Bet on Soldier Updated Impressions - The Multiplayer System

We've got the first details on how the multiplayer mode in Bet on Soldier will let you fight head-to-head duels in the midst of bigger online battles.

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With the game's release date nearing, British publisher Digital Jesters is betting that Bet on Soldier, its upcoming first-person shooter, can garner some attention in the crowded action genre. We've had an eye on Bet on Soldier since we first saw it last year at various trade shows, and the game has progressed quite a bit since then. We got an update this week when Digital Jesters swung by the office to show us what's new, as well as fill us in on the first tangible multiplayer details.

The latest news on the game is that it's entering the last stages of development. French developer Kylotonn is busy finalizing the interface and other features of the game. This includes optimizing the game for certain technologies. For example, the game will be optimized for 64-bit processors, and it will be one of the first games (if not the very first) to take advantage of the physics processors that are supposedly due out later this year. That means that if you run the game with a PC equipped with a physics chip, it will unlock more physics objects, giving you the ability to push and manipulate a lot more in the gameworld.

There are numerous types of weapons, armor, shields, and more in the game, provided you can afford them.
There are numerous types of weapons, armor, shields, and more in the game, provided you can afford them.

In the single-player campaign, you'll be able to choose from a variety of available missions from a global map. The game has you playing as a mercenary out to avenge his dead wife, who was killed by fellow mercenaries in the Bet on Soldier system. Basically, war has become global entertainment, and viewers worldwide follow their favorite mercenaries in various missions, betting on the outcome of a face-off whenever two ranked mercenaries meet. The game will have approximately 50 Bet on Soldier champions that you will be able to face, each with a unique personality, fighting style, and Achilles' heel. So after you select a mission (some missions will be rated more difficult than others, with a corresponding increase in potential reward), you'll select your armor and weapons, and then select up to three or four different Bet on Soldier champions that you will face in the mission. Again, each champion is rated, so you can select highly rated (and more challenging) champions and risk a bigger reward, or you can play it safe with the lower-rated champions. You can also hire computer-controlled teammates and give them fairly simple orders, such as to go to a certain spot or to follow you. Furthermore, these mercenaries can come in different classes. An engineer-class mercenary, for instance, not only will provide fire support but will also repair your armor automatically, saving you cash since you won't have to go to a repair station and pay to get the armor restored. And armor is a huge deal in the game, as you can repair armor during a match but you won't be able to heal damage to your body.

Much of the work right now is focused on balancing, so lots of the final details are being nailed down. This includes the multiplayer suite in the game, though we were finally given new details on how multiplayer will work in Bet on Soldier. The idea is to combine the Unreal style of multiplayer action with the Counter-Strike school of play. So multiplayer is a squad-based affair, where you will be able to take on a class, such as an engineer, and work as part of a larger team. Your squad will battle another squad on arena-style levels, and you will specifically try to take over control zones, which have terminals in them that can trigger a Bet on Soldier face-off. The goal for both sides will be to amass a certain amount of cash, and that's done through betting successfully on face-offs.

Bet on Soldier multiplayer will allow individual duels to occur while the rest of the players battle it out.
Bet on Soldier multiplayer will allow individual duels to occur while the rest of the players battle it out.

Here's how it works. If your team gets control of a control zone, you can use the terminal to select one of the opposing players to battle one of your players in an adjoining arena on the level. After being selected, the players chosen will have a little time to repair their armor and reload weapons at a terminal before they appear in the arena. If they fail to appear, they'll forfeit the face-off and lose cash. Once both players are in the arena, no one will be able to interfere in the proceedings, and the two will battle it out until one is victorious. Meanwhile, everyone else will be able to continue battling outside, and multiple Bet on Soldier sessions can occur at the same time, as each level will have a number of smaller arenas on it. The idea is that if you can control the control point, you can dictate the matches, because you can assign your best player to take on your enemy's worst player, thus increasing the odds that your side will prevail. Of course, this also means the enemy can do the same to you. How odds are calculated is still being determined, though.

Multiplayer will support up to 32 players, with 16 players on each side. Many of the multiplayer levels are derived from the single-player levels, but there will also be a number of multiplayer-only maps. And the exoskeletons seen in the single-player game (essentially giant robotic armored suits) will probably not show up in multiplayer, because of a balance issue, though once again, final details are still being determined. Still, the multiplayer system in Bet on Soldier is certainly unique, and the game continues to look like a fresh new take in a very crowded genre. It will be interesting to see how first-person shooter fans warm up to the game. We'll find out relatively soon, because the game is scheduled to ship this September.

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