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Crytek's Arena of Fate MOBA makes debut at E3

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Arena of Fate is a new action RPG from Crytek’s Sofia studio, formerly Black Sea Studios. The game, built on the company’s proprietary CryEngine, was playable on the E3 show floor and is scheduled to enter early access beta testing this summer.

Producer David Bowman, on hand for a guided demonstration of the game, was quick to shy away from the term MOBA.

"Not very many people, even in the gaming space, really know what a MOBA is," Bowman told Polygon. "We’re broader than a MOBA. The gameplay is a little bit more accessible than that hard core, niche that [MOBAs] have become."

Bowman then went on to explain the game in terms of how it differs from other MOBAs. He explained how the big names in the genre, like DOTA 2 and League of Legends, have mutated into a byzantine, arcane things that require study and practice to learn. In Arena of Fate the deep meta game of other niche titles has been dropped in favor of limited options. Instead of 20 or more options for a single power upgrade, Bowman said, players will only be offered three at a time.

The result is a game more focused on tactics, and less focused on exploits and min-maxing. Characters will include historical and mythical figures like Joan of Arc, Robin Hood, Little Red Riding Hood and Baron Münchhausen.

"What we’ve tried to do," Bowman said, "is take the core mechanic [of other MOBAs], which we think is a great mechanic, and make this more entertaining."

The game features times 20-minute timed battles, which Crytek believes makes the game more sport-like. You can sign up for beta access here.

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