BattleCry revealed: Bethesda's stylish World War I game without gunpowder
What if war was civilized? What if it was structured, ritualized and — though still brutally violent — maybe even a bit romantic?
Bethesda Softworks and developer BattleCry Studios attempt to answer that thought exercise with BattleCry, a stylish multiplayer combat game that's less your typical online shooter and more of a melee-focused brawler.
BattleCry is an online multiplayer action game for PC in which up to 32 players battle in team-based combat. It's heavily stylized, class-based and full of colorful characters. For shorthand, think Team Fortress 2, but instead of rifles, rocket launchers and miniguns, players battle each other with swords, crossbows and beefy metal fists.
BattleCry is also a free-to-play game — Bethesda's first — but "very different from what a lot of other people are doing in this space," the developer promises.
'We've created a strong, distinct multiplayer experience, a new type of action game with fast frenetic multiplayer set in a beautiful world," said Lucas Davis, design director at BattleCry Studios, at the game's unveiling. The developer is aiming for a balance between ranged and melee combat, drawing influence from third-person action games and brawlers — genres not often exploited in the online multiplayer space.
BattleCry is the eponymous debut game from developer BattleCry Studios, which Bethesda established in 2012. The Austin, Texas-based studio is led by industry veteran Rich Vogel, who previously led development on Star Wars: The Old Republic and Star Wars: Galaxies at BioWare Austin and Sony Online Entertainment, respectively. The game's creative director is Viktor Antonov, who previously helped define the art direction for Valve's Half-Life 2 and Arkane's Dishonored.
The set up for BattleCry is that in the early 20th century the world's superpowers have come to an agreement about how they kill one another. Gunpowder is banned in war as a condition of The Black Powder Treaty. That means no guns, at least in the traditional sense. It also means no chemical weapons and no bombs; soldiers fight each other in up close and personal battles using the technology of the time.
Instead of fighting chaotic wars that wreak havoc upon civilization as each side trades bullets and bombs, conflict is settled in designated WarZones. They're the compartmentalized spaces in which highly trained, specialized soldiers fight for power and glory for the faction of their choosing.