Takedown: Red Sabre, the squad-based tactical shooter from Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon creative director Christian Allen's development studio, is a step away from traditional AAA military shooters and flaunts an emphasis on tactics, realism and teamwork. The result is unforgiving, gratifying and addictive.
Serellan is an indie start-up of roughly ten people. Everyone on the team holds no less than ten years experience in the game development industry. The studio's founder Christian Allen, has 20 years experience within the industry alone, working on several tactical shooters like Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six.
Allen said it is a mid-core game, not a hundred million dollar game and the team is obviously not trying to compete with likes of Call of Duty. His goal is to bring quality games to the digital marketplace, such as Xbox Live and Steam.
The project began as a Kickstarter campaign, which was successfully funded last April. According to the team, the Kickstarter community is really vocal in guiding a lot of their gameplay decisions. Plus, a higher level of Kickstarter backers get their own development forum where they have their direct say in the game's gameplay direction and features.
"The skew is a little bit older, there is definitely a large group of folks that are 30 to 40-years."
"The skew is a little bit older, there is definitely a large group of folks that are 30 to 40-years, which is great they kind of played these stye of games a while ago," Allen said. "We are also getting a really large influx of younger players as well. The 20-year olds are actually quite interesting, because in their mind, they have been playing Call of Duty forever 'Since I was 15, I have been playing this same game over and over for five years!' And it was funny. We had quite a few today saying that we have something innovative and I say 'Well, thank you but there have been games like this for sometime.'"
Go running guns blazing into this game and you will get killed within five seconds, you'll then have to watch the rest of your teammates complete the mission without you or watch them die as result of your recklessness. Team killing is definitely turned on. Movement is deliberate and slow, with heavy use of the crouch button and constant banter between teammates is mandatory. As sweaty-palms inducing gameplay requires constant communication between teammates, there were a lot of calls like "tango on the stairs," "flanking around right," "Tango down" and "multiple contacts."
Created by veteran video game artist Deanna McGan, Takedown's environments step away from the maps of traditional "brown or grey" shooters and instead created maps with "clean and organic levels." For example, one level was inspired by an embassy in Brussels, with angled glass, steel and polished wood so "it is very organic."
"Even our cargo ship is a new cargo ship," Allen said. "We like that aesthetic and it matches kind of the level of detail we have, not at all grungy and dirty, you know cracks everywhere and everything. But it kind of gives something a little bit different than all of the shooters."
Takedown features single player, co-op and six versus six multiplayer. And across all modes, enemy start points are all randomised. There are also 12 or 18 smaller gameplay spaces which are breakaways of the bigger maps.
"We like that aesthetic and it matches kind of the level of detail we have, not at all grungy and dirty, you know cracks everywhere and everything."
Characters aren't customisable but players can select flags on the characters' backs so they can choose their nationality. Equipment load-outs include grenades and gadgets, like a bomb disposal kit but, says Allen, "this is where we step away from realism a little but because it will only take 20 seconds to disarm a bomb."
Players can choose a range of different weapons including submachine guns to assault rifles and pistols. Weapons are customisable, with different calibre, type of ammunition, five different optics, which have a strong basis on reality. Putting a sniper scope on a machine gun won't make a sniper gun, it'll only show how good you are at missing your targets.
The game doesn't feature gun clipping against walls, so if a player goes up against a wall, the gun will drop down and the player will not be able to fire their weapon straight away. "Like if you want to get in all tight, you take in a submachine gun," Allen said, but you would be in strife if you try to run around close-quarters combat with a "big ol' sniper rifle."
Published by 505 Games, Takedown: Red Sabre is scheduled for release on Windows PC and Xbox Live Arcade this Fall.