By: Noah Chenoweth, Contributor
Splitgate, a free to play multiplayer shooter, enters the gaming market at a time where free to play multiplayer experiences releasing on PC and Consoles are nothing new.
The free to play genre has skyrocketed in popularity since the inception of games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone (though free to play games have been around for much longer than that).
The intensifying competition has led to game developers pushing to find new ways to attract players in order to gain leverage and attention.
These games strive to be accessible and easy to understand for newcomers, while also offering an in-depth skill progression to retain players for the long term, which is not an easy balance to strike.
Splitgate manages to strike this balance. Developed by 1047 Games and based in Nevada, the 25 person team has cracked the new secret to success.
Originally started by two college students at Stanford in their dorm room, the game has evolved over the course of development and was released to early access on PC in 2019.
At launch the game barely made a splash and was dismissed just as quickly as it came, with low player populations and average to middling review scores.
After a hiatus in announcements, the game was announced for consoles and in July of this year made its way onto the PlayStation and Xbox consoles for the first time.
Upon console release, hundreds of thousands of players began pouring in from across all platforms causing servers to crash and reach full capacity, catching even the developers by surprise.
“Splitgate is probably the best attempt I’ve seen in years to revive the arena shooter format, outside of the annual Call of Duty releases,” said Kotaku.com reviewer Alex Walker.
What makes Splitgate so good though is that despite the simplistic art style and easy to play controls, the game offers strategy and quick thinking into the mix of battle, which ensures that each match and moment to moment gameplay feels different.
Unlike other contemporary shooters out there, Splitgate lets players deploy portals across the map in real time, allowing for quick escapes from firefights, ambushes against enemy players, and a new layer of versatility not seen before in the genre.
Portals are not new to gaming, as most famously seen in Valve’s Portal (2007), but they have not been implemented into another genre like this one before.
The gameplay beyond the portals plays similarly to the Halo series, with familiar gun classes and an announcer who boldly declares your wins and losses throughout the match as you play.
The game as a whole feels like an homage to games that have come before, while also paving the way for something new and different, which is an exciting change and breath of fresh air in the free to play multiplayer gaming space.
That freedom can come with a price, as the game offers players cosmetic items and loot packs on its digital storefront, costing upwards to $25 for a character pack, a model that follows all of the previous successful free to play games on the market.
However there are still plenty of free items to earn in the game which reward you for completing challenges and winning matches.
Splitgate offers players with excellent skill progression and a multitude of game modes to choose from, ensuring that the fun never dies for both you and your friends.