Mod Madness: What to expect from 'The Anacrusis'

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Most 4-group co-op games mimic the Left 4 Dead / Back 4 Blood formula: they're gritty, zombie-infested, bullet-filled mayhem. The Anacrusis looks to keep the mayhem but exchanges zombies for aliens and grit for glam. The real question is: will it work? Ultimately you'll have to play and decide for yourself, but I'm here to arm you with some information before you enter the fray.

Fact recap:

The Anacrusis is being developed by Stray Bombay. This is important for two reasons: One, this is a debut title, which is always exciting to see. Secondly, lead developers Chet Faliszek and Kimberly Voll are veterans of Valve and Riot with impressive resumes under their belts. For Chet Faliszek in particular, his tenure at Valve had him involved with the beloved Left 4 Dead game, which has undoubtedly rubbed off on the production of The Anacrusis. (More on this further on in the article!)

The game releases in early access on January 13th, 2022. On top of the patches, fixes, and content that will trickle through in the upcoming months, The Anacrusis will host weekly challenges and "meta progression" to keep players engaged. Cofounder Chet Faliszek said of the early access format release:

"We want to be able to actively work on this with the community, and not just simply react to bugs or stuff like that. We will meaningfully change the game based on the community." 

Crossplay across all storefronts and consoles will be supported, so friends across the gaming space can link up for some mod madness. It'll also be available on Xbox / PC Game Pass.

Also, before it gets asked: this title will support mods. I cannot begin to imagine (with both horror and delight) what weird mods the online community will come up with.

Story:

Armed with a random myriad of tools and weapons, their wits, and the help of the nifty ship AI, it's up to four people to fight off hordes of a newly-discovered, very volatile alien species. The characters in question are stuck on a ship just on the edge of explored space.

The four playable characters are Nessa, Guion, Liu, and Lance. The larger game story will open up in seasons and slowly unfold their stories, and the alien threat, over time.

Gameplay:

There are three levels accessible to play, though they don't vary wildly between one another. I'll also make a note here that the weapons aren't wildly impressive from what I've researched. It's clear this is an area that the developers are looking to expand upon as they get player feedback and expand the game(play) out. Cofounder Chet Faliszek teased that some of the weekly challenges would have unlockable loot, which implies to me that there will be loot expansion on the horizon.

An interesting note for players is that there is no designated difficulty setting. It's pretty common fare in gaming spaces to be able to ramp up or dial in the difficulty of a game's combat. However, The Annacrusis leaves that decision-making to its in-game AI, The Director, who dials the gameplay to fit your skill level and your team strategy. The promise here is that matches will feel rewarding and encourage exploration, team harmony, and general fun. In a quote from Chet Faliszek, he commented that many players are ultimately looking for a shared experience with friends, not grueling gameplay.

"Our game's not really about difficulty. It's about intensity."

My two cents:

It's good to go into these games with an open mind-- I write these overviews because I want to be wowed by new games, so I'm saying this with an optimistic heart: I'm excited about how this will change co-op shooters. Or rather, I'm really hoping it does. I'm a hesitant gamer with new releases, so I usually wait a few months for the dust to settle before I fully dive in. That said, I'll definitely be keeping a close eye on the upcoming reviews and progress this game makes. (Also, I can't be the only one who picks up major Death Loop vibes, right?)

Let me know what your thoughts are down below!

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