Is LawBreakers the next big game in eSports?
If you’re looking for a game that could become the next big eSport, look no further than legendary game developer Cliff Bleszinski. The man behind the Unreal Tournament series and the Gears of War series opened his own development studio Boss Key Productions in 2014 and began working on their first game called Project Blue Streak. After hiring a team and setting up base in North Carolina, it was eventually announced that this game would be a PC-only online free-to-play arena shooter which soon became LawBreakers. LawBreakers is a class or hero based shooter like Blizzard’s Overwatch or Gearbox’s Battleborn, but there are moments of zero gravity the player can use to their advantage. More than one multiplayer alpha was released and there is currently a multiplayer beta. I have personally played in each of these tests and love the game.
There are two main game modes, the first places a neutral battery in the center of the map which each team must attempt to retrieve and bring back to their own base. Once the battery is in a team’s base, it must charge up to 100% for that team to get a point. This takes a few minutes, and the chaos that ensues at this teams base is when the fun really begins. Teams will be blowing each other up and chasing each other in and out of the base, all while flying through zero gravity and trying to steal the battery back from the other team. The second looks like your average “domination” game mode where you capture A, B, and C, but it adds a twist. From the start of the game, none of the points on the map are capturable for a certain amount of time; then the points unlock and can be captured for about 30 seconds, once they are captured they lock and that team gets a point. The first team to hit 13 points wins the game. A point can only be captured if it is not being contested by the other team. This creates three separate areas of the map which must be covered to obtain and keep a lead. There are characters with more health who are slower and some with less health who move quickly and are hard to hit (like the assassin). The recently released beta improved on several things from the alpha, including adding a few new characters and balancing the already existing ones. The zero-gravity flying and jumping also feels much smoother and improved since the early alpha stages. Overwatch-like health packs have also been added to the maps since the only way to gain health back previously were the health stations which do put a big target on your back.
The new character Gunslinger is a clear copy of Overwatch’s Tracer, as he wields two pistols and teleports a short distance to move quickly around the map. The Gunslinger feels much less annoying than Tracer, though. Don’t think of LawBreakers as another clone of Overwatch, as they do have similarities in their setup but do not feel anything like one another. LawBreakers characters are much less, I guess I’d say ridiculous than Overwatch. No one feels overpowered and ultimates don’t completely control the game. You will not be frozen, nuked, hooked and shot-gunned, or killed by a Torbjorn or Bastion turret. For instance, my favorite character in the game, the titan, is a tank-like character with a lot of health who uses rockets. His rockets are not very strong but can launch opposing players toward you or away from you in the zero-gravity. If you bring them toward you, the titan has a very strong melee and ground-pound attack you can use to your advantage. His ultimate ability that must charge up before using it, is basically Darth Sidious’ force lightning. It sounds overpowered but it is very short ranged and does not kill too quickly. I have used it in the right spot and gotten 3-5 kills at once or used it many more times in the wrong spot and didn’t even get a kill. Every ability for every character has a more tactical use than meets the eye, and good players will learn to utilize them as they play.
The eSports appeal for LawBreakers will come through its extremely fast speed, unique game modes and characters, and the polished gameplay we will have by the time all the beta testing is finished. I can already say how much fun this game is to play and watch, the teamwork aspect combined with the individual skill needed to win in this game will put it toward the top of the eSports market. LawBreakers is a multiplayer only arena shooter (which might not end up being free-to-play) and it will be released sometime during the year 2017.