Monday, 11 May 2015

Hooray! Something's happening!


Milgeek has been through 'news droughts' before - I remember the great tumble-weed and cobweb epidemic in the months leading up to the release of Battlefield 4 - but things seem to haven got progressively worse over the past couple of years.

I guess if you want to be serious for a moment you might surmise that it might be something to do with the recession - as many game developers have cut back on productions and shelved other promising titles which may have only had a slim market appeal. But it seems that there is at least some light at the end of the tunnel...

Today Blackfoot Studios released what they describe as a 'tech preview' of one of my 'most eagerly anticipated' titles for 2015 - Ground Branch.

One of the nice touches will be the character customisation section. Hopefully, the
final game will include a plethora of nationalities and uniforms to choose from.

I've mentioned this before, but here's a quick recap: Ground Branch is - essentially - a 'getting back to basics' military FPS game for PC (and Mac) which is in the spirit of the original 2001 'Ghost Recon' [GhR] game. For those that don't know, after the first two Tom Clancy Ghost Recon 'classic' games Ubisot - the developers - went a bit mental and turned the franchise into the first of the 'advances fighter' type of games. Everything became about silly drones and cloaking shields and HUDs - and classic Ghost Recon fans did not like it...They did NOT like it one little bit!

Anyway, fast-forward, and  one of the developers involved with the original GhR decided there was a niche in the market for something like the classic military shooter and began development of Ground Branch.

Now to understand what marks out Grand Branch as 'something different' in an already very populated market you need to understand where the kind of gameplay we are talking about lies. If you imagine a game that is a little more 'realistic' (relatively speaking) than either CoD or Battlefield, as far as infantry action goes, but then is not quite as stupidly 'simmy' as Arma then - I think - you have an idea what space Ground Branch is intended to occupy. (But that's my opinion.)

Anyway, the 'tech preview' is simply a teaser where you can walk around some of the environment and see how the game mechanics 'feels'. It not a game - there is nobody to shoot - you literally just get to walk around a couple of the game 'map' areas and fire your gun. That's it...

The 'tech preview' is very bare bones, there is nobody to shoot at! But it does give
the player a glimpse into what's in store for them and it is nice to see some
progress in the development of the game.

Although very restricted this teaser is hugely important as it gives potential players an idea whether this much anticipate game is going in the right direction - it also helps placate gamers who are an incredibly impatient lot!

I certainly appreciated it - for all that there isn't a lot to do - as I was really pleased to see how the FPS player controls were intuitive and I instantly felt at home with the game (something that I NEVER was with ArmA by comparison). So for me - one of the expectant fans - this was very much worth the download.

Hopefully there will be more - and more sophisticated - 'tech previews' in the future and I for one think this is how games should be developed - not just banged out at the Alpha stage by which time most of the actual game mechanics are set in stone. So a bit thumbs up to Blackfoot Studios.

....Now get on with the rest of the game! ;)

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