There is still so much we do not know about The Order: 1886, the upcoming third-person shooter from developer Ready at Dawn Studios. Sony has kept a tight lid on this game since it was first announced, and has only recently started doling out information on its settings and how it plays. We know it is set in an alternate-history version of London where airships rule the skies and immortal, machine gun-wielding knights roam the streets. All of this draws inspiration from Arthurian lore, which creative director Ru Weerasuriya expands upon in the interview below.
The demo I saw seems to take place some time after the demo GameSpot’s own Carolyn Petit saw a few months earlier. That earlier demo concluded with the game’s protagonist, Galahad, discovering what resembles a World War I-era machine gun with a drum magazine slapped on top. As it turns out, that gun is known as the thermite rifle, and was the main weapon I got to play around with in my brief time with the game.
According to Weerasuriya, the thermite rifle is a bunker-buster weapon. It is designed to circumvent cover by first firing a cloud of thermite powder into the air. The gun’s secondary fire is a flare launcher. Individually, neither of these weapons seemed to deal much damage, but when combined, the flare would ignite the thermite and cause a shower of molten sparks to rain down on opponents. It was interesting to see a heavy weapon like this deal damage indirectly, rather than mow down foes with a hail of bullets.
The full demonstration, short as it was, saw Galahad and company battling through two firefights with a brief scene of exposition in between. If you saw Sony’s livestream of The Order: 1886 last week, then you already caught a glimpse of what I saw, since both start in the same place. As someone who’s familiar with the Gears of War series and several other third-person shooters, I found The Order: 1886 easy enough to dive into. Galahad would stick and move between spots of cover, and dispatched waves of enemies as they attacked from the buildings above.
The game also looked impressive. Its muted color palette created a moody, depressing interpretation of London’s cobblestone streets. This dark tone was then mirrored in conversations between characters during the break between fights. All that aside, there’s not much else to say about The Order: 1886, other than its release date, which Weerasuriya noted will be sometime in early 2015. Until then, the fog-soaked streets of neo-Victorian London remained shrouded in mystery.