Ex-Monolith developers introduce mysterious, black-and-white FPS

What’s black and white but occasionally red? Betrayer, a new first-person shooter from Blackpowder Games. The mostly monochrome title is set in a New World colony in 1604, and the trailer provides a hint of what to expect:

The aesthetic reminds me a little bit of MadWorld—minus the KMFDM influences. Surprisingly, the Betrayer started out as a more colorful affair. According to PC Gamer, Blackpowder opted for a black-and-white look because testers found it added to the game’s sense of tension and mystery.

Mystery seems to factor heavily into the gameplay, which is more about exploration than combat. You’re tasked with discovering what happened to an abandoned British settlement. Rather than being led through a series of objectives, players will have to search for clues on their own. The final game should take about five hours to complete, and it’ll cost only $15. The first hour and a half will be available via Steam’s Early Access program on August 14.

Some of the folks working on Betrayer were responsible for Monolith classics like Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, No One Lives Forever, and F.E.A.R., lending pedigree to what looks like a novel concept. Unfortunately, there’s no word on when the game is expected to be completed.

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    • confusedpenguin
    • 6 years ago

    Yay! Another game for the Macintosh Classic!

    • lostmaninspace
    • 6 years ago

    color will be made as DLC 🙂

      • Voldenuit
      • 6 years ago

      Or in-app purchase.

      $0.99 for 20 minutes of color.

      Did I mention that they reintroduced the red/green/blue key mechanic and the only way to find the right key is to pay for the color upgrade? :p

        • BIF
        • 6 years ago

        I know, tongue in cheek.

        But DLC and in-app purchases work and even with all the whining I don’t see people avoiding games and apps just because they employ one of these plug-in methodologies.

    • GrimDanfango
    • 6 years ago

    I think this could work if they actually designed the visuals to fit the aesthetic, but in this case it’s very sorely obvious that they’ve taken normal full-colour art resources and applied a high-contrast monochrome filter indiscriminately over the whole thing.

    Going for this look with a full-3D game is dangerous to begin with, as it tends to serve as nothing more than a visual hinderance rather than complementing the game mechanics.

    At the very least, designing for this look requires bold, clearly defined silhouettes for the scenery and characters, and similar attention for the textures. Applying a blanket post-process filter can only come off as a cheap tacky afterthought, and only makes the visuals fussy and confusing.

    As much as I never liked the look of MadWorld, they at least understood that much, and had obviously designed the game with this look in mind from the start.

      • Voldenuit
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]Applying a blanket post-process filter can only come off as a cheap tacky afterthought, and only makes the visuals fussy and confusing.[/quote<] Yeah, I feel the same way. 4/10 for idea, 0/10 for effort.

    • tanker27
    • 6 years ago

    Looks cool. I like games with specific art styles. I guess thats why I love cel-shaded games.

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    My LCD monitor has a feature that makes the display entirely monochrome. It’s like back in the old days when we had monochrome VGA monitors.

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    We’ve gone this far in computer graphics technology and now we go back to black and white? You mean my CGA monitor from eons ago can actually boast something against this?

      • BIF
      • 6 years ago

      What are you complaining about?

      Look at all the games out there that are “mostly blue” or “mostly olive”. People only notice this when they go completely monochrome except for the blood?

      Nearly every shooter released in the last ten years is just about as monochrome as they can get. I find them all drab and grey, but whenever I say something about this I get downvoted!

    • Khali
    • 6 years ago

    Black and White… I know companies try to be different but this seems to me like walking off a cliff trying to get attention. Doubt I would even play it if it was free.

    • Grigory
    • 6 years ago

    Pictures taken in the modern age and then converted to black and white to make them more “artsy” piss me off to no end. Now this game can piss me off at over 60 frames per second.

    • kvndoom
    • 6 years ago

    Crap!! I read the title and thought they were bringing out Pencil Whipped! Ah, one can dream…

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 6 years ago

    I thought it looked good. A little concerned that arrows appear to be a bit OP from the trailer. The wraiths reminded me of FEAR. Liked the music. Almost a Dead Man kind of vibe.

    My interest is piqued.

    • Bensam123
    • 6 years ago

    Ewww… nasty black and white filter caked over the thing. Like the super high contrast explosions don’t match the black and white theme at all. HDR and black and white don’t go hand in hand either. This looks like it’d be really hard on the eyes for extended periods of time. You can totally tell that it wasn’t meant to look this way and someone realized their game looked like ass and wasn’t all that unique so they put a filter on it.

    Behold the atrocities that are possible with modern graphics!

    • PenGun
    • 6 years ago

    I will kill all the Monolith for you, don’t worry …. wait a minute.

    Looks very similar to high grade Stalker night vision.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 6 years ago

    Monolith really crapped their bed trying to make Condemned 2 and FEAR 2 at the same time. I don’t think they’ve ever been the same since.

      • Prestige Worldwide
      • 6 years ago

      Monolith is a shell of it’s former self since being bought by WB. Anything original or innovative was thrown out the window in favor of whichever generic industry trend was leading at the time. I.E. the CODilization of FEAR 2.

      Now they just shovel out generic games based on WB’s IP portfolio, like Gotham City Impostors and Guardians of Middle Earth.

      I’m delighted to see the OG Monolith devs break off and do their own thing as indies. This is the best industry news I’ve heard in a while.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 6 years ago

        I think by far the worst thing out of Monolith was the ill-fated [i<]The Matrix[/i<] MMO, which pre-dated the two games I mentioned above. My friend who was working on Condemned at the time gave me a free copy and I was astounded at how unpolished it was in comparison to the (then relatively new) WoW. Really lousy art assets. Like, in the character-creation screen the starting outfits to choose from looked shoddy. I remember one of the shirts you could tell had a triangle with a different smoothing-group setting on it from 3DSMax. Just amateur.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 6 years ago

        Eh, I liked FEAR 2. My problem with it wasn’t the combat – or the mechs – but that the story was ridiculous and weak. I suppose what you mean by CODilzation is that it felt less like it had its own world. The atmosphere was largely gone. The enemy AI wasn’t as good or as interesting and the replica soldiers were less scary and more of a story element that had to be there instead of being exploited in the game (and story).

        I’ve played it once. Don’t think I ever finished the dlc. I go back to the original and the Timegate expansions every 18 months or so.

    • Prestige Worldwide
    • 6 years ago

    The original devs behind Shogo, No One Lives Forever, and FEAR 1 created an independent studio and have a game coming out on Steam Early Access in 9 days?

    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY

    • Price0331
    • 6 years ago

    SHOGO DEVS?! I’m in. :^D

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