We are at a very interesting point in gaming, as the rapid growth of distribution platforms as well as development tools have enabled even low-budget development teams to craft experiences that rival the AAA blockbusters. And with subscription services like Xbox Game Pass gaining a lot of traction recently, many such games are actually getting the attention and appreciation that they deserve. Hades, Hollow Knight, and many other indie games are shining examples – and we already have discussed titles like Faith of Danschant: Hereafter, Project Magnum, Black Myth: Wukong, and others who are showcasing a similar promise.
Developer VRESKI is a small independent studio based, who has previously worked on The Hong Kong Massacre that was released in 2019. A top-down shooter set in Hong Kong, VRESKI’s debut game was a flawed experience, but it punches well above its weight in a few key aspects such as the actual game feel and presentation among others. The developer is at it once again with its upcoming game tentatively titled, well, Untitled FPS Game – which again, looks to be a natural evolution of the studio’s biggest strengths.
Of course, for starters – we don’t know much about the game – including the name itself which is referred to as simply, Untitled FPS Game. Unsurprisingly, we don’t have any details about the game’s settings, characters, the story, how it will be told, etc. The developer has released multiple short snippets of the game, although it’s really difficult to tell where the game is set as the locations are pretty generic like a parking garage, a bridge, a rooftop – all of which don’t give out much in terms of architecture. The Hong Kong Massacre was criticized on the grounds of a poor and uninteresting narrative alongside extensively repetitive level designs most likely stemming from its low budget, which is one area we would hope to see the developer put some better work on. Of course, a neo-noir story like Max Payne would be a great starting off point, but it could also branch off to a number of different genres depending on the story and other factors.
Unlike The Hong Kong Massacre, this game is played through the first-person perspective which is of course a natural fit for a shooter such as this one. There’s a huge emphasis on slowing time, which allows the player to enter bullet-time and then freely pop off heads of a number of enemies. Much like its obvious inspirations such as Max Payne, this seems to be one of the more essential parts of the gameplay loop. The developer delivered great gunplay with its previous game, so it wouldn’t be all too surprising to see it deliver the same level of quality gunplay once again, although in a different camera perspective.
The Hong Kong Massacre had an interesting premise of having a combat loop where enemies die in one hit (with the exception of bosses) and so do you, which provided a rather close representation of realistic gameplay as you meticulously danced from floor to floor in a hope of scrambling out of seemingly impossible encounters unscathed. While it isn’t confirmed whether this would be the case in Untitled FPS Game or not, it would certainly be an interesting premise to revisit in this new perspective. Last year’s Ghostrunner was a great game that was built around this very simple yet satisfying mechanic, so it would be great to see the same rule applied in Untitled FPS.
Another core pillar of the experience is the destruction system, which is featured extensively during the gameplay demos that the developer has put out. Glasses of cars scatter all across the screen gracefully in slow motion as you pump them with red hot lead, and of course – the car itself would blow out appropriately if you shoot it long enough. You can seemingly also shoot down entire cover objects such as doors to make a grand entrance in the next area, or even shoot down a helicopter with a machine gun. Of course, you can also expect oil barrels and the like to be present in the game – which would work as you’d expect them to. The physics system also adds a sense of realism, and it would be great to see this mechanic being put to great use in tandem with the slow-motion mechanics to be able to execute some slick moves. For instance, blowing a car down to smithereens kills everyone in the vicinity as well as debris flying at great speeds knocks down another enemy far away – something akin to many modern shooters. Of course, it’s just speculation at this point but it would be great to witness nevertheless.
Another point worth talking about is also its visuals. Untitled FPS Game is being developed using Unreal Engine, although it isn’t clear exactly which version of the engine the game will be using. The game’s presentation looks crisp, with sharp high-resolution textures and geometry, and great destruction mechanics. While it’s uncertain whether the game uses ray-traced reflections or not, the lighting and reflections are appropriate and give the game an overall clean and pristine look – which can also be attributed to its art direction. The fact that only 2 people are known to be working on the game right now makes this accomplishment all the more surprising and has us excited even more for the final product.
Untitled FPS Game – much like VRESKI’s previous game seems to be punching well above its weight. More so, it’s focused on delivering an action-packed single-player adventure with mechanics that, while not original, are extensively loved by fans of the genre who want more experiences like this. It would be great to see the developer improving its other aspects such as story and atmosphere, but even as it stands – it’s rather surprising that just a couple of extremely talented developers are able to achieve something of this scale with high production values.
Of course, given the fact that we are still referring to the game by its working title – fans shouldn’t expect it to be dropping any time soon – at least any time before 2023. But with games like Max Payne, and other similar single-player shooter franchises being dormant for such a long time – the time seems ripe for a game such as this one to make it to the market as quickly as possible while ensuring quality standards. Much like VRESKI’s previous game, Untitled FPS Game would probably release on both PC and consoles and here’s hoping that it turns out to be great in the best possible way.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.