Broken Edge preview (Gamescom)

Now that Fast Travel Games has shifted their way of working towards being a publisher for VR titles from other studios as well as still developing their own games, we’re seeing a lot more titles coming our way in the next few months. We took a look at a few of them in-person at this year’s Gamescom, and are taking a closer look at Broken Edge today – with some exclusive in-game footage!

What we know

Broken Edge is a sword fighting game with a fantasy setting that’s all about multiplayer duels – in VR, of course. It’s being developed by Trebuchet and is scheduled for a release in the Fall of this year. It’s going to support an online ranking system that you can climb by defeating others in combat, and is coming to both PC-based headsets and the Quest.

While sword fighting may make you think of knights, the game will support a number of different character classes to accommodate different fighting styles and characteristics – some more challenging to learn than others, though all will require a learning curve.

What we saw

During Gamescom, we met with Fast Travel Games for a session with Guillaume Perreault Roy, the creative director for Trebuchet who’s working on Broken Edge. As our in-game sensei, he helped guide us through the basics and intricacies of sword fighting in virtual reality during a crash course in virtual swordplay.

What we thought

Being used to simple hack and slash action games, it was surprising to learn how intricate sword fighting really is when you think about all the different elements that factor into your chances of winning. When you block an enemy’s sword with yours, it matters where you hit his sword – the closer to the grip, the better, as that’s where you want to damage or even break it.

Even simple things play a large role, like making sure you actually hit your opponent with the sharp edge of the blade rather than the blunt side of it – making the way you rotate your hand crucial. Add the option to grab a second blade or switch it out with a shield and you have even more dimensions to consider, and your playstyle (and that of your opponent) can also drastically change if you choose to hold your sword with two hands rather than one.

The versatility and intricacy of the swordplay mechanics are Broken Edge’s most fascinating elements, and the demo definitely left us wanting more – to learn more about this ancient art, to get better at it, and to win some duels. What’s going to be interesting is how the game will ease the learning curve for newcomers when it releases, and it can be challenging, especially against experienced fighters.

From that perspective, we also hope that there are going to be some offline options as well, for people to hone their skills and/or for when people aren’t looking to pick a fight online. The latter could be because the competition’s too stiff, or when over time the player base gets to be less diverse – though hopefully there’s also an easy local multiplayer option for those with two headsets looking to compete.

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