E3 2016: LawBreakers is Not Just Another Hero Shooter

Anyone who has spent time around the game industry knows that development trends arrive and depart in bunches. From the MOBA craze that caused so many titles over the past couple of years to fail in their pursuit of League of Legends and Dota money to the brown military shooters that populated the console space last generation, it’s hard not to get the feeling that developers come up with the same ideas at the same time. The latest trend seems to be the Hero Shooter, with Overwatch, Quake Champions, Battleborn and now LawBreakers being the hallmarks of this recent movement. Granted, all of these games are very different from one another, but they’re all inherently first-person shooters with a cast of characters each boasting different cooldown-based abilities. When it comes to LawBreakers, the debut title Cliff Bleszinski’s Boss Key Productions, it’s very clear that this is a title that feels unique in a genre whose entries are beginning to blur together. Whether or not it turns out to be the success that Cliffy B is expecting it to be is another question entirely, but it’s hard not to be impressed with the steps Boss Key has taken to be different from its genre counterparts.

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Let’s break down LawBreakers for those of you who are still uninitiated. A PC-only first-person shooter that combines elements of Kill Bill and gravity manipulation, LawBreakers is hoping to take the hero shooter genre by storm through a combination of buttery smooth gameplay and a more realistic aesthetic than, say, Overwatch. Certain areas of the map will be zero-gravity, which creates interesting movement scenarios that play with the way our minds have become used to traditional first-person shooters. For instance, shooting a high-powered weapon in a zero-gravity zone will push the player backwards, creating a situation where players not only have to mind their shots, but also where those shots take them. Combine this with grappling hooks, two core character abilities, a double-jump and an ultimate ability, and it’s clear to see that the mechanics here have the potential to create some pretty interesting water-cooler moments. By creating a game that’s built around a mouse and keyboard setup, Boss Key has gone all-in on rapid gameplay, so those looking for a fast shooter to test some of the reflexes they’ve honed through years of Counter-Strike are going to feel right at home here.

Boss Key has also revealed that the LawBreakers Closed Alpha will begin on Saturday, June 18, and this will include four character classes, one map and one game mode. As we move closer to its Fall 2016 release, more content and players will be added to the mix. The goal here is to make sure that unexpected bugs and server issues don’t arise once the $20-$40 price-point is put into effect, as this would be both a massive bummer and a potential death-nail to the IP as a whole. It’s unclear at this point whether or not LawBreakers is going to be the hero shooter to end all hero shooters, but there’s enough going for it that it’s not outrageous to expect even die-hard Overwatch players to add a second hero shooter to their arsenal.