What Might Bulletstorm’s Multiplayer Offer?

Epic and EA have been excitedly lighting the ring of awesomeness around their Polish developing team, People Can Fly and their new game Bulletstorm. Set for release late February in 2011, Bulletstorm is tipped to be the most OTT first person shooter the industry has seen in a rather long time. It’s certainly hoping to be a genre changer and in relation to other titles, Bulletstorm is to CoD as what Burnout is to Grand Turismo. Go and YouTube some gameplay demos and you’ll see why.

The footage and info we’ve got has been showing off a whacky creative kill point system which looks ludicrously satisfying to play, handfuls of original weapons which would be at home in a fantasy magazine of gun porn, and the richest visuals the newest Unreal Engine can punch onto a screen.

Those of you who have been following this game will no doubt be aware of the energy whip which breaks open a whole new box of gameplay mechanics for a FPS game, and the Vanquish/MOH/Wet power slide thing that lets you hurl yourself across the floor spraying noisy death all over the pretty backdrops.

All this stuff has built up a huge buzz around the development, with potential customers scouring the internet coverage of this year’s various gaming events for more footage of this insanely cool title. But at every event that People Can Fly have been attending, the magazines and websites that have managed to grab them for interviews have all asked about a multiplayer element and producers Adrian Chmielarz and Tanya Jessen are both continuing to sidestep interrogation on this subject.

The only thing we do know is that Tanya Jessen has admitted (accidentally maybe) that Bulletstorm does feature a multiplayer component, but no details. So this could either mean a Co-Op campaign (split screen or online), competitive multiplayer and matchmaking, or the increasingly fashionable ‘competitive tracking’ feature which displays friends statistics to challenge you to do better in the single player game.

From that list, Co-Op and competitive tracking seem very well suited to Bulletstorm straight away, (in fact there has been good word confirming competitive tracking) but an online multiplayer stalls in this list almost immediately. Many fans may have been secretly hoping for some implementation of competitive multiplayer with traditional deathmatch and team modes, but the more things we learn about Bulletstorm the less and less plausible it becomes.

Take the energy whip; in an online situation, will the developers allow players to grab one another and tug them towards the mouth of their triple barrelled shotguns (no seriously it’s awesome) to blow them up in slow motion? Or smash the whip into the ground to knock other players into the air to be picked off one by one at leisure? I don’t doubt the designing team’s capabilities at all and I think if they wanted to a Bulletstorm style free-for-all they would make sure it worked more than perfectly, but yet it would seem like it would require a lot of complicated combo chaining, and a whole heap of extra considerations for player balancing.

Maybe they would consider creating a whole new set of weapon add on tools or upgrades specifically designed for a competitive experience,  which more intuitively lend themselves towards pits of gun stunts, carnage, and dare we say it…Bulletstorms? Perhaps Epic, EA, and People Can Fly are tweaking the fine points right now.

Whatever the currently top secret multiplayer options can offer, I personally am pumped for this game regardless of what it is finally revealed to be.