Whenever introduced to developer Ready at Dawn’s upcoming action-adventure title “The Order: 1886”, the first thing that strikes most people is the game’s setting and style. In short, 1886 is a game that incorporates steam-punk visuals and Victorian-inspired clothing and architecture amidst modern weaponry and a slightly sci-fi backdrop. The game itself is set in an alternate history of course, one in which a so-called “old order of knights” keeps the world same from monsters. Of course much is still unknown with regards to this game’s development, and with its release date being unannounced and in 2014, anything could happen between now and then (changes, alterations or omissions, for example).
As far as what we know so far, the actual city of London itself was used as a sort of template to build their alternate version. The development team actually went about the task of photographing brick work, iron gates, just about anything you could imagine would be crucial. In other words, it would seem that they’re spending quite a lot of time working on details, perhaps in an effort to integrate more realistic visuals into the fray. Apparently they’ve even come up with their own compositing system which allows them to create awesome-looking textures for various types of surfaces, which of course lends itself to a certain enhanced realism.
Additionally, a new physics engine is on board as well. It’s called ABEL and it’s very refined to say the least – being able to work with the individual properties of various materials which would also include their buoyancy and so forth. This basically implies that objects will react differently when fired upon and when things break apart, they don’t tend to glitch like crazy (which has been a problem with some physics engine titles – just think “Havok physics glitches” and you know what we’re talking about here). With this engine you can actually deform metal, something that hasn’t really been done in any semi-realistic way. For instance, if you splinter a bunch of wood on the floor, you can expect it to be affected by successive events; it doesn’t just render itself inactive. The point is, this sort of system could very well lend itself toward some truly excellent gameplay concepts – the sort of stuff you don’t see very often.
Ok, so what about the story, right? What good is a pretty-looking game if it doesn’t have a story worth becoming emotionally invested in, correct? To tell you the truth, it would seem that the developers are trying to blend classic Arthur and the knights of the round table-style storytelling with an entirely new and freshly-realized sci-fi backdrop. For example, there’s the order itself, a shadowy group of knights who are all sworn to protect and then of course, the threat – some mysterious “half-breed monsters” as well as bands of “rebels”.
You control Galahad, a veteran of the Order who begins to question the purpose, beliefs and actions of the group, perhaps due to moral quandaries that pop up during certain missions. In essence, Galahad is set right in the middle of full-bore class warfare. On one hand you have the rebels who tend to see the Order as a group of thugs who have either failed the peasants or exist only to protect the wealthy. However, on the other hand the aristocracy sees the Order as perhaps the last line of defense against emerging threats and a force that’s capable of maintaining peace in the face of unfortunate odds and terrifying foes. According to direct quotes from the developers, this is the type of game that really tries to make character development a major theme.
In summation, “The Order: 1886” is the sort of game that will likely throw some surprises our way, in addition to great graphics and original gameplay.