The time-bending first-person shooter Lemnis Gate took center stage on Thursday during the Gamescom online presentation hosted by Geoff Keighley. Developed by Ratloop Games Canada and published by Frontier Developments (Elite: Dangerous, Planet Coaster, Jurassic World: Evolution), each multiplayer round takes place across only 25 seconds of real time. But, thanks to its futuristic conceit, players can layer on additional moves to create a layered, dynamic round of play.
Polygon had the chance to interview the team in early August. We learned that even though each round only lasts 25 seconds, a single session will take about 15 minutes to play out.
“You play in first-person, and character ‘A’ becomes what you did [first],” said game director James Anderson. “After you’re finished with your 25 seconds that [gameplay] will loop over and over again until the end of the match. That character will always do that same loop, over and over again. Then I’ll take a turn, and I’ll add my character. Now, I’m adding him on the exact same 25 seconds. [...] At the end of the game, there’ll be five versions of me, and five versions of you, all playing in the same 25 seconds.”
Anderson was very candid about the challenges inherent in making a game such as this. Precision, it turns out, goes well beyond tight hitboxes.
“You’ve heard of the ‘butterfly effect,’ where one tiny little thing can create huge chaos somewhere else?” Anderson asked. “That’s something we’ve been dealing with since day one. Imagine that every single bullet, every jump, everything that you touch or look at, has to happen in exactly the same way every single time.
“If that bullet is off by one milometer,” he continued, “suddenly somebody didn’t die when they should have. And then that person went on to kill somebody else. And then now that person didn’t die, and then that p;erson went on to capture the objective, and now the objective is not captures. So there’s this massive cascading failure.”
The game includes seven different character classes such as the commander (a general-purpose character with an assault rifle), the chemist (who can paint toxic zones onto the map), the assistant (a robot with defensive abilities), and the sniper (who uses bullet-time at range). More will get named and revealed over time.
All things considered, this is a terribly interesting concept that could appeal to fans of first-person shooters and strategy games alike. The only stumbling block is the name.
What exactly is a “Lemnis Gate” anyway?
“I’m not sure I can tell you that,” Anderson said, right before he told us. “It’s an interplanetary network, which when fired up or powered will displace a massive region of space surrounding Earth back in time by 50 years.
“Each player in the game comes from parallel universes,” he continued, “and the players are competing to be the first dimension to activate the device and ensure that their reality is the one that survives.”
The final game, which is expected in early 2021 on PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One, will include two-player and four-player, team-based versus modes.