When announced, Microsoft's ID@Xbox program was designed to make developing for the Xbox much more accessible for small, independent studios thereby providing gamers with a greater array of fresh and innovative games. Aussie developer, Blowfish Studios, is taking advantage of the opportunity with Gunscape
. Self described as a FPS crafting game, Gunscape
aims to give shooter fans the ability to create, play and share their very own customized levels.
Notice the emphasis is on the creation of levels as opposed to the creation of an entire world. From Blowfish's perspective, other crafting titles allow gamers to build a game. In their title, gamers will build levels within a game using a vast selection of weapons and enemies specifically designed to interact and compliment one another. On the surface, Gunscape
sounds more limiting on the creative process than other games, but Blowfish refers to those limitations as "refreshing constraints that the still-enduring user map communities of the earliest FPS games such as DOOM
enjoyed". Whether you choose to refer to the limitations as heavy-handed restrictions or empowering constraints is up to you. The fact remains that once you are done crafting the level, you will want to play with your creation. At that point Gunscape
shifts into FPS mode and the developers believe that the "refreshing constraints" will give gamers the power to build FPS levels that are far more robust than other games.
Multiplayer is integrated into both the crafting and FPS sides of the game. Levels can be designed for either single-player or multiplayer. But, any Single-Player level can be tackled as a group in co-op mode. Larger levels can be designed as multiplayer arenas in which gamers battle it out in familiar game modes like deathmatch or CTF. Blowfish also promises game types with "gimmick rule sets" similar to those found in games such as Halo
. Whose up for a game of King of the Hill?
Some may look at this attempt to infuse the crafting genre with FPS action as overly ambitious and ridiculous. Others may consider it innovative and amazing. Either way, Blowfish is bringing something different to the table. That is what Microsoft was hoping the ID@Xbox program would induce. And new developers having access to bring their ideas to life is, for the gaming community as a whole, everything Blowfish hopes Gunscape
will be: refreshing, empowering and awesome.