Deathloop Is the Sum of Many Glorious Parts, and It Knows It

The upcoming video game Deathloop from Arkane Lyon is, essentially, a '60s aesthetic-infused [...]

The upcoming video game Deathloop from Arkane Lyon is, essentially, a '60s aesthetic-infused Dishonored with guns, and the developers know it. I know they know this because it's part of how they described the title during a recent hands-off preview event attended by showcasing a bunch of gameplay from the upcoming PlayStation 5 video game. It's not just Dishonored, however, as there is clearly DNA from basically everything Arkane has worked on within the new game. This is not meant to diminish Deathloop in any way, however, as the video game knows exactly what it is, and it revels in it.

If you are not already familiar, Deathloop puts players in the shoes of Colt, a man trapped in a time loop on a strange island named Blackreef. In order to break the loop and escape the island, Colt must take out eight targets called Visionaries scattered across the island. When he finally dies, the loop resets, and he begins again from the beach where he started.

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(Photo: Arkane Lyon)

But, again, this is Dishonored with guns, and so there are plenty of powers and weaponry that allow players to tweak the odds in their favor. There are rare artifacts scattered across Blackreef that make Colt's mission that much easier. Reprise, for example, allows him to rewind time twice upon death, but the third one resets the loop. Powers like Shift allow Colt to teleport around while Nexus links enemies together to "share the same fate," allowing the player to focus on one enemy to take down several.

The loop resetting completely wipes all of the player's gear, weapons, and so on, but thankfully there is a special resource called Residuum that they can collect and use in order to keep weapons, trinkets, and power permanently. If the loop resets, those bits which have had Residuum invested in them remain. And, from the looks of things, there will be plenty of resets for the vast majority of players.

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(Photo: Arkane Lyon)

There are four specific areas to Blackreef -- The Complex, Updaam, Fristad Rock, and Karl's Bay -- in addition to four times of day -- morning, noon, afternoon, and evening -- for players to explore. Figuring out where these Visionaries are and at what times and what they're doing is the whole point of the video game as the idea is to use the knowledge gathered through multiple loops to line them up in order to take them all out as quickly as possible. Exiting an area moves time forward, and if the day runs out before you break the loop, you're back on the beach the following morning.

In that way, progression isn't tied to time as, again, time loops and more about how much you learn and resources you gather. "The loop is the state of the world, and the world is like this, it's a world that loops," Deathloop game director Dinga Bakaba said. "But the state of your progression is actually how you complete your goals."

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(Photo: Arkane Lyon)

"If you're frustrated with something, you can just do something else," he added. "There is a lot of things to do. There is several different leads, and you don't have to bang your head on something that somehow you're blocked against, you can just go somewhere else, or some time else."

The lengthy gameplay demo shared during the media event included the introduction to the video game but largely focused on showcasing Colt hunting down one specific Visionary, Aleksis Dorsey. It wasn't a purely straightforward affair, however, and required going through different times of day to track down the information to find out where he would be and when. From what we've seen, there will be plenty to do and see despite there being just the four areas and times of day as each area has different events and the like depending on when you visit them. Sometimes you'll learn about something that you don't have access to in the current area or time period, and while the developers didn't reveal all of the secrets related to Dorsey, it was clear that tracking down all the extraneous bits of information from guard chatter, notes, recordings, and the like would be extremely helpful throughout.

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(Photo: Arkane Lyon)

All of the above would likely make for a fairly satisfactory gameplay experience, but Arkane Lyon apparently wasn't satisfied there. One of the Visionaries, Julianna Blake, actively hunts down Colt and is deadly in her own right, but players can also choose to take on the role of Julianna, meaning that it's one player hunting down another. Exactly how that all works beyond choosing to play as Julianna hasn't been detailed quite yet, but Bakaba did note that there is a lot of freedom to hunting down Colt -- including the fact that you do not necessarily need to even do just that.

"We really wanted something where the real goal is social interaction, the stories we can create," Bakaba said. "If I want to play very directly, very violently... Do I want to play slow? Do I want to role-play? Do I want to help Colt? Because why not? We have no clear victory conditions for Julianna, besides racking points. But why not helping Colt, giving them a nice, high-level weapon that they can then infuse [...] So why not gift something to a nice Colt player that you respect?"

Deathloop is set to release for the PlayStation 5 and PC on September 14th. Considering that Xbox purchased Bethesda, the parent company of developer Arkane Studios, it seems like it will inevitably release for the Xbox Series X|S at some point as well. You can check out all of our previous coverage of Deathloop right here.