After a couple months of delays, Groove Games’ [i]Warpath[/i] is finally gearing up for launch on July 18. Based off of the Unreal engine, and to some extent, the [i]Pariah[/i] engine ([i]Warpath[/i] started out in development as a sequel to Groove’s [i]Pariah[/i]), [i]Warpath[/i] comes packaged with an extensive single player campaign alongside solid multiplayer not unlike that of the Unreal series. Shipping on July 18, one of [i]Warpath[/i]’s greatest attributes is that it won’t be cleaning out our wallets with the Xbox version at a reasonable 29.99 USD while the PC version will be a very budget-friendly 19.99 USD. I sat in on a conference call with the guys at Groove to get some idea of what changes have been made in the past few months as well as what we can expect from [i]Warpath[/i].
According to [i]Warpath[/i]’s website, the single player campaign of the game will revolve around three alien species, the Ohm, the Kovos, and the Coalition all competing for dominance of the planet Kaladi, described as the ultimate utopia. There was not a whole lot said about the story behind the single player in the call, although we can expect a mesh of strategy and action oriented game play. While single player was touched upon, the developers seemed very focused on stressing that [i]Warpath[/i] is very much a multiplayer oriented game. While the game began its development as a sequel to [i]Pariah[/i], the developers eventually began focusing on making [i]Warpath[/i] a game for online multiplay.
The online multiplayer qualities of [i]Warpath[/i] were continuously stated in the conference call with Groove. It’s already been stated that the game works off the [i]Unreal[/i] engine, so we can expect a lot of frenzied online play akin to that of the [i]Unreal Tournament[/i] series. [i]Warpath[/i] will contain the basic multiplayer game modes including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag, but the developers also singled out the Frontline Assault mode in which teams of players will fight to push the assault point back. [i]Warpath[/i] will be able to support up to 32 players on the PC version, although considerably less with the Xbox version due to Live constraints. The PC version will also include tools for players to create maps and will come packaged with the Unreal Editor.
When describing the features [i]Warpath[/i] would offer players, it was mentioned that in addition to having a mix of action with strategy, players would also be able to upgrade their weapons with power and functional upgrades. [i]Warpath[/i]’s websites lists eight weapons available, including the Wolverine, Tyrant, Judge, Vanguard, Vibro Blade, and EMAD, although details over the differences between the eight weapons weren’t available. [i]Warpath[/i] is also slated to have a vertical feel to the level design, adding to the multiplayer experience. And of course, vehicles will be present, as well as the ever-popular rag doll physics (death is always more enjoyable when your body flings into a nearby cement pillar).
[i]Warpath[/i] has seen a long push back in its release date, which was originally scheduled for a March 2006 release date. When asked about why the game was pushed to July, the developers stated that they did not want [i]Warpath[/i]’s release getting lost in the furor of E3, while there also was a switch in the distribution company which added to the delay. In the time since the preview build was released, changes have mainly been focused towards the visual department, although the developers admitted that a few elements of the game had to be axed because of memory constraints. While vehicles still remain in the game, things like hovercrafts took too big of a toll on the game’s memory and unfortunately had to be taken out. On the subject of why split-screen multiplayer was left out of the game, the developers cited that they left it out to focus on the game’s performance, also noting that split-screen is generally not seen on the PC, which transferred into the Xbox version.
Groove also showed some enthusiasm towards developing games for the next-generation of consoles. However, they still believe that there is a strong and solid market out there with the original Xbox, and whether [i]Warpath[/i] is one of the final games for the Xbox or if the console continues to live on despite pressure from the Xbox 360, they seemed pretty happy developing for either next-gen hardware or catering to those who remain with the last generation. [i]Warpath[/i]’s developers also seemed to indicate that, based on the success of [i]Warpath[/i], we could very well see an expansion for the game in the future, or even perhaps some downloadable content from Xbox Live.
So there you have it. Budget gamers, mark your calendars for [i]Warpath[/i] to hit retailers in mid-July. Also look for a full review of [i]Warpath[/i] sometime in the future. In the time being, head over to [i]Warpath[/i]’s website at http://www.playwarpath.com/ and give the PC demo a go (note that the PC demo is based on the March release).