The Polish puzzle-shooter rethinking bullet time
PC, Xbox One, others TBC
At Gamescom 2014, Doom co-creator John Romero announced that he’s working on a new firstperson shooter project, and also took the chance to voice his frustrations at the lack of innovation in gaming’s most overexposed genre. According to the designer, we’ve “barely scratched the surface” of shooters. Perhaps he’s never heard of Superhot, though, because the team behind it is carving out a deeper groove than most.
Originally developed in August last year as part of 7DFPS, a week-long game jam organised to find new interpretations of the well-worn FPS template, Superhot includes all the staple ingredients – enemies, guns, 3D environments – but has one monumental twist: time only advances when you move.
“When I first saw Doom, I remember thinking that games couldn’t be any more realistic than this!” creative director Piotr Iwanicki says. “But I think there’s still a lot to discover in firstperson shooters, and Superhot’s time mechanic enables you to do things that I haven’t seen before in the genre.” It certainly adds an uncommon layer of strategy to combat. Being able to plan your movements through a room of enemies with such clarity has the capacity to deliver the kind of empowering, Hollywood-esque action sequences that are normally the preserve of thirdperson shooters such as John Woo’s Stranglehold or Max Payne. But while the manner in which time passes is central to Superhot’s gameplay, Iwanicki doesn’t want it to define the game.
“The time just adds this layer of things that wouldn’t be possible without it, but it’s not like it’s the main focus,” he explains. “For example, in our prototype, you picked up
If you don’t move, bullets hang ominously in midair. Here, the player must work their way up the corridor while avoiding fire in order to grab the gun on the ground and retaliate.
While guns are the main focus of combat, the latest trailer also shows the player wielding a sword, cutting down enemies as well as deflecting bullets with superhuman swipes