Show me a person who denies fighting with sticks in his or her backyard as a kid and I’ll show you a liar. Ubisoft Montreal’s For Honor caters to that inner child in a visceral way. Announced last year, the third person hack and slasher features three warring factions – “the Chosen,” “the Legion,” and “the Warborn.” Too pretentious? That’s alright, I thought so too. In the layman’s terms these are the Samurai, the Medieval Knights, and the Vikings respectively. What’s most intriguing about this upcoming title is, however, its revolutionary dueling system, called “The Art of the Battle.”
Art of the Battle
Unlike in most hack and slashers, where one button executes one set move, players can actually position their weapon using the d-pad, allowing for real-time exchanges and counters. You can attack or defend from up high, to the left or to the right. This dynamic addition to a classic formula opens up a new realm of possibilities for the player, allowing them to respond and anticipate their opponent’s move. This has the potential to be a very salty game. While it is still in development, one can see from its announcement and multiplayer gameplay trailers (linked below) that it is offering far more than the platform standard.
A New Horse in the Stable
The release date has yet to be set, and the title itself was only announced at E3 2015, but this appears to be a promising independent bit of IP from the same studio that developed Prince of Persia, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, and the Tom Clancy series. I’m not saying expect big things, but expect big things.
Despite this, Ubisoft has gone on record saying that this game may not be on track to break any sales records. Sword fighting games tend to appear to the “core” gaming market, and are generally seen as less accessible than larger franchises such as Call of Duty. The Ubisoft CFO even conceded at a recent earnings call that “For Honor is more of a core game, less mass market,” when prodded by analysts.
But its developers remain confident – an excellent product is what they’re on call to make. Leave it to the invisible hand of the market to deal with the rest. And if that fails, they added a failsafe – a single player campaign to go alongside the multiplayer experience. Either way, the game has high expectations, and as more of the uncertainty is ironed out down the line, its exact place in the market will be found. Until then, keep feeding the stick-wielding kid in you with this trailer: