LawBreakers, the new free-to-play shooting game from Boss Key Productions, released its first gameplay trailer on Friday, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I guess I shouldn’t have been – the studio was founded by Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski, so clearly there is some street cred there.
Set in the year 2105 on an Earth that is anything but stable, LawBreakers features a pretty unique concept – we somehow manage to blow up Earth’s moon (I blame laser cats) which causes a massive earthquake that almost destroys the world. Darn us and our gigantic hubris. Anyway, this earthquake leaves behind pockets of low gravity scattered randomly around the world, which would either end life as we know it forever or be the best thing since SlamBall, I can’t decide which. I do know that commuting to work would be a heck of a lot more entertaining. But I digress.
The gameplay trailer reveals one arena set in the Grand Canyon, creatively entitled “Grand Canyon 2105” just in case you forgot that I mentioned the location just a second ago, and the year in the paragraph above. Apparently the earthquake and pockets of gravity knocked a few rocks loose in the canyon, and also apparently the National Park Service felt like losing a few boulders was a no-go for tourists because they decided to just chain them in place with gigantic cables. I’m not going to think too long about the science or feasibility behind THAT decision, because the whole map just looks too darn fun, in a “that wizard came from the MOON!” kind of way.
Several characters and classes are outlined in the trailer, including uber-assassin Kitsune, who dual-wields some electro-swords and carries a grappling hook, and Breacher, a heavy gunner with a jetpack. This type of movement is what draws me to the game – characters grapple, fly, float and leap around the map, making use of these low pockets of gravity and the equipment they are carrying to augment their movement. Watching Kitsune’s grappling line in action gives me many happy memories of snagging a low-flying jet in Just Cause 2.
It’s too soon to tell, and the video only features one map and less than two minutes of gameplay, but the potential is there. Free-to-play FPS games frequently turn into “pay to win” models, but it heartens me considerably to read Bleszinski’s comments regarding his vision on the free-to-play model. If he’s right, and he honestly doesn’t plan on turning it into that, this might be the first free-to-play that I actually stick with for more than a few hours. Certainly, the premise, while scientifically ridiculous, lends itself to some pretty epic arena possibilities. That’s enough to hold my interest for now. Bring on the LawBreakers! (and check the debut video below!)