After a surprise announcement earlier this year, publisher 3D Realms is finally unleashing Wrath: Aeon of Ruin upon the world. A shooter built on id Software's Quake engine, the game not only takes players back to the 90s but is built on the same technology from that era. In less than an hour (10 am PST, to be precise), Wrath will hit Steam early access and contain most of its first episode for all to enjoy.
The final game, which is currently targeting a Q2 2020 release, will have three episodes of fast-paced action, labyrinthine structures, and hub worlds to explore. Taking inspiration from HeXen, Wrath is built more around a centralized hub that branches off into multiple levels. Episodes will have five levels each, but players are encouraged to progress in a non-linear fashion to discover new weapons and items. It's all about player choice mixed with some hellish enemies to fight.
For this first episode, Wrath will feature two full levels, its first hub, five weapons, eight enemies, and four artifacts (items that temporarily modify combat). A roadmap on the game's Steam page lays out how this early access release will be updated in the lead-up to its final version. When Wrath does come out, it will bring the remaining two episodes all at once.
In recent times, there's been something of a resurgence of classic styled first-person shooter games. New Blood Interactive's DUSK kicked off the craze in late 2017 with its early access release to some positive critical and fan reception. When it came out at the end of last year, it was one of the finest FPS titles ever crafted.
This year has been no slouch, though. New Blood followed up DUSK with Amid Evil, a game inspired by Heretic and built with an old-school mentality. 3D Realms, on the other hand, had been working on Ion Fury for a few years. Much like Wrath, Ion Fury utilized the notorious "Build Engine," which powered the legendary titles Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, and Blood.
While trends shift and no one can predict the future, it seems major Triple-A developers had all but given up on making retro shooters. Doom 2016 was a solid title, but it definitely had its feet planted in the modern era. Thank god for indies, otherwise, we'd be left wanting.
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