Several weeks back I had the chance to go to London to preview some Atlas Reactor gameplay and meet two of the minds behind it, Executive Producer Pete Ju and Lead Designer William Cook. Shortly after that, Trion were off to Gamescom and myself and Pete managed to catch up again along with Community Manager Joe “Muzzy” Brogno.
Things can move fast when you’re making a game and Atlas Reactor certainly did. It went from buy to play one month to having a free mode the next, making sure that anyone who wants to try it out has the option to get in on the mayhem. What was really good to see this time was the Trust War and the way I can get my hands on more lore.
Something that has been teased constantly in Atlas Reactor is the story behind it all. If nothing else, the biggest tease itself is what is the Atlas Reactor? Every time I sit down with the game and when I have had the opportunity to sit down with the people behind it, this is my biggest desire and problem. There is such a rich world hiding behind the explosions and obvious superiority over all that is Oz, but I’ve never really gotten my teeth into it.
Every season contains several chapters of the story and completing missions will unlock each chapter and reward as well as giving us just a bit more lore to devour. Chapters aren’t just locked by missions though, they’ve the option to lock them by date or other triggers to keep people from just bulling through the story or grinding all the goodies. A typical season, I’m told, will last about three to four months.
Every season will also have a pivotal change that will affect where the lore of the game will go next, as determined by the players and their actions. This season we have the Trust War, a battle between OmniTrust, Evos and Warbotics. You can choose which trust to represent by getting up a few levels and setting your banner for the trust that most calls to you, or Warbotics because we’re the best. Granted you’re not locked into a Trust, if you want to hop over and complete missions for another Trust to unlock the rewards, you are able to. This little Trust war has at least three skins for every current character in the game. What will happen at the end? That’s the question isn’t it? Pete intimated that a Trust could leave but who knows exactly what might happen.
You can play the free mode of the game if you want or you can buy in at a reasonably low price. The business model of the store has been switched up a bit from earlier on and the loot matrices have been reworked. Buying the game gives you access to all of the characters, existing and future, and the new levelling rewards means that if you really work with one character over others you’ll get character specific loot matrices that will give you the skins you want. That said if you do get a duplicate it will be converted to the in game currency ISO so you can turn around and spend it on whatever it was you really had your eye on.
In keeping with the fast pace of development, you may also have seen the new support character out for the game. Orion, The Empyrean, is another twist on the support idea. This chap isn’t a healer so to speak, he instead absorbs damage from his allies to empower his own abilities. Of course when I saw him a few days before the news, he was still codenamed Martyr. Either way the idea is there in the character, take other peoples pain and use it to empower abilities.
This sort of thing is what I love about Atlas Reactor. No one is entirely clear cut. Each Freelancer has its own style and quirks that makes them appealing.
Except Aurora, I hate Aurora.
What’s to come?
Everything else I got to see at Gamescom, you’ll get to see soon enough. There’s Halloween skins coming for everyone as well as a lovely new map that is in the Atlas Reactor itself. Of course the real gem of it all for me was the full CG trailer for Atlas Reactor. If you want anything that perfectly encapsulates the humour and style of the game, it is that trailer.
Now if only they’d given me a copy. I guess I’ll just have to wait to watch it again once we all get our mitts on it. Until then, I definitely recommend checking out Atlas Reactor if you want something new and different.