss rifle and a plethora of high-tech devices to rapidly travel about the battlefield while the latter is a front-line fighter who uses a bionic arm to deliver huge amounts of damage to anything in his path.
BattleCry is not slated for release until 2015, although interested gamers can apply for upcoming beta tests on the game’s official website.