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A new video has been released by indie studio 5 Live Studios (and would you really expect a well-praised video containing only gameplay of pre-alpha footage to come from a triple-A studio?) and it features a game called Satellite Reign, the spiritual-successor to Syndicate, which was gobbled up and regurgitated out as a triple-A turd a few years ago by EA.
The video is short and sweet and completely flies in the face of traditional marketing tactics by the big publishers. Why? Because it's not a CG-laden thrill-ride featuring a festering amount of incongruous violence, possibly a little bit of sex and a whole lot of hot nothing to keep the pot stirring. Sort of like this Assassin's Creed IV trailer.
On the opposite end of that spectrum we have a video that clocks in at a minute and thirty-five seconds. It's pure gameplay. There's no story setup and we get no outlook on the potential characters or features there-in. It's just pure gameplay.
The brilliance of this tactic is that it's not going to go viral; it's not going to get 10 million views and a huge following of casual individuals. It's not that kind of video.
What we're looking at instead is a video showing us mechanics... possibilities and features.
For one thing, even though the game is isometric in nature, the tilt and rotation of the camera lets us know that it's not a static isometric view. This means that unlike games such as Baldur's Gate or Shadowrun Returns, you can actually rotate the camera around and get a nice, good, full view of the map. This also helps with planning combat strategies and tactical maneuvers as well.
The video at the top of the article also lets us know that there's dynamic AI and procedural AI reactions. As you can see in the video, the player gets spotted by a wall-mounted camera and proceeds to use a blaster cannon to destroy the camera. Shortly thereafter, we see that a sidewalk full of civilians becomes a torrent of frightened pedestrians, all fleeing for their life. This is good stuff.
We see that moving characters to certain blockades and structures automatically results in the characters taking cover. This is a nice inclusion of mechanics that recent isometric games have been including, from Jagged Alliance and Shadowrun, to XCOM and Blackguards.
During the firefight, once again we see the civilians take cover and flee the area. The armed NPC guards take positions behind an obstruction and use peeking cover-fire mechanics to pepper suppression fire in the direction of the player. That's some really good stuff.
There's some good things in the future for Satellite Reign if it keeps heading in the direction that it is. After successfully being Kickstarted last year, the developers seem to be making moderate progress.
I can't wait to see how this game turns out as a finished product. In the meantime, feel free to pay visit to the official Kickstarter page for more info.