With another E3 come & gone, it’s time to sort through all the corporate schpeals, hype & glits to get down to what discerning gamers actually want: The Games. I always find it fascinating to watch the industry trends & try to make predictions for the coming year. To that end, I’ve decided to look at the long list of game titles, tech & rumors that caught my attention & congeal everything I could research on them into one convenient location for your reading pleasure.
This year’s E3 wasn’t the first time we caught a glimpse of ReCore. At last year’s convention, Microsoft showed a cinematic trailer for the game to get its name out there. But this year, not only was there a very cool new trailer, but a playable demo, as well as some interviews with the development team.
What caught my eye? Admittedly, the first thing that caught my eye (or ear, in this case) was the catchy music in the trailer. But honestly, we don’t get many puzzle-platformers anymore. The current trend is FPS or open-world sandbox action games, so I always enjoy seeing more variety. Especially from a brand new IP. I also liked the artistic design of the game, from the way the lead looks to the robot companions. Who doesn’t love robot puppies? While not the most graphically impressive, if the style fits the setting, I’m good.
Here’s what we know. ReCore looks to be a puzzle-platformer, sprinkled heavily with combat. It’s being described as a mix of Mega Man & Metroid Prime — an apt description, as the development team includes Keiji Inafune (who was part of the Mega Man series from the very beginning) and members of the team that work on Metroid Prime 3. After watching the demo footage, I can definitely see the influence from both. Imagine Mega Man or Metroid from a 3rd person perspective. That’s the vibe I got.
The plot centers around a young woman named Joule (pronounced “Jewel” not “Jo-el” like I initially thought) Adams, who wakes up from cryosleep on a planet called Far Eden. After some unknown incident made Earth inhabitable, Joule is a colonist & technician sent to make Far Eden, a desert wasteland of a planet, inhabitable for humans. But when she awakens from her cryosleep, she discovers that the robots set up to help humanity have gone crazy. Based on the demo, which seemed to show Joule communicating with a male via radio, it doesn’t look like everyone’s dead. If I had to guess, the team set up the robots to terraform the planet & somewhere along the way the AI bugged out.
In addition to the expected combat (different gun settings & upgrades), Joule’s greatest weapons are repurposed Corebots. The cores are essentially the Corebots’ brains, & represented by colored glass spheres. There will be three core personalities, which are shown in greater detail in the new trailer. Mack, represented in blue, is described as loyal, energetic, & “the explorer.” Seth, represented by in yellow, is a cowardly “escape artist.” And Duncan represented in red, is described as stubborn & aggressive. Although these cores are shown using specific frames, players will be able to switch the cores & an out of different frames. According to developer interviews, each personality will have different abilities based on the frame their in. The trailer only demonstrated three versions of the frames: the fast & agile dog-frame, a spider-frame equipped with a gun & able to climb walls, & a humanoid gorilla-frame that appears to be the heaviest hitter. But at the end of the trailer we see two other frames; a small floating droid & a small rover. They have blue cores like Mack, so it’s unclear if they have their own personalities, were simply showing other Corebot designs, or might not even be controllable (like they’re for recon but Joule can’t command them). Based on footage from the demo, Joule will be able to have one active companion at a time & can switch on the fly. The Corebots appeared to act independently during combat, but Joule can also command them to use special attacks that have a recharge time.
Also, according to interviews, players will be able to upgrade their companions. Weaken an enemy enough, & Joule can use her hook to grab their core, triggering a “tug-of-war” (ie. QTE) to remove the core, which can then be used to upgrade your companion cores. They also mentioned upgrading the frames & even Joule’s gun, but it’s unclear how that will work, as I didn’t notice enemies dropping loot.
What we don’t know. The biggest question for me is whether or not ReCore will be available on PC. The developers have said it’ll be exclusive to XBox One & “Windows 10.” However, no source I could find seemed clear if this meant it would work on older systems, or it’ll only be available for purchase on the Windows Store. Nor have I seen it listed on other sites.
Gameplay-wise, it’s still unclear how the swapping frames or upgrades will work. Will there be a hub/home base where Joule can apply upgrades? Or will there be rooms you come across? Will players only be allowed to switch to frames available in the immediate area, or will they remain unlocked to switch as we please? It’s hard to say, because it’s unclear how linear the game space will be. There’s no indication that this in an open-world game, but if it’s anything like the games that inspired it, it’s likely players will be able to visit “levels” as they choose.
Overall, assuming it comes out on a platform I actually own, this is a game to keep an eye on. And with the release date set for September 13 of this year, we won’t have long to wait.