Warhawk is probably the best experience I’ve had of a competitive online multiplayer console game. It managed to avoid the insta-death tedium that traditional shooters descend into while still maintaining that distinction between skilled players and newcomers. The mixture of weaponry, vehicles and game types made for an experience that was frequently tense and interesting and always fun.
So Starhawk is hotly anticipated, not just by me and the rest of the staff here but by the legions of Warhawk fans who still play that game on a daily basis.
Starhawk is billed as a “spiritual sequel” to Warhawk. The same third person action, vehicular mayhem and wide range of weaponry will form its core but there some key differences too. Primarily, there is now a single player campaign mode. The premise focusses on the conflict around a distant human colony called “The Frontier” in the far future. Not much is known of this single player mode yet but it’s safe to assume that it will act as a kind of training ground for the multiplayer side – which we assume will still form the bulk of the game.
As with many good sci-fi adventures, you’re fighting over energy resources. In this instance the resource is called Rift energy and its potency has turned all the former miners into mutated, crazed, zealous protectors called Outcasts. You will follow the story of Emmet Graves who has been corrupted by his enemy and shunned by his community.
Graves takes on the life of a gunslinger in this Wild West-styled vision of the far future. It’s worth noting that Lightbox Interactive has been keen to point out that they want Emmet to stand out from the usual action hero tropes. He will have internal conflict, caused by his exposure to the mutilating rift energy and be in constant pain thanks to his spinal implants which limit the spread of the mutilation.
It is safe to assume that this rift energy plays a large role in the big new gameplay mechanic: base building. Players can now build and expand bases in a similar way to a Real Time Strategy game. This will be a vital mechanic in making good team-based progress in the multiplayer modes and we expect the most successful players will be those who learn to utilise base building to its fullest extent.
Starhawk is currently in the beta stages of testing and the developers are very proactive in encouraging feedback, not only from beta testers but from fans of Warhawk. Lightbox Interactive regularly request ideas for improvements on Warhawk’s gameplay via their Facebook page and that data is all going towards making Starhawk the best game it can be.
There’s no firm release date as yet but 2012 is assured and some rumours are suggesting summer as a probable release window. Whenever it finally appears, Starhawk and its 32 player multiplayer battles are going to be a big draw for us and, we think, for you too.
Oh, and we didn’t even mention the Warhawks that transform into Mechs…