We’re late, and it seems that’s become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren’t doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January’s releases, but now it’s time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.
Capcom’s Strider, today most commonly known for the main character’s appearances in the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise, will be the star of his own game next week on February 19 for the first time in more than 20 years. This particular entry appears to draw more from his NES game than any of his other appearances, mixing the exploration of Metroid with the visceral combat of Ninja Gaiden. As a result, comparisons to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are inevitable and likely warranted. If any company can follow in the footsteps of these giants, it’s Capcom — seeing what it does in a two-dimensional environment given the horsepower of the Xbox One will be a treat.
Indie developer Serellan’s methodical breach and clear shooter, Takedown: Red Sabre, has been delayed citing a last minute bug fix while submitting to Microsoft. Unfortunately, however minor it may be, this means the spiritual successor to the original Rainbow Six and SWAT series has lost its place in the Xbox Live Arcade release line. Speaking on behalf of the development team, Serellan’s public relations conduit stated that it expects to secure another release slot as soon as the developer resubmits the title to Microsoft, which should take place in the next few days.
Takedown was originally slated to launch on XBLA this coming Friday, September 20, in an effort to hit all targeted launch platforms simultaneously. Unfortunately the delay means you’ll have to wait a little longer to customize your squads and outline your tactics across the game’s many objective-based missions. We’re confident the finished product will be well worth the wait, as outlined in our hands-on E3 preview. In the meantime, you can check out the new recoil and movement preview video after the jump to get a weapon-handling head start.
The thinking-person’s tactical shooter, Takedown: Red Sabre is breaching the Xbox Live Arcade community next month, targeting September 20 at $14.99/1200 MSP. Independent developer Serellan touts Red Sabre as the spiritual successor to the original Rainbow Six and SWAT series, putting the focus back on methodical, measured gameplay that glances back to a time when shooters came in a variety of flavors, before being eclipsed by the frenzied run-and-gunner and the bombast of huge set pieces.
As private military contractors, you’ll accept varied objectives from multiple employers. You’ll map out each mission insertion, planning routes and tactics, equipping your squad(s) with the necessary tools to get the job done. Non-linear environments allow for flexibility and diversity in each engagement across the campaign, co-op and competitive multiplayer modes – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to a problem.
We sat down with Creative Director Christian Allen during our E3 preview of Takedown: Red Sabre, and were struck by the stripped-down realism Serellan has injected into their project. When there’s no radar or regenerating health, when every round fired could be the one that counts, slow and steady isn’t just recommended, it’s a requirement. You can hit the jump to see the orchestrated madness in action.
He knows what he wants, Christian Allen does. He’s known since the start. Even before the start, actually. Before Takedown: Red Sabre’s 2012 Kickstarter campaign successfully raised over $200,000, Allen, creative director at indie development studio Serellan, knew he wanted to go back.
He wanted to take gamers back in time. Not too far, only a few years. Back to a time when “tactical” shooters felt more, well, tactical. They had realistic combat — or as close as video games of that could come to approximating it, at least. The Tom Clancy video games from early last decade didn’t play anything at all like the myriad Halo, Gears of War and Call of Duty releases that dominate today’s shooter market. Certainly there is nothing inherently wrong with the approaches those games’ developers have taken to creating an FPS. There is something wrong, though: most everyone else is trying to make the same games as them.
Not Allen and his team at Serellan. Allen knows what he wants, and it isn’t Halo or Call of Duty. Lucky for him, he seems to have a team that knows how to deliver it.
Being a team player
He estimates that the least amount of experience anyone at Serellan has is eight years. Each member of the team has shipped multiple shooters for multiple platforms. As for Allen, between 2002 and 2007 he worked for Tom Clancy factory Red Storm Entertainment on various titles in the Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six franchises — tactical shooters. I ask if that deep and varied shooter development background meant Takedown would feature a lot of different concepts.
“I wouldn’t say it’s about concepts, because we’ve had a really clear vision from day one about what we wanted gamers to experience,” Allen responds. “The great thing about the different devs is that we’ve all shipped at least a billion dollars in revenue of games and almost exclusively shooter titles. So I know, for example, our weapons artist, our character artist, our environment artist — they know how to build shooter levels and content that works, so I can really fire and forget.”