While Microsoft and Activision duke it out in court against the US Federal Trade Commission over the blockbuster title Call of Duty, developers from Theorycraft are working on a new project that has the potential to over shadow the highly valued first-person shooter.
In an interview with Polygon, Theorycraft Games revealed several details about the upcoming title they’re working on that includes “squad-based hero battleground” in the vein of League and Dota 2.
Theorycraft’s new passion project has been internally referred to as Project Loki and testers who have gotten early access to the game describe it as “League meets Apex meets Smash.”
Project Loki players are grouped into four-player teams and dropped into a large map ala Fortnite, but the maps are set in the sky and combat consist of both shooting and brawling.
Similar to Dota 2, the game presents a top-down view of the fast-paced action in the game.
When asked about the obvious comparison to League of Legends and Dota 2, and what would set this game apart, executive producer Jonathan Belliss explained,
I think most people, when they see it, they’re like, Oh yeah, this looks like a MOBA. But when you put your actual hands on it and you play it, it actually feels pretty different. A lot of our playtesters tell us that it’s more like Hyper Light Drifter or Enter the Gungeon — a top-down shooter with fine-grained WASD controls with aim-based combat. Less like how a MOBA controls. In a MOBA, you’re issuing a command to a hero and then they are moving on the battlefield. For us, you are that hero, you are moving.
There are elements of MOBAs that are alive and well in our game. There’s a diverse set of character gameplay fantasies, and they’re all constructed in a way where you’re meant to team up with your friends and use them [cooperatively] and have big wombo combos — things that you’d expect from League of Legends or Dota.
There’s also a range of agency powers and abilities that are intended to be really expansive in terms of the possibility space, whereas I think if you look at other battle royales — a lot of them are military simulations/gun-based, so they’re a bit constricted — we have technology, fantasy, magic, and all these different things. We try to lean into that and give you a lot of agency on not only how you play, but how you affect the sandbox.
Another standout for Project Loki is its developer pool which includes talent from developers who left studios such as Riot Games, Bungie, and Blizzard, all known for successful titles in each genre leveraged for gameplay.
A lot of us have worked at really big companies, and when you work at really big companies you focus on a lot of different things. We just want to focus on one game and make this one game as good as it can be. That’s really hard in some of those other environments — and it’s no knock on those other companies; they’re trying to accomplish things that are much larger than an individual game. But a lot of us are just really, really passionate competitive gamers. And we just want to focus on making a great competitive game and nothing else.
As part of a media tour, Theorycraft released an almost 5-minute-long video on YouTube where former lead of League of Legends and former developer at Bungie Joe Young walks through some of the early details of Project Loki as well as a request to get more testers ti join.
As the industry waits with baited breath to see what fallout comes from the block or eventual closure of the Microsoft and Activision deal, it’s still refreshing to see independent studios cropping up to provide new gaming experiences for the community.
There is no official timeframe or roadmap available for Project Loki, but Theorycraft does offer a sign-up page for anyone interested in testing out early builds of the new title here.