Several key members behind F.E.A.R. and No One Lives Forever started the Blackpowder Games studio and have been working on a new first-person shooter, but it's not your average FPS. It's set in colonial-era Virgina, so sometime in the 17th century, and doesn't exactly fit into the usual genres. The game features an open-world wilderness full of undead conquistadors, a monochromatic art style, and plenty of mystery and horror to set itself apart from other games. Called Betrayer, this is a game that certainly sounds like one you won't want to miss.
The story of Betrayer is told through gravestone engravings, note, artifacts, and various other clues to help fill in the story of why a British settlement is lying abandoned. Betrayer takes the story of the Roanoke colony as one of its inspirations, with creative lead Craig Hubbard saying the following:
The social situation of that time was really interesting. I don’t know if you’ve read about what it was like to be in the Pilgrim colonies, like if you broke the law, but they’d like… pile stones on you until you died. It was just brutal and horrific and that’s great subject matter for an atmospheric and eerie game.
That eeriness is helped out immensely by the game's color filter, which is 99% black and white to begin and red accents being used just for points of interest and enemies. It makes things a little hard to decode, but it makes exploring the lightly-populated game world more foreboding. A sense of unease and paranoia is a direct result of the color scheme, but it originally wasn't planned as being that way. The game was initially entirely colored, but playtesting showed the black and white scheme added to the game's tension and mystery.
Betrayer doesn't feature much in the way of instructions, so you really need to pay attention to clues and the like. You get a map that can be used to fast-travel between various points once you discover them, and the game will let you know once you've found all the clues in an area, but that's it. You have the ability to listen for white noise to better distinguish where clues are, with the noise getting louder the closer you are. It basically instills that sense of exploration again, where players can truly feel invested in the mystery instead of going by the numbers.
There's plenty more to check out about Betrayer, but we don't have to wait long as it's arriving on Steam Early Access on August 14 for $15. It gives players the chance to follow along with the development and connect with others who are just as intrigued as you.