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Feature Article

Duke Nukem Devs Unveil A New Shooter That's Straight Out Of The '90s

Throwback shooters making a comeback.

3D Realms, the creators of Duke Nukem and the original Prey, have whole-heartedly embraced its past as old-school game developers. With Ion Maiden still in the wings, a throwback game that strongly emulates old-school shooters, the team at 3D Realms have more plans for another return trip to the past, strengthening the studio's belief that there's more to be said about games from a particular era. In the upcoming Wrath: Aeon of Ruin--launching this summer on PC-- it channels the same sense of action and pacing found from the early days of the 3D first-person shooter.

In a similar vein to 3D Realms' Ion Maiden, Wrath follows that same trend by sticking closely to the classic design of early 3D first-person shooters of the mid-90s, while also going all in on its action-horror angle. The developers, however, decided to push things a bit further by injecting some modern flair to help enhance some of the old-school aspects of its design. Built entirely on the original Quake engine, the same technology that id Software used for the 1996 FPS Quake, the developers worked closely with a number of designers and modders--including Jeremiah 'Killpixel' Fox--who used the tech at the time to make Wrath a more authentic game from the era.

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"Everything we miss about the classic era is kind of gone now in most modern first-person shooters, and we kind of want to bring that back," said Frederik Schreiber, Vice President of 3D Realms. "Ion Maiden was basically the restart of our [3D Realms] timeline, we basically went back to 1996. For Wrath, we actually stumbled upon a Quake modder going under the name 'Killpixel', who was actually working on a particular mod for the game. There are tons of mods for Quake out there, but his stuff looked surprisingly cool. We decided to work with him on this and develop it further, hiring the best people who knew Quake and actually worked on the engine back in the day, all in order to put together a true successor in spirit to what the original Quake was back in the '90s. It's also the first major 3D Realms game that has been made internally in over a decade."

In Wrath, you play as the mysterious Outlander, who finds himself lost within the ruins of an old world. Eventually, he encounters an entity that tasks him with eliminating various deities and monsters lurking throughout the decaying landscape, and he'll use a variety of grotesque weapons and mystical artifacts to do just that. Set across three chapters, with five levels each, the campaign will take the Outlander across a variety of different locations that grow more bizarre and challenging as new creatures and foes come up.

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Jumping into Wrath will make you feel right at home for if you have fond memories of old-school shooters. With swarms of enemies in every field and narrow passage, you'll quickly get accustomed to the strength and weight of your arsenal of weapons. Starting out with a wrist-blade, which offers an interesting secondary attack that can thrust you forward, you'll quickly upgrade to more devastating tools of war like the classic double-barrelled shotgun and a poison-sac launcher. Eventually, you'll find special artifacts that allow you to use powerful perks and skills, such as a relic that absorbs health from enemies. In an interesting twist that highlights the game's focus on challenge, the Soul Tether artifact doubles as a spawn point and a save game mechanic. If you die, you'll return back to where you placed the artifact, which uses up your relic in the process--essentially making saved games a tactical and finite option.

Though it's a classic '90s shooter through-and-through, it does introduce some more modern tricks and innovations. In addition to some new technology boosting the Quake engine beyond its previous limitations, allowing for larger levels and faster gameplay not seen in games from the '90s, it also incorporates some gameplay mechanics and quality-of-life touches on the physics and core gameplay that emulates the ease of use from recent titles. It was interesting getting to revisit this style of gameplay after having been so used to the games of today. There's noticeably very little filler when it comes to making your way through the levels. The action kept up at a swift pace, and it was constant. It all felt very matter of fact and to the point, which of course is by design.

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Wrath: Aeon of Ruin aims to rekindle much of the same energy and tone found from the darker FPS games of the '90s. With Quake being such a seminal game of the era, and with hardcore fans keeping the tech and spirit live in the years since, the developers plan to make Wrath a real tribute to the classics of the '90s, while also showing that they're still worthwhile in today's age. Though the PC version will release first, Wrath will also find its way to PS4, Xbox One, and the Switch sometime later in 2020.

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Avatar image for ecurl143
ecurl143

Inspired by the 90's or made in the 90's?

Avatar image for jsprunk
JSprunk

No reloading....there is a god.

