Why Embark Is Making The Finals, Another First-Person Shooter In A Sea Of FPS Games

Embark Studios is adding its own take on the first-person shooter to the growing list of games in the genre.


The folks at the helm at Embark Studios are no strangers to shooters--most are ex-DICE developers who worked on the Battlefield series--and the team is sticking to their guns (heh) for their first two projects, Arc Raiders and The Finals. The Finals, a free-to-play first-person shooter with an emphasis on environmental destruction and teamplay, is scheduled to launch first and looks a whole lot more like the high-octane action in the Battlefield series. It's the type of game Embark co-founder and chief creative officer Rob Runesson thought he'd left behind.

"To be completely honest, I didn't, or we didn't think that we would ever build a first-person shooter game again," Runesson said during a preview event for The Finals. "But after a year or so we actually started talking a little bit about first-person shooters among ourselves again and questions started growing in the studio."

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Now Playing: The Finals Gameplay Reveal Trailer

According to Runesson, the team brainstormed about why the first-person shooter genre felt stale and not as fun for them. The studio believes that innovation has stalled in the genre, preventing new types of fun from being created.

"After talking for, I don't know, a couple of weeks, or three weeks, we actually said fun [was missing]," Runesson said. "There might be things [in first-person shooters] that no one had tried before. Why shouldn't we give it a shot? So we took six people, we put them on the sixth floor and we worked for six months and we said, 'Yes, let's try to see if we can inject energy into this genre and take this genre to the next level--otherwise let's kill the project.'"

Apparently, the power of the devil (six people on the sixth floor for six months? C'mon Embark--that's playing with fire) bore fruit, which ultimately led to the concept that would become The Finals. "The team presented a small pitch, and what we saw was actually something that made us all laugh and smile and still actually gives me goosebumps," Runesson said. "I know it sounds cheesy but I felt like a teenager in love when I saw the first pitch. Then another couple of months later that pitch was good enough so we felt that we want to go and try to build this game because we felt that we had something that actually could change the genre and that's how The Finals was born."

In The Finals, you play as contestants in a virtual competition. Teaming up in squads of three, you have to find and secure a cash box and take it to a cash-out station. Once the cash box has been inserted, you have to defend the station until your loot is fully deposited. Opposing teams can kill each other to steal any cash boxes in play or stop a cash box from being deposited. Whoever has collected the most money by the end of the match wins. The environments of The Finals are largely destructible, allowing players to attack through walls, the ceiling, or the floor. Special equipment--like cloaking devices and grappling hooks--can help you better navigate the crumbling arenas and get the drop on your enemies as well.

"The Finals is a game show at heart," creative director Gustav Tilleby said. "It's not about a battle arena or a military city. It's not just another shooter. It's a game where aiming and shooting is important, but where the players [who] can [better] use the environment and adapt to changes in the environment will come out on top."

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During the preview, we got to see how you'll create your own personal contestant for The Finals. There are three body builds--light, medium, and heavy--that each carries their own unique perks and weapons. The light build specializes in hit-and-run tactics, sacrificing health for speed. The medium build is more supportive, giving you access to gadgets that help you detect hidden enemies and heal allies. And finally, the heavy build excels at both securing a position and demolishing an opponent's, having tech and weapons that can fortify and demolish.

"The Finals is a hero builder, not a hero shooter," Tilleby said. "It's a game where contestants are given the freedom to choose who they want to be and how they want to play."

It sounds like The Finals may feature some narrative elements as well, though Embark didn't share any concrete details of what that might look like during the preview, only hinting that players will be able to learn a bit more about the world and lore of the game. "There are many things that we want to explore with players over time as well," Tilleby said. "Like, what's the world outside of the game show like? Who are the showrunners?"

If you want to try out The Finals for yourself, you don't have to wait long. A closed beta for The Finals will be live March 7-21. Sign-ups for the closed beta are already open on Steam.

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