Exciting news came out of the Game Awards, with the announcement of Godfall as the first launch title for the Playstation 5. With the anticipation of the new consoles, gamers wondered when they would get their first teases on launch titles. Godfall was one of the first to break the gag order with a teaser trailer that revealed a third-person looter action-RPG focused on melee combat in a high-fantasy world of arcane magic.
Godfall is a brand-new IP developed by an as-of-its-announcement unknown indie company, Counterplay Games, and published by Gearbox, the studio behind the Borderlands series. The idea of Godfall as the launch title for the PlayStation 5 has piqued everyone’s interest, leaving fans with little clues regarding what to expect. It seems a little odd that a huge, generation-defining AAA game might come out of an indie company. Counterplay Games’ previous development was a free-to-play digital card game called Duelyst, funded through Kickstarter. Many gaming fans find themselves scratching their heads in regards to this announcement, as an indie company spearheading a launch title for something like the PlayStation 5 is unprecedented.
With the first official game revealed for the PlayStation 5, the next generation of consoles feels as if it’s almost right around the corner. By the next holiday season, Godfall will have launched for both the Playstation 5 and for PC on the Epic Games Store.
While details are scarce at this time, more exciting news about Godfall is slated to come in the spring of 2020. Curious and confused fans need not worry, however, as Gaming Instincts authors Sabrina Quinci and Leonid Melikhov came together to tell readers what is known about the game so far.
What is Known About Godfall (Sabrina)
Everything seen in Godfall’s epic reveal trailer is rendered in real-time with playable characters, wearable loot and weapons, and actual in-game environments. Keith Lee, the CEO and creative director of Counterplay Games, described the setting of Godfall as “bright high fantasy” with courageous knights, arcane magic, and mysterious, forbidden realms.
The world is split into four different dimensions: earth, water, fire, and spirit. In the trailer, players get a glimpse of the water realm—illustrated by a storming maelstrom above them, revealing mysterious and intriguing hints in the vortex.
According to Lee, there’s an obelisk known as the Skybreaker Monolith which will be revealed at the beginning of the game. There’s also a quick glimpse of a three-headed Lovecraftian monster that reminds one of Monster Hunter World. The hydra looks like it’s almost climbing out of the sky toward the heroic knights. It’s all captivating end-of-the-world chaos.
The graphical fidelity pictured in the short teaser trailer looks standard, but doesn’t yet match the expectations one holds of a next-gen launch title. However, that doesn’t mean Godfall will be disappointing, or the PS5 for that matter—especially since the console is still in development, and will naturally evolve and improve as it gets closer to its launch date.
Loot & Flexible Classes
Like all the great loot games before it, Godfall prods its future players with an overarching mission: chase all the legendary weapons and armor available to build a perfect and powerful character. Godfall is designed so that loot will matter, and enhance the overall character design.
Lee confirmed that Godfall will feature three protagonists who are the last remnants of the Knight’s Order. Each protagonist will have their own armor sets, called Valorplates. Beyond the three belonging to the protagonists, there are many more sets of Valorplates players can discover and equip in the game world.
Befitting a next-generation title, each of the Valorplates are intricate and detailed with ornate filigree that glow with ancient magic. The Valorplates are customizable through the use of Augments—slots inside the Valorplates that influence and change the player’s combat style. Some of these Augments have healing powers or damage powers that summon deadly magical missiles, and more will be revealed as the launch date grows closer.
Classes will be flexible and changeable mid-battle via weapon classes that allow players to switch roles during gameplay. Battle is focused on high-impact melee damage, with two primary weapons to switch between. Ranged attacks are available, but limited by cooldowns and charges. It seems as if gameplay does not reward ranged attacks. In fact, the goal is to tighten the combat circle to make melee attacks more effective.
Cooperative play is designed to be easy and accessible, with an emphasis on balance and optimal enjoyment to make the experience “better together.” Godfall’s co-op play was designed “from the ground-up,” allowing friends of mixed levels to play together so that all players can evenly contribute.
Up to three gamers may join co-op mode, and players will also be able to hot-join without needing to queue up. There are no restrictions regarding when players can join co-op mode in Godfall, and they can join a session anywhere, anytime.
It’s not clear at this time if there will be a huge difference in gameplay between solo and co-op modes. However, it seems as if enemies have been designed with co-op play in mind. Regardless, multi-player targeting may be edited to allow for a more balanced solo approach. There is as of yet no word whether there will be certain loot opportunities locked behind co-op play in Godfall.
