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PAX East 2011: Halo Goes 2D (Sort Of) With Fallen Frontier

| 14 Mar 2011 00:11

A team partially composed of ex-Bungie veterans brings its expertise to sidescrolling shooter Fallen Frontier.

Moonshot Games is using all of the techniques it learned through key staffers previously working on the Halo series to create a 2D Metroidvania-style title called Fallen Frontier. The studio showed off a playable demo of the game at PAX East 2011 which was basically a proof of concept, but already fun through engaging combat combined with multi-level platforming.

Fallen Frontier is a sidescrolling shooter set in a futuristic sci-fi universe where players use various types of weapons and abilities to make it through each level. The game's entirety can be experienced in two player co-op, so Moonshot engineer Michael Carriere joined me in my demo. While I took on the role of Fallen Frontier's jaded lawman, Carriere was playing as a mystery character. Details such as this character's identity and specifics on the story are still being kept under wraps.

Certain aspects of Halo, such as its regenerating health bar, are present in Fallen Frontier. Weapons feel familiar too, though they're used on a 2D plane. Moonshot was showing off an automatic rifle, a shotgun, and grenades, in addition to melee attacks and a grappling tool. You can use the grappling tool to swing across gaps, grab and pull enemies, or even latch onto your co-op partner to annoy him. Other abilities include a "shout" that repels enemies.

Rather than leading players down linear hallways, Fallen Frontier's environments feature many different levels of platforms. At the top of an area, hovering robots might fly in from above and attack you, while bipedal soldiers riddle you with bullets from below. The levels gave a hectic feeling to the game, and suited a co-op environment perfectly with both players able to take out different sets of enemies.

If you've never heard of "Metroidvania," the term refers to a game style that regularly improves its player's abilities so he can explore previously unreachable areas. For example, a player in such a game might find a pair of boots that enables him to perform a double jump, allowing him to save a cat he earlier saw stuck in a tree. Carriere said that there will be a system like this in place for Fallen Frontier, but it won't be too heavy handed.

You could compare Fallen Frontier to Shadow Complex, but the multi-tiered levels make its combat style totally different. In the future, Moonshot plans to add tons of different enemies (including jetpack types), more weapons, and the like, but is still searching for a publisher considering the game just hit the public eye. With the development pedigree in place at the studio, combined with a game that is pretty fun in an extremely early phase, I don't see how a publisher wouldn't want to pickup the game as a downloadable title and make some money. Ideally, Moonshot will release Fallen Frontier on the PC, Xbox Live Arcade, and the PlayStation Network when everything falls into place.

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