Well, Nadeo, the developer of the Trackmania series, as part of their 'Maniaplanet' trio of games (including Trackmania 2 and the to-be-announced Questmania), have taken away most of the complicated stuff the FPS genre has accumulated over the years and replaced it with a simple formula - WASD, two mouse buttons, that's it. And everyone gets a rocket launcher.
Except there's no gore whatsoever, because it's basically a futuristic version of laser-tag.
The philosophy behind this game is much like Trackmania's - keeping things simple, but fun and surprisingly deep. It's designed so pretty much anyone can play, including kids, since there's no real 'violence'. And it's designed for esports, as well, for the same reasons, to help expand the competitive scene while also keeping things accessible. And finally, there's the trademark level of customization Nadeo implements in its games - a deep, expansive level editor like Trackmania 2's, and using scripting to create custom game modes. The first environment, "Storm", will be released first, with other environments to come later.
Plus, it looks jaw-droppingly pretty.
RockPaperShotgun has a fantastic write-up here. Couple of excerpts:
Sadly, our demo didn’t let us muck about with the map-building components. Rather, we got stuck into the running and gunning of the game proper with a few maps that had already been made. Two teams of games journos, battling to the death. Like some kind of horrible dystopian night terror.
As with Trackmania, the focus on simplicity has not been lost. There are basically two buttons besides WASDling about. The left mouse fires off ‘rockets’ while the right mouse button jumps (you can also hold the right mouse button to start sprinting). That’s about it.
I put ‘rockets’ in inverted commas because they look more like long glowing energy projectiles. Yet it’s easy to see why Nadeo are calling them rockets to begin with. They fly across the map relatively slowly, like tracer rounds, so a lot of the game is anticipating exactly where your enemy will be in one or half a second’s time rather than where they actually are at the moment you pull the trigger.
Both firing and sprinting/jumping have separate energy bars. The stamina bar run out very quickly, as does the firepower bar (you can get about four or five rapid shots off before it’s empty) so timing is super important.
It takes a little bit to get used to jumping with the right mouse button. Every journo playing the demo (including myself) instinctively pressed the spacebar at some point, which has rather sneakily become the chat button in this game. This led to some of those wonderful death cries native to PC gaming. “Wwwwwddsssddddd,” cried one journo, as two rockets lodged in his gullet. “Sssaaaaaaaawd,” cried another, as a rail gun round passed through his face.
That said, I’m certain Nadeo has taken matchmaking and the problem of team balance into consideration. Simply because ShootMania to them is an esport waiting to be birthed. From our games so far, it seems Florent was right. It isn’t a violent bloodbath or an over-the-top shooter. Nadeo appear to be making a more focused team game, with both professional gamers and amateurs in their crosshairs, along with all the creative map-maker types.
And they’re right to go that route. Alongside any other FPS, ShootMania would look ridiculously slim. Modern Warfare gun nuts would be easily convinced that the game suffers from anorexia. ‘Where are all the weapons? Why aren’t there any perks?’ But the impression I get is that ShootMania is just preposterously streamlined. To steal a line from the bio of a Twitter spambot, the game’s focus on map-building and tactical gunplay promises to make it “the illegitimate lovechild of strategy and creativity.” The game doesn’t look thin because it’s anorexic. It looks thin because it’s athletic.
At least, it had better be. Or this glowing preview is going to make me look like a prize bollock.
Edited by Masaru Daimon, 24 May 2012 - 07:27 AM.