Avatar image for gamer_joe
gamer_joe

It maybe a good shooter but it won't be as corny & hilarious as Duke Nukem for sure. Sadly, those days are gone!!! Thanks to those PC band wagons.

Avatar image for Blade_Runner_07
Blade_Runner_07

This better be better than recent awesome doom.

Avatar image for icelandichossi
IcelandicHossi

lol 3d Realms is still alive????

Listen everyone, this is a nostalgia cash grab so be careful/ The game might be great but I will wait to see if it is good before I buy

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@icelandichossi: Seeing it's Pc it might be cheap though lol

Avatar image for nintendians
nintendians

i will try it if the controller layout it's not a mess.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@nintendians: First person shooters are made to be played with mice.

Avatar image for nintendians
nintendians

@Thanatos2k: really depends on the user and i'm not one of those mouse and keyboard users.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@nintendians: No, it doesn't depend on the user. Keyboard mouse are definitvely better controls for games where you aim and click on things.

Avatar image for nintendians
nintendians

@Thanatos2k: we could argue all the time and still won't be satisfy with answers, we give to each other.

like i said, i sucked using a mouse and keyboard and i just prefer the controller more, feels natural to me.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@nintendians:I hope you don't mean on PC . You can't use a controller for fast paced PC shooters like this lol. Keyboard and mouse is the only way to play lol.

Avatar image for nintendians
nintendians

@deviltaz35: well i suck with mouse and keyboard, so i don't mind using a gamepad controller.

Avatar image for santinegrete
santinegrete

@nintendians: you don't suck with them, you're just not used to them. If you think you're good with thumbsticks it may be the autoaim doing the job. Give it a chance to M+K, a real gamer can be lot of things, but flexibility to try new controls is a must to see the most of it.

Avatar image for nintendians
nintendians

@santinegrete: i play without auto-aim and i'm decent with a gamepad controller. i don't mind mouse and keyboard, but my hands doesn't function as good my thumb and fingers for the gamepad does. been a console gamer with shooter games (1st or 3rd) since goldeneye on the n64, dual sticks since cod4:mw on the ps3.

Avatar image for Pupchu
Pupchu

Oh thank God, finally something that looks like a good shooter instead of something that looks and plays like COD.

Avatar image for teddyboy46
teddyboy46

can't hardly wait. I am playing Duke Nukem 3d right now . would love old school shooters to make a come back.

Avatar image for hochstreck
hochstreck

As much as I like this in concept, it has to be done good still.

As developer, you have to find ways to make low polygons and low textures look cool and better not skip on offering eloborate, smart and creative lvl-design.

Companies like Nintendo show how it's done to your average 2D-Action-Jump'n'Run, offering very imaginitve, complex and effective stage designs as well as a strong core game with lots of different and interesting to tackle enemy and trap-types.


Avatar image for Milennin
Milennin

Hm, I like the graphics.

Avatar image for YukoAsho
YukoAsho

This isn't a bad design philosophy 3D Realms and 1C are going with. Making these retro games on retro, open-sourced engines is a great way to cut the dev costs. Yeah, they won't sell a bajillion copies, but they won't have to either.

Avatar image for evilgrin
evilgrin

Way better animations, looks like quake, but definately much smoother looking.

Avatar image for cherub1000
Cherub1000

I'm 37 and the pics bring back the glory days haha! If it hits the consoles I'll definitely pick it up!

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@cherub1000: I don't think you would need much of a PC to run it :) .

Avatar image for cherub1000
Cherub1000

@deviltaz35: haha you've got a point there!

Avatar image for dragonsama
dragonsama

So hey Gamespot this is NOT 3D Realms first new game. They released Bombshell in 2016!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombshell_(video_game)

Avatar image for afillari
afillari

@dragonsama: Thanks for leaving a comment. To clarify, Bombshell and Ion Maiden were made by other developers. 3D Realms served as the publisher for those games. Wrath is indeed the first game 3D Realms has developed internally in quite some time.

Staff
Avatar image for iskaroth
iskaroth

Looks like garbage. Yea, Doom 2, Duke Nukem 3D, Blood etc. were fun in the 90s but someone should remind those devs its 2019 already.

