Every once in awhile an indy game comes along that really makes you sit up and take notice. After seeing titles like Alan Wake
developed by independent groups without the immediate support of a publisher, we're not surprised to see Project Offset (working title), an epic fantasy first-person shooter in development by four individuals who want to play a really cool game (which is the best motivation for making a game). We're not surprised, but we're definitely impressed.
Project Offset is an epic fantasy FPS because the developers, the Offset group consisting of a small handful of dedicated individuals, wanted to play an epic fantasy FPS. The storyline seems like it is still very much under construction, but it is confirmed that there will be a narrative single-player mode. The goal is to couple a narrative with graphics the likes of which we've only seen in cut-scenes and create an incredibly beautiful FPS experience.
Multiplayer mode is also confirmed. At this point it is planned to be a team-based battle game which seems to be taking most of its play style cues from games like Battlefield: Players will choose a character/class combination and fulfill a distinct role in team-based battles. The combos currently stand at human/warrior, dwarf/builder, and elf/marksman. There are also planned classes for wizard and healer, rounding out the roles players can assume in battles.
Announced battle types include Castle Siege and Voyage, both of which will have players collaborating to achieve goals. To assist with these goals, players will make use of a range of vehicles, including horses, catapults, battle ships, giant trolls and dragons.
There will also be a multiplayer cooperative mode which has not yet been elaborated upon.
Persistent experience is a feature of Project Offset, but exactly how that will be implemented has not been explained. It is hard to imagine a fantasy game without experience and levelling-up, although the emphasis in Project Offset seems to be on the action and teamwork.
Project Offset makes use of a custom game/graphics engine, the Offset Engine, which is so far looking absolutely incredible. The engine uses high-polygon count models and advanced rendering techniques such as motion blur and specular diffusion. It currently taxes the highest end of systems, although Offset has stated that they intend to target PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms, which puts the game squarely in league with the big boys.
Massive outdoors environments will be common in the game, although the Offset developers promise a range of territories through which players will move. The game features full physics modeling, including rag doll deaths, dynamic damage reactions, and fully destructible environments.
Keep your fingers crossed for Project Offset to find a developer, a better final release title, and enough help to get this game to us as soon as possible. Keep track of the game's official website at http://www.projectoffset.com
where developers are posting some amazing video demos of the game engine and early builds. We won't be playing Project Offset anytime soon, but we will be keeping an ear to the ground for more news on this amazing independent title.