Arena battlegrounds are extremely hot right now, with the likes of #PlayerunknownsBattlegrounds and #H1Z1 continuing to tear up Twitch, and sales charts. But there’s still a dearth of the sort of arena games that appeal to me and gamers of my ilk.
I’ve always loved the idea of fantasy arena combat, where players (or monsters, or vampires or psychotic centaurs) are dropped into an enclosed space and set loose to savagely murder each other.
It feels the closest to a digital version of the ancient Roman Colosseum, a concept I’ve always found extremely compelling in deeply macabre and bloody sort of way. There’s something primal and intense about the claustrophobia of a narrow arena, and the desperation to not only survive but also prove that your martial skills are superior to your competitors.
Enter Blood Ancestors
So imagine my pleasure when I discovered Blood Ancestors, a game that extracts some of the best elements of those ancient blood sports. as well as some of my favorite examples of games in a similar vein, like #Chivalry. It blends them with elements of some of my other favorite genres, notably RPGs and fast-paced shooters.
Blood Ancestors posits a world where infernal, powerful energies are coalescing. These energies will annihilate our planet and all life as we know it. How do we satiate these dark powers and preserve our species — indeed the fabric of the entire planet? Why, through hideous blood sacrifice, of course!
But this sacrifice won’t come in the way of helpless bound individuals atop altars or pyres. Those deemed suitable will be pitted against each other in mortal combat, all in an attempt to retrieve and fuel (with precious lifeblood, of course) a powerful relic that will be the salvation of humankind.
The RPG elements in Blood Ancestors are most evident in the character classes available to players, and there’s a huge selection of them. The creators at #SnowPeakStudio are promising 18 classes at launch, designed around six core archetypes that will be familiar to fantasy fans and RPG devotees. These are roles like Mage or Warrior or Rogue.
Some degree of freedom or customization will be available within each class, including a selection of alignments, skills and ultimate abilities.
Additional customization comes by way of gear. Blood Ancestors will let players outfit their dark champions with a variety of weapons and armor, as you might expect, but also dig deep into a robust selection of unique taunts, animations, particle and light effects and more.
Allowing this level of personalization is a great way to impart a sense of ownership to players and make their avatars look and feel unique, and I’m looking forward to extensively tinkering with the appearance and equipment options.
How it's played
The game will feature a single, central mode, modeled around its lore and setting, called Blood Relic, in which players with vie with a team of opponents to capture the eponymous relic and carry it back to their portal. However, capturing the relic will require some of the aforementioned blood sacrifice: players will need to cut down legions of monsters and quench the relics dark thirst with their blood before they can transport it back to their world.
And the longer it takes for either team to capture the relic, the stronger these mobs will become, forcing players to contend not only with each other but with deadly AI as well. And in the tradition of other arena combat games (and MOBAs), the combat venue will be littered with surprises that promise to keep the action fast, frenetic and intense.