Avatar image for xantufrog
xantufrog

@iskaroth: I'm confused. You say it "looks" like garbage, but then describe how fun these games were.

So... Do you think this game will not be fun?

Moderator
Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@xantufrog: I think it looks great but so does Quake lol . Something was lost when they stopped making brilliant games like these. Bring it on. The only games we have in the new 3D space worth playing is Doom 2016 and Prey which granted are both brilliant. Possibly Rage 2 may have the old school vibe a bit too.

Avatar image for xantufrog
xantufrog

@deviltaz35: yeah i mean i get that it doesn't have the hot new graphics engine of the year, but IF it's good (and it looks good) then I'd take that any day over something flashier but less visceral

Moderator
Avatar image for uninspiredcup
uninspiredcup

@iskaroth: They should make a game were you walk in a straight-line and watch cutscenes every 30 seconds? That costs £50?

Online
Avatar image for iskaroth
iskaroth

@uninspiredcup: Yea, clearly its impossible to have good gameplay and decent, modern graphics. Cant have both....oh wait!

Avatar image for RELeon
RELeon

Reminds me mostly of the original Quake games. Not my cup of tea now-a-days, but I am sure its a fun game for those who like retro shooters.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@RELeon: How can you not like Retro shooters , i guess it's different if you grew up on a steady diet of them along with text adventures and text and graphic adventures which sadly are few and far between these days. I loved the puzzles in those games as some could have you stuck for weeks and there were no hints online in the good old days to cheat.

Avatar image for Sound_Demon
Sound_Demon

@deviltaz35: Sorry he isn't as old as you but how can you be shocked someone doesnt like retro shooters? Do you like peas? What!? You dont!?

Avatar image for thelostscribe
Thelostscribe

Man, that image with the white and red moon in the sky, grey architecture and crazy weapon definitely brings back that 90's feel.

Looks interesting, may have to delve into it.

Avatar image for Hagan
Hagan

I don't think the graphics are an issue. I don't think the game will appeal to everyone, but the presentation of the game shouldn't really cause someone to completely disregard it.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@Hagan: Especially when people like Minecraft which looks ten times worse lol

Avatar image for Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

They keep making stuff like this, they're gonna run into financial issues again.

Avatar image for dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

@Pierce_Sparrow: No, what got them in trouble in the past was constantly adding to games the most current "hot" feature and not actually finishing the game (Duke Nukem Forever) to sell. This is the most likely road for them to return to relevance and profitablity, follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple Stupid).

Avatar image for Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

@dlCHIEF58: They couldn't finish Duke Nukem Forever because they didn't have the money to do it. This is a nostalgic game, but that's about it. There's a difference between keeping it simple, and adding nothing new at all. I'd guess that they're doing this because they figure they can save money by making the game cheap, while selling it off as nostalgic ode to the past. I just wonder how well a simple, old looking game like this can really do when it adds pretty much nothing to the genre. If it's good, then great, but making a game that is pretty much just like Quake isn't really how you make a big comeback.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@Pierce_Sparrow: Some parts of Duke Nukem Forever are not too bad. It just wasn't given the polish it deserved. It is nowhere near as bad on PC as people make out though but unfortunately the console ports are so bad they aren't worth looking at.

Avatar image for timothyss10
timothySS10

@Pierce_Sparrow: if u don't wanna play it, don't play it, does not really give u a vote to if this is a good game or a bad game. there is def a market for retro shooter. Dusk is an amazing game. and theres lots more game like it coming out, and even more retro twin stick shooter. the fact you yourself bring up quack champions is enough.

Avatar image for Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

@timothyss10: It's mostly disappointing because 3D Realms was once such a great developer who was at the forefront of the industry. To see them have to resort to making retro shooters for a niche corner of the market is disappointing. Even other long standing companies, like id software, has at least kept up with the times and is still developing fresh titles.

Avatar image for ronaldmcreagan
ronaldmcreagan

@timothyss10: I played the first episode of Dusk. Decent enough, but far from "amazing."

Avatar image for appl3jackson
APPL3JACKSON

Why would you make "lon Maiden" a clickable link to Gamespot's page for it when you have no information on it? SMH.

Avatar image for srfilk86
srfilk86

Looks fun! These kinds of games age well. So a new one should be good fun.

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