Let’s be honest. One of the best things about visiting E3 is getting a behind closed doors sneak peek at upcoming titles. This year we were fortunate enough to visit several developers and go hands-on with titles still in development. Gearbox Software was showing off Project 1v1 to select press, a game they have been working on for quite some time now. We spent about 20 minutes playing it at E3 and what follows are some initial impressions of Project 1v1.
What is Project 1v1?
Project 1v1 has been kept under wraps by Gearbox since it entered a closed technical test last August. E3 this year was the first opportunity to get a closer look and hands-on time for us. Gearbox describes its latest project as follows:
Project 1v1 is a first person shooter that combines the depth and skill of 1v1 deathmatch, with the deck-building strategies of a collectible card game.
Currently in pre-alpha, the title will be available on PC initially and the focus is clearly on bringing back the glory days of first-person arena shooters, with a little bit of the modern card collecting themes that are so popular.
As the title suggests, the game is a one vs one shooter in the classic king of the hill style. Players enter a queue and are then matched up against an opponent of similar skill, determined by a tier level. The loser gets kicked back out while the winner remains in the game to face the next opponent from the queue. Keep winning and you stay in the game until someone defeats you. Throughout all this, you earn stars and experience towards unlocking more cards, which in turn will provide special abilities, cosmetic upgrades, and more.
How does it feel?
Playing Project 1v1, which incidentally only supports mouse and keyboard, a nice throwback to veteran PC gamers, you definitely get the sense that skill matters. The maps are reasonably small and intimate but very detailed, providing many different levels of verticality, environmental hazards, and nooks and crannies filled with power-ups and bonus items. Map knowledge will play a huge part in defeating your opponent, so our limited play time against other members of the press with varying levels of skill probably isn’t a very realistic sampling of the game.
When we did successfully engage our opponent in combat, actions felt crisp and fast and our reaction time definitely impacted our level of success. Weapons are varied, ranging from rocket launchers to shotguns and even rail guns which you can actually ride.
It’s clear that Gearbox is still hard at work on Project 1v1 but initial impressions are positive and they appear to be on track to harnessing the nostalgia of first-person arena shooters. No release date has been announced and while Gearbox hasn’t ruled out console versions, it is focusing on Steam for the moment. We’ll report any future updates and news as we receive them.