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Just Cause studio reveals Generation Zero, a new shooter loaded with ’80s nostalgia

What if Stranger Things and Red Dawn had a Swedish baby?

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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.

Avalanche Studios, the team behind the Just Cause franchise and 2015’s Mad Max, is having a moment. The company was announced as partnering with id Software on the upcoming Rage 2. Just a few weeks later it was purchased by the world’s oldest film studio. Now, just days before E3, it announced a new, self-published game called Generation Zero, an open-world action game set in 1980s Sweden.

The trailer, embedded above, shows a foursome of stereotypical ’80s kids fighting off mechanized monsters with small arms and explosives. The action is reminiscent of the movie Red Dawn or perhaps Half-Life 2: Episode 2. But it’s also similar to the critically acclaimed Tales from the Loop, an alternative history tabletop roleplaying game also out of Sweden, one that was notably inspired by E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and Stranger Things.

Avalanche says that players will be able to go it alone, or coordinate with up to three other players in seamless co-operative multiplayer. The trailer includes a host of military-style weapons, including sniper rifles, hand grenades and a recoilless rifle. A description on YouTube says that “you’ll be able to lure, cripple, or destroy enemies in intense, creative sandbox skirmishes.”

The game’s official website says that Generation Zero is being built on the Apex engine, the same structure that underpinned Just Cause 3 and Mad Max. The open world will include a full day/night cycle, and weapons will have realistic ballistic properties. Damage to enemies will be persistent, so larger robots can be wounded or crippled and returned to later to deliver the final blow.

The trailer indicates a 2019 release date, and teases an upcoming Steam page. We expect to learn more at this year’s E3.

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