Takedown: Red Sabre is an unscripted first-person shooter that rewards tactical play, but it is also incredibly unforgiving to those who just want to run and gun, according to creative director Christian Allen.
During a recent demo of the game, Allen described Takedown: Red Sabre as being "extremely lethal," with no respawn points, no kill streaks, no perks and no artificial systems to help or hinder the player.
The game is based on realistic systems, allowing players to choose the kind of weapon they take, what ammunition they want to use, what kind of optic they want on the weapon, what suppressor they'll choose and even their insertion point (initial spawn point) into the level. Everything is unlocked to players from the beginning, and every item of armor and weapon will affect gameplay.
"I think a game like Dark Souls showed that people actually appreciate a game that respects the gamer and knows that they can think for themselves..."
Every material in the game has a penetration value and every ammunition type has a matching value. Once a player spawns on the map, it's up to them to figure the best way to use their weapon, approach their enemies and infiltrate the environments.
"We don't do any artificial things like 'Oh you need to stay near a buddy because you get extra health, or you lose health when you're not near friends," Allen told Polygon. "A lot of games try to enforce team play. We just let the core, realistic gameplay systems work for themselves."
Allen explained that the game's non-linearity naturally drives teamwork because when a player enters a building, enemies can strike from multiple directions. If a player enters looking to the left, an enemy may be waiting for them to the right, or from up above. The enemies also spawn in different locations each time, so players can't just memorize where their targets will be.
Allen said that when most players play the game for the first time, the habits they've picked up from playing other shooters carry over, and most players immediately die in the game. In a demo shown to Polygon, Allen sent a soldier into a building, guns blazing, and the soldier was dead in less than five seconds. With multiple enemy locations and a non-linear map, players have to be tactical in their approach. He said that once players have died and realize that they cannot respawn, they slow down, they crouch and take cover, they lean and peek.
"I think a game like Dark Souls showed that people actually appreciate a game that respects the gamer and knows that they can think for themselves, that they don't need a lot of crutches," Allen said. "And yes, it's hard. And yes, you have to try lots of times. But that's the appeal — you have this sense of accomplishment.
"When you complete a mission, you completed the mission. That was one of the things that really busted Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 1 for me was when I realized as long as I ran forward and I crossed the magic spawn line, my squad mates would just come up and kill everybody and the difficulty was canned. The difficulty came from the designer who thought that this point would be really hard.
"We don't do that. So if you fail, it's your fault. But if you win, it's your accomplishment. "