I tense up when I get sent a ‘concept’ press release. If nothing else, they remind me of the not-so-distant past when the Call Of Duty twitter account pretended to be a news site and reported on a fake terror attack. But although I’m meeting Lifeless more than halfway by humouring its “unconfirmed reports that there has been an airplane crash… with one possible survivor on board,” the trailer does actually look quite interesting.
Go on – guess what our 10 best PC MMOs are. Whoa, whoa – were you about to click on that? We said GUESS.
Lifeless is an UnrealEngine-powered, zombie-flavoured MMO and the first project of Swedish studio Rigid Soft, who incidentally are currently hiring. While the broad strokes of its concept won’t set the industry ablaze with anticipation, there is something in the above trailer that suggests a departure from the cookie-cutter formula adopted by the genre’s least ambitious creators.
Each scene is lit thoughtfully, like a survival horror game, and there’s a reasonable amount of enviromental variation in that brief 46-second teaser. The airplane crash footage also harks back to Stranded Deep, one of my favourite Early Access games this year.
The real question is: does that traumatic incident serve to set the scene before an infinite landscape of unscripted gameplay takes hold, as in Stranded Deep, or are Rigid Soft trying to weave a narrative around the bones of their MMO? The accompanying press release, which as I mentioned did set my teeth grinding slightly, suggests at least an intent to focus on storytelling:
May 2021, Stillwater Bay, Maine, US – Today, we have received unconfirmed reports that there has been an airplane crash in the region, with one possible survivor on board.
Since global communications broke down back in May 2011, we know from some of the last messages received that traces of the virus were also found in Western Africa, Central Asia, Eastern Australia, and South Eastern Japan.
We can only assume that any survivor will attempt to make contact with the Nova Guard, or the Spartan Phalanx factions.
Be alert, and report any news immediately to Green Man Loaded.
The game’s due out early in 2016. You can investigate more about Lifeless and apply for beta access here.