We hadn’t heard much about Piranha Bytes for quite some time when suddenly they came out of the thicket and presented Elex to us. Elex, aka the eclectic, long-desired, energetic, xenophile open world role playing game by those guys who already fascinated us with their Gothic and Risen.
This time we won’t be playing a pirate, nor a usual hero in the realm of fantasy. Instead we find ourselves in a country that has been marked by the impact of a meteor. The world has faced its abyss, civilization like we once knew it doesn’t exist anymore. Like „in every apocalypse“ different forces are making use of the chaos to seize power. In Elex these forces are various guilds that you may join throughout the game. Each guild has its own views and goals.
THE BERSERKERS IN EDAN
Wiping the planet clean, the meteor has given the people of Magalan a chance. The world can be regrown again. Having found a way to transmute Elex into pure Mana, the Berserkers are transforming Magalan’s shattered wastes into lush, living woodland. Where the Albs bring destruction, the Berserkers offer true hope. As magic replaces technology, Magalan shall offer all its people a future.
THE ALBS IN XACOR
Where the meteor destroyed, it also gave the people of Magalan their future – Elex. Harnessing its power for technology is only the start. By consuming pure Elex all the people of Magalan can be stronger, think clearer and free from emotion. Driven, focused, from their base in the mountains of Xacor, the Albs are reaching out to conquer Magalan. They claim that all Elex is theirs by right. The Albs are sure that only strength can save and the weak must be sacrificed for Magalan to survive.
THE CLERICS IN IGNADON
The site of the meteor’s impact, Ignadon is riven by constant volcanic activity. Thought to be devoid of life, Ignadon was the perfect hiding place for the Clerics to grow in power. Followers of the god Calaan, the Clerics see the consumption of Elex in any form as a sin. Instead they use Elex to power their machines. Guardians of Magalan’s technology, the Clerics put their faith in Calaan, plasma weapons, mechs and the power of industry. From the ashes shall rise a new Magalan even more advanced than before.
DIE OUTLAWS IN TAVAR
A rocky, desert wasteland, Tavar is home to the Outlaws. Scavenging the ruins for weapons and equipment, the Outlaws will worship no god, they will not pledge themselves to the strict laws of the Berserkers, or surrender to a life of emotionless conflict. With the meteor came a chance for freedom, choice, a world where anyone can rise to the top. The Outlaws live by the motto, that life may be brutal, but it’s free and easy, and that all shall be rewarded for their strengths.
Throughout the game you may swap between guilds, but naturally you will reach a point where you’ll need to tie yourself down to one certain direction. Thus there will be diverse events of your choice, which is supposed to make for replayability. The story and the different guilds will surely make the mix of sciene fiction and fantasy worthwile.
In the heart of the apocalypse
The presentation at Role Play Convention came up with a pre alpha version of Elex. It is expected to already have a presentable beta ready until gamescom, but we can’t be sure about this taking in consideration how very ambitious the game is. Our nameless hero travels through demolished landscapes, walks through villages, murders citizens and wrecks huge mechs. For travelling comfortably through the post-apocalypse we’re using our jetpack that’s not just useful for travelling, but also vaults us into the air while fighting when we need a short rest. This definitely is an important advantage, but some enemies do know how to oppose and shoot us down from the skies.
By roaming the world, slaughtering enemies and advancing throughout the story we’re collecting experience points. Elex depends on a system of learning points, which means that we don’t improve our combat stats by using weapons, but instead by distributing those points. Since the jetpack is a key feature and also our only possibility for quick travelling – as there are no vehicles in game -, it’s currently a matter of debate whether the jetpack will be upgradeable.
So, the world itself is rich in variety. Whether it be ice planes, desert, volcanoes or highlands – the biomes hold various adventures for us. Of course, those adventures do have consequences as well. If you’re going to murder innocent citizens and someone happens to watch, this will grant you experience points on the one hand, but on the other hand the affected village will hunt and pursue you. Merchants on site will decline trading with you and more consequences are lying ahead. The exact design of the reputation is still waiting for us in the future, though.
As already mentioned it’s completely up to you how you decide to approach your raid through the broken world. Good or evil, play the intruder or the protector – there are more than enough possibilities. As a sideline you can also pass time by crafting, alchemy or careful distribution of skills. Also, your choice of guild leads to game specific differences. For example there are different skills for each guild, your ethical choices have an influence on the story and also on the guilds themselves.
But it’s not just in the story where you can decide according to your taste, it’s also in fighting. Your repertoire includes – characeristic for fantasy – swords, axes, harpoons and more, but also – characteristic for sci-fi – shotguns, flame throwers, grenade throwers and more. Every weapon can be modified and upgraded.
Elex is supposed to be released in the first quarter of 2017.