One step beyond
Bombs away Pixelbomb Games go future-retro with Beyond Flesh and Blood, its ambitious third-person shooter that brings one of England’s major cities into the mix
It was a challenge to take elements of Manchester and redesign them to be an overgrown wilderness
Indie game developer Pixelbomb Games is on a mission to put Manchester on the gaming map, starting with its debut thirdperson shooter, Beyond Flesh and Blood.
The game is set in a post-apocalyptic Manchester, after war has savaged the planet. “We wanted to take the whole experience back to the raw and violent style of 80s and 90s action films,” reveals art director Steven DeSykes. “The Pixelbomb Games team is heavily influenced by sci-fi, movies, Japanese anime and related games,” explains project leader Lee Blacklock. “So for the feel of Beyond Flesh and Blood we looked at a variety of source material,” says Steven, “including a huge library of 80s and 90s sci-fi and action movie classics such as Robocop and Terminator.”
The inhabitants of Earth are hostile antagonists, while the player takes the role of one of the imperial survivors who live on a nearby space station, a military force known as the United Global Remnant.
Concept artist Marina Ortega took inspiration from Manchester itself where, she says, “There’s a clash of architecture styles: old Victorian buildings coexist with new, almost futuristic architectures.” The team drew in as much of the city as they could. “If a game is set in the UK, it’s a suggestion of London with a few red phone boxes and Big Ben,” laments Lee. “It was a challenge to take elements of Manchester and redesign them to be an overgrown wilderness, similar to present-day Chernobyl.”
You can get a feel for the game by visiting
In the game the player pilots Tactical Combat Frames – the mechs – remotely. Whether you’ve been to Manchester or not, you get a real sense of the place in the game. “We’re not making a mech shooter; we’re making a third-person shooter where the main avatar is a mech,” says Lee.
Real-world issues influenced Beyond Flesh and Blood: dwindling
natural resources, overpopulation and
global war itself.