Next Generation Capabilities
The PlayStation 5 features a powerful SSD card, and according to Lee, this offers the potential for highly detailed objects and environments. For a looter game, this is promising, as the SSD card will allow for the loot’s intricacy to shine in all its glory. Loot has the potential to look as epic in-game as it does in cutscenes.
Even in the teaser trailer, Godfall featured beautiful, ornate armor and weapons that will look brilliant under the PS5’s powerful SSD card. The graphics seen so far should improve, becoming more impressive as it grows closer to the console’s release. Furthermore, Godfall features an expansive world that the PlayStation 5 can seamlessly render with no loading screens.
As Godfall is a PS5 exclusive and will not feature cross-gen capability, the game has been optimized for the newest console’s specs and hardware. Lee described Godfall’s combat as “kinesthetic in nature,” matching the capabilities of the PS5 controller’s adaptive triggers. This, along with the controller’s enhanced haptic feedback, will create an instinctive experience that is both thrilling and in the moment. This feels fitting for an action RPG with an emphasis on melee combat.
Thoughts on Godfall (Leo)
Godfall’s reveal came as a surprise for those waiting for the PlayStation 5. It’s neither a first-party title, nor made by a well-known developer, which seems odd for the first game announced for the next-generation PlayStation. That the title is a looter-slasher is another interesting aspect of the initial announcement, since the majority of PlayStation fans were not expecting a loot-based title right off the bat.
The game’s overall reception was met with excitement, concerns, and valid criticisms. Many fans scoff at Godfall being a looter-slasher, and are worried that the game may be dry on content, repetitive, and boring. Others are excited, and want to see how its gameplay and feel might differ from its predecessors. Developing a loot-based game in this day and age is not an easy task, as the genre’s popularity has continued to increase with titles such as Destiny 2, Warframe, and Monster Hunter: World—where core gameplay revolves around grinding for hours, days, weeks, and months in the hopes of getting better gear and becoming more powerful no matter how long it takes.
The Big Concern
One concerning factor is whether Godfall plays like a full-on story experience with loot-based mechanics and a fleshed out plot, such as Dark Souls or Darksiders—or if it is instead a live-service game that will remain active for years with supported content and expansions, similar to Destiny 2.
In the case of the former, it’s possible the game may crash and burn, running out of steam and turning stale in short order. However, if Godfall takes the latter path, it has more potential for excitement, in particular if the game turns out to be responsive, fun, addicting, and well-supported.
On the same day PlayStation announced Godfall, Microsoft revealed their next-generation system—the Xbox Series X. Following the Series X reveal, Ninja Theory unveiled Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, the first AAA title announced for the upcoming next-generation Xbox under the console’s official name (Halo Infinite technically being the first, but it will also be available on the Xbox One, while Hellblade 2 may not). Both Hellblade 2 and Godfall are the first true next-generation titles showcasing what gaming’s bigger picture will look like in the future.
It’s important to state that Hellblade 2 will find itself competing with Godfall for player interest in the next generation of consoles. However, Hellblade 2 is not a launch title for the Xbox Series X, and it’s in a much earlier stage of development than Godfall at this time.
The Visuals and Next-Gen Graphics
Godfall’s visuals may not appear as astounding as Hellblade 2, but it’s worth noting that Godfall is in development by an indie studio, and that launch titles for new consoles tend to be on the weaker side when it comes to overall visuals and technical prowess. Games that come a few years after a console generation’s launch, on the other hand, are better able to take advantage of the technology inside the machine.
In addition, first-party studios seem to get more juice out of the hardware in comparison to third-party or indie developers. The Last of Us 2 and God of War are excellent examples of this. This isn’t to say that Godfall doesn’t look like a next-generation title, or that it looks bad. From what little gamers have seen so far, Godfall does seem to get the job done.
Overall, Godfall sounds like an interesting loot-based game in a unique fantasy world, with fresh, next-generation visuals and melee combat mechanics. The gaming community is always excited when next-gen titles begin to make their reveals, however, they also have many concerns regarding the future of their hobby.
As previously stated, if Godfall isn’t addicting, plays poorly, has any sort of strange performance issues hampering its experience, or has no plans for live service going forward, then there is nothing exciting to see here. On the other hand, Godfall may be a diamond in the rough, hidden right beneath the gaming community’s collective noses—if it ends up a solid game across the board with live support and fun gameplay elements.
For now, however, it may be best to keep expectations in check, and instead look forward to the game’s next showing sometime in the spring of 2020, before making any further judgment calls.