How does Gearbox Software plan to round out an eventful decade packed with ambition, from the long-awaited misfires of Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines, to the hilarious thrills of Borderlands 2 and Battleborne, to the nostalgic re-treads of old hits with The Handsome Collection and Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition?
With a hybrid of two genres, apparently. This time around the Texas studio are treading territory both familiar and alien, yet promising a gameplay experience quite unlike anything we’ve seen from them to date – a rare feat unto itself, given the eclectic diversity of their output.
- Perhaps inspired by BioWare’s success in uniting third-person-shooter and RPGs under one roof with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect, Gearbox plans to play God – or Frankenstein, arguably – by combining their tried-and-tested FPS mechanics with “the meta-game strategy of a collectable card game”.
- Enter Project 1v1, a currently PC-exclusive creation set to debut its three core gameplay modes – Ranked, Challenge and Arena, the first of which allows players to gather new cards for their decks depending on how many opponents they best – later this year, specifically via a Closed Technical Test.
- The beta’s primarily available to North American players for registration, as well as any Gearbox devotees based elsewhere who’re willing to endure the “decreased performance” of its domestic servers.
Few could likely accuse Gearbox of refusing to take risks 18 years on from its 1999 inception, with their commitment to pursuing a new IP – rather than simply rushing out further Borderlands or Duke Nukem instalments – a refreshing departure from the industry trend of prioritising easy franchise profits over innovation.
Will the gamble pay off? That’s another matter for sure, particularly when hallowed veterans of the strategy card genre like The Witcher 3’s Gwent spin-off, Yu-Gi-Oh and Dragon Quest have had their fair share of time to achieve market dominance already. Nevertheless, we’ll watch Project 1v1 with intense interest as more details emerge, and report all the major developments along the way.
Stay tuned to D-pad Joy for the latest updates on this intriguing PVP-RPG cocktail as they come, and head here to sign up for the online beta on Gearbox’s official website.