Insurgency: Sandstorm follows up New World Interactive’s well-loved hardcore military shooter, and the team still aims for a 2018 release. But the game will be dropping both its single-player story and its real world settings as the developers move to focus on building a balanced, fun suite of multiplayer options in time for their targeted release date.
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This news comes as part of an update from lead game designer Michael Tsarouhas, who announced that creative director Andrew Spearin has left the studio to “pursue other opportunities.”
Tsarouhas doesn’t say whether it’s because of Spearin’s departure or for other reasons, but the team has decided to “make some shifts in the direction” of Sandstorm. That means in part that the game will not have a single-player story mode at launch, it will be considered after the game’s release.
“The story was a very exciting and new opportunity for us as a team,” says Tsarouhas, “but we felt we had to make a choice. At this moment it’s more important to us that we deliver a full multiplayer and coop experience that improves on Insurgency; one that is true to our style and what we feel we do best. We know to some of you this decision may be unexpected, and we’re sad to share this news, but this was a shift our team felt we needed to make.”
Sandstorm will also be moving away from a depiction of real world conflicts, as the team “found this approach restrictive of our design and, admittedly, sensitive.” Instead, the game will take inspiration from real world conflicts, but in a fictionalized context. “Having this approach allows us to focus our resources on creating a fun and atmospheric hardcore multiplayer experience. It also provides robust options for character customization, post-release level content, community modding, and other aspects.”
For release, the team aims to have multiplayer featuring “Push, Firefight, and Capture the Base for Versus, plus Checkpoint, Operation, and Outpost for Coop.” Tsarouhas says they want to limit the number of modes in the game to avoid fragmenting the player base, or spending effort on weaker game types.
If you want a taste of that multiplayer action, you can sign up for the closed alpha via the official site. It’s still coming soon, “but we really do mean soon.”