Many developers have their style. Klei has gorgeous 2D animations, Bethesda has The Elder Fallouts, and Piranha Bytes has their own style as well, and it has been served them pretty well for the past 16 years, since the first Gothic game. This year another incarnation of their tried and tested formula arrives to the major platforms. ELEX is going to give the familiar gameplay some new theme and additional mechanics.
Let’s take a look at PB’s upcoming production.
A science fantasy
ELEX (caps are apparently necessary) is set on the planet known as Magalan, with quite a lustrous future ahead of its civilisations. Unfortunately, things took a turn to the worst when a meteor suddenly struck, throwing the world into post-apocalyptic state. There was a ray of sunshine, however, in the form of a rare, mysterious element known as Elex.
Elex has a number of effects on the human body and mind, however, and most of them not exactly positive. Mutations and insanity came in abundance, but there were some people who managed to either resist its effects or refine it to create potions, drugs, or energy sources out of it. This was the birth of four key factions fighting for domination over Magalan and the resource that changed everything.
Factions and philosophies
ELEX will have three playable factions and fourth antagonistic one. Let’s see what makes them tick.
First up are the Albs. While not a playable faction, they used to be the group the ELEX’s protagonist hails from initially. They are dedicated to consuming Elex and using it to get rid of emotions and strengthen the body. Through cold reason and logic they carved a piece of the world for themselves. Conveniently, our protagonist apparently got through Elex withdrawal and is branded a traitor to them.
Berserkers are the first of the playable factions. In the wake of the meteor strike they up and decided to eschew modern technology. They found a way to purify Elex and use it as a source of quite literal magic abilities. They use sword, and shields and other weapons of the ancestors.
Then there are the Clerics, which are pretty much the opposite or everything Berserkers stand for. They have effectively established a police state on the territories they control, and they enforce it with powerful technology: energy rifles, mechs and more. They also apparently have pretty slick-looking armor. They use Elex to power their creations, but consuming any is strictly forbidden.
Finally we get the Outlaws, which sound a little bit like inhabitant of Mad Max world, or maybe some Borderlands. They believe in the survival of the fittest, their weapons are more or less ramshackle and jury-rigged. They use Elex to juice themselves up with combat stimulants.
As a result of having such strong distinctions between factions ELEX might seem a fair bit disjointed. Magic knights, post-apocalyptic bandits, hi-tech clerics, and emotionless soldiers? If this mix works, ELEX might well be a very memorable game for the diversity alone.
Not all details are known yet, obviously, but what we know looks like a mesh between classic PB gameplay and stamina-based combat readily reminiscent of the Soulsborne games. Dodges, quick and strong attacks, finding the right moment to strike, you know the drift.
For understandable reasons it does accommodate for having a wide arsenal of weapons. We’re going to get, according to the game’s official website, axes, bows, crossbows, harpoons, plasma rifles, flamethrowers, hammers, rocket launcher, magic… It’s going to be fantasy and science fiction at the same time and I’m eager to see the results.
If there’s one thing Piranha Bytes’ games have always done exceedingly well, it’s exploration. Ever since the first Gothic travelling through the world and discovering every nook and cranny has been rewarding. ELEX is going to introduce verticality to the whole thing thanks to a jetpack you have at your disposal. It works on the idea of “if you can see it in the distance, you can get there”.
The world is going to be fully open with barely any loading screens, in a true PB fashion. If their past games are any indication the world is also going to hide very useful things for everyone willing to travel off the beaten path.
After a relatively lukewarm reception of Risen 3 Piranha Bytes seems determined to create something fresh. ELEX has an interesting, seemingly internally discordant world which may make or break the game. A vast, open world filled with plenty of secrets, four very different factions, diverse arsenal.
ELEX launches on October 17 this year, leaving everyone plenty of time to do further research, especially since there are some certainly some more faction trailers coming. It leaves a lot of time to decide whether or not to preorder ELEX.
Will you travel to the world of Magalan and join its factions?