The next project from Arkane Lyon finally received a gameplay trailer at the PlayStation 5 showcase. Death Loop has the gorgeous art style players have come to expect from Arkane set in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s time period, much like the recent Wolfenstien games. The premise revolves around an assassin named Colt who’s trapped on the island of Blackreef reliving the same day in a loop. The only way to break out, requires the eight pillars of the loop to be destroyed, also known as the Visionaries. With an open and evolving map filled with clues and optional objectives, the next generation might kick off with the best Arkane has to offer. Originally set to release this year, Death Loop has been delayed to the second quarter of 2021, and here’s what to expect.
Blackreef holds eight targets to eliminate before Colt can escape the time loop. The trailer shows, the gameplay is an evolution of what the developer has done with the Dishonored franchise. Returning powers like Blink are shown alongside new ones, such as Telekinesis. Death Loop, however, seems to be adding many distinct firearms to take advantage of as well, such as the nail gun. Each Visionary is an individual with personality and schedules they will be progressing throughout the day. Clues on the island allow players to discover the backstory of each Visionary. These clues may reveal your target’s weaknesses and ways to influence the district they control. The trailer shows, as players begin to get comfortable dealing with targets in their natural setting, they may realize they don’t have time to eliminate them one by one. Exploring Blackreef may lead players to optional objectives, influencing the story of a district and how it will progress throughout the day. Once players master the manipulation of a Visionary and their district, they can start looking at how they can group targets together to save time. Spending time in the districts to find every clue will be key to being able to manipulate Colt’s targets in the perfect way.
Fans of the Dishonored series will recognize the return of Arkane’s vast, sprawling, and distinct districts. While they all retain the intricate design and identity gamers have come to expect, this time there are no loading screens to separate them, creating an incredibly deep and connected environment. Each district has a story that will play out throughout the course of the looped day whether or not Colt interferes in it. Observing inner workings and details of each one will lead to learning how a district can be influenced in Colt’sfavor.
The gameplay showcase revealed two of Colt’s targets. The Visionaries are leaders on the AEON program, a pursuit of eternal life. The time loop Colt has found himself trapped in is the product of the AEON program. Each of the Visionaries is a key part in maintaining the loop, and that’s why they are on Colt’s hit list. If the leaders of AEON go down, so does the loop. While the Visionaries all contribute to the AEON program, they are individuals who spend their eternal life differently than each other. They all have personal motivations, goals, and districts to manipulate, as well as unique trinkets developed by AEON scientists. These trinkets empower each Visionary with a special ability, making their combat encounters unique to them.
The gameplay showcase revealed three of the eight Visionaries. Aleksis Dorsey is quite the odd one. Obsessed with wolves, he can be found every night throwing a cannibalistic masquerade where every attendee must dawn a wolf mask. The second is a scientist named Egor Serling. Serling was invited to the masquerade and has every intention of going, until he achieves a massive breakthrough in his research, causing him to neglect the party in favor of his work. With this knowledge, Colt can restart the loop and sabotage Serling’s experiment, delaying his breakthrough and resulting in him attending the party. With two targets rounded up at the same location, a raid to assassinate both of them will save Colt enough time to eliminate the rest of the targets and close the loop.
Completing optional objectives to manipulate targets is nothing new to fans of Dishonored, but the real kicker comes in the third revealed Visionary. Julianna Blake is different from the rest of the AEON leaders. She doesn’t have a district to control. Instead, her sole mission is to hunt Colt across Blackreef and kill him, restarting the loop. Other players will be able to drop into Colt’s current loop as her to stop him from eliminating his targets. Her trinket allows her to take the appearance of any NPC, ensuring many surprises are in store for players. If players opt for the offline mode, Julianna will be controlled by AI, keeping the tension of two rival assassins even in that mode.