When it comes to immersive first-person games with emergent gameplay and complex systems to conquer across intricately laid-out levels, there’s no developer quite like Arkane. Its Dishonored series boasts some of the most inventive, surprising games of recent years, and it’s set to make another splash with its next title, Deathloop.
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The game is a timed console exclusive for the PlayStation 5 and will also come out on PC, and there’s a lot that’s unique about it. That’s why we’ve gathered all the key details you need to know, right here.
Deathloop release date and delay
Deathloop was announced a good while back, but its launch date was only confirmed in late 2020. The game was initially set to release on 21 May 2021, on both PS5 and PC, which would have made it one of the earlier third-party titles to make its way onto Sony’s newest, most powerful console.
However, Arkane recently announced a significant delay to the game – it’ll now release on 14 September 2021 instead. As with many games this year, the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic seems behind it, with Arkane citing the health and safety of its employees as a big reason behind the new date.
— DEATHLOOP (@deathloop) April 8, 2021
That’s a real shame, but it hopefully means that when the game does eventually hit store shelves it’ll be even more polished and impressive.
This is where things get a little more complicated – as we’ve said, Deathloop is coming out initially on the PS5 and PC. However, since the game was announced and shown off as a console exclusive, the ground shifted under Arkane.
The developer is owned by Bethesda, which is in the process of being purchased by Microsoft, which obviously makes the Xbox Series X and S. All of a sudden, Bethesda has found itself publishing an exclusive for what is effectively a rival console-maker.
To its credit, the Xbox team has confirmed that nothing will change for Deathloop’s launch and that it’ll remain a PS5 exclusive for a year. After that, though, you can put good money on it coming immediately to the next-gen Xboxes, and most likely going straight on Game Pass.
Deathloop is set on the island of Blackreef, a mysterious place that seems to be set in a sort of alternate-reality version of the 60s, at least as far as fashion goes. A huge range of nefarious types is gathered on the island and enjoying a perpetual, sadist party thanks to a time loop that resets a single day over and over again.
Players will control Colt, a man being hunted by the whole island as he tries to break the loop by killing eight key targets to a strict time limit. Die or fail to kill them all before midnight, and the loop will reset, for another try.
It looks like a vibrant story told with flair, and Arkane says that the island will come to feel like a character of its own by the time players are getting further through their runs, so we can’t wait to sink our teeth in and find out just exactly why Colt’s on the run, and how the time loop really works.
This is where things get juicy – Deathloop looks like an absolute smorgasbord of gameplay elements. It’s a first-person shooter, and seems to be structured a bit like a Roguelike, in that your progress resets when you die. However, like that genre’s best games, the knowledge you gain from each run should help you get further the next time.
There are clearly absolutely loads of weapons to find and use, with trailers showing off shotguns, pistols, SMGs, sniper rifles and more outlandish technology as well, while Colt also has access to what look like some pretty powerful special abilities.
These seem to include the ability to teleport short distances, which will be familiar to Dishonored players, and shunt people around with some force, among others. Players will have to be quick and efficient to kill all eight of their targets as they run around the island’s four zones – The Complex, Updaam, Fristad Rock and Karl’s Bay.
Players can visit these in any order they like, across four time slots in each loop – morning, noon, afternoon and evening. Each level will be significantly different in the various slots, so lots of loops will be needed for you to work out how the whole routine works like clockwork.
However, another amazing twist comes in the form of Deathloop’s multiplayer – tailing them the whole way is a rival assassin, Julianna, whose only aim is to kill Colt. This killer is controlled by another invading player (although you can choose to have it be AI-controlled instead), which reminds us of the invasion mechanics from the Dark Souls games.
Taking control of Julianna to disrupt other players’ plans, or managing to fight off an invading player in your own game, sounds like an amazing sprinkle of extra drama and unpredictable chaos to us.