PAX South has been kicking along over the weekend and, as is customary for PAX, developers have been advertising their wares in interviews and the showroom floor. One of those developers was Cliff Bleszinski, who’s been working with his team on the upcoming 5v5 shooter Lawbreakers.
The 5v5 shooter market is becoming surprisingly crowded, with Bethesda, Blizzard and Boss Key Productions all pitching into the same space. Bleszinski was asked about that directly in a new interview, and his reply was intriguing.
The interview with PC Gamer, which began with a fist bump because that’s Bleszinski’s method of avoiding con-flu, pivoted halfway through into the surprising re-emergence of competitive shooters. “Turns out I’m not the only arsehole who had the idea a few years ago who thought, ‘Huh, I bet I could put together a team of 50-ish, 60, 70 tops people and make like a cool 5v5 multiplayer only game’.”
“And now you have all these games like Overwatch and Battleborn and what not, and when I look at these games, and I said this in my keynote man, Randy’s a good friend of mine, I have friends at Blizzard that work on Overwatch. I’m gonna play the crap out of both of those games, but the art style is just not for me.”
“A lot of the characters, there’s this wacky like, let’s make a catfish with a top hat-type character design that’s popped up lately. I want to be O-Ren Ishii from Kill Bill, I want to be a DEA agent, I want to be an ex-con, I want to be these archetypes that I personally find interesting from film, entertainment and graphic novels that I’ve enjoyed.”
When asked if that was one of the main points of difference, the veteran developer pointed out that along with the advanced movement mechanics, the art and universe would appeal those who wanted a grittier world. “In our universe I’m hoping you get a young kid who’s like 11 and he loves playing Overwatch and that’s cool and then you get the older brother who’s like 14 who’s like, ‘You should see this one. There’s blood in it. And people explode. And they curse.’
“I want to be the rated-R version for all these PG shooters,” he finished. The interviewer didn’t press Bleszinski on the fact that neither player in his pitch would be able to legally play Lawbreakers in such a scenario, although given the average age of gamers these days (for Australia in 2014, it was 32 according to the Bond University/Digital Australia report) that’s not really an issue.