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What Dunwall’s designer did next: Bethesda-backed multiplayer arena battler Battlecry

Warriors in Battlecry will paint the map red, it seems.

We’ve known for a good while that Bethesda had opened a new studio in Austin named BattleCry, to work on a free-to-play multiplayer game. We didn’t know what the game was called, but we probably could have guessed: it’s Battlecry.

Set in an alternate 20th century where gunpowder has been banned but gutting your opponent is a-okay, it’s a third-person competitive affair from Viktor Antonov: the world designer behind Dishonored’s Dunwall and Half-Life 2’s City 17.

The idea of a “cataclysmic” world war that ripped empires apart at the beginning of the last century isn’t exactly fiction – but the post-war world Battlecry paints is.

The traumatised surviving factions – Royal Marines, Cossacks, and a few others yet to be named – signed away their rights to gunpowder under the Black Powder Treaty, and a golden age of industrial manufacturing and design followed.

But old disagreements reemerged, as they do, and the factions returned to conflict in designated WarZones – this time wielding fizz-bang ranged gadgets and melee doohickies, in elite groups “trained and bred for battle”.

And that sounds a lot like the set-up for a 32-player multiplayer arena battler, doesn’t it? Which is what Battlecry is. We’re promised “responsive, smooth controls”, combo attacks and dynamic movement – as well as powerful ‘Ultimate’ abilities gleaned from the MOBAs.

We’ll pick from classes like the Enforcer (swords, shields), Tech Archer (arrows), and Duelist (speed, stealth), and level up characters using post-match rewards.

Antonov’s contributions are environments recognisable by his usual hallmarks – European dystopia drawn in bold, uncomplicated lines. They’ll change depending on whether your team is winning or losing in the arena. Which all sounds potentially ace, doesn’t it?