Takedown: Red Sabre – The Return of the Tactical Shooter

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The tectonic shift to the guns blazing, Call of Duty model of FPS has left fans of tactical shooters in the lurch — a place as desolate and tactical shooter-free as it sounds. Christian Allen, a developer who compiled an impressive resume while at Red Storm, Ubisoft, and Bungie, among others, realized the lurch was no place to live, man, and decided to do something about it. The result is Takedown: Red Sabre, a project shaping up to be the tactical shooter fans of SWAT, the original Ghost Recon, and Rainbow Six have been waiting for.

When I spoke with Allen at E3, the enthusiastic smile never left his face. Takedown is now getting final polish and tweaking in preparation for its PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 launch in the fall (pricing TBA), and Allen can’t wait. After forming his own indie studio, Serellan, in Seattle in 2011, Allen failed to convince private investors to back his plan for a spiritual successor to the original Rainbow Six and SWAT4. Following the massive success of Tim Schafer’s Double Fine adventure and Brian Fargo’s Wasteland 2, he decided to make his Takedown pitch via Kickstarter. Allen’s name might not have the pull of Schafer’s or Fargo’s, but he did secure $20,000 more than the $200,000 he was seeking, and in March 2012, Takedown was off and running.

“All shooters don’t have to emulate each other,” Allen said. “Every shooter doesn’t have to be Call of Duty. The support we received on Kickstarter proved that there are plenty of people out there who want something different, a game that delivers that classic tactical shooter experience.”

The successful Kickstarter campaign allowed Allen to bring on other developers, and it also caught the eye of publisher 505 Games (Pay Day). With studio backing, the team continued to grow, and Serellan is now comprised of FEAR, Halo 4, Socom, Blacklight, Ghost Recon, and Rainbow Six veterans.

And that’s why Allen can’t stop grinning. Thanks to fans, he was able to get Takedown off the ground. With the publisher support that followed, he was able to pull together an experienced team that could help make his vision a reality. “It’s been amazing,” he said. “I’ve worked on games for many different people, but this is the first time I’ve really been able to make the game that I wanted to make, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.”

I got to see Takedown: Red Sabre in action behind closed doors at E3, and it checks all the classic tactical shooter boxes: a patient, methodical pace where listening for enemy movement is just as important as looking for it; objective-based, non-linear maps with multiple points of entry; squad-based teamwork; authentic weapons that require skill and shoot bullets that actually, you know, hurt; a cover system that allows players to peak and lean at multiple angles; and a single life without the magic of regenerating health.

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2 Comments on Takedown: Red Sabre – The Return of the Tactical Shooter


On June 26, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Sweet. It’s about time we had a worthy successor to swat 4. As long as the final release reviews well, this is going on the purchase list for sure.


On July 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Now *I* can’t stop smiling. Well, except for the part about no difficulty levels. I think that’s a major mistake. I know its really hard to make AIs with varying degrees of “smartness”: inevitably the difficulty levels come down to how bad the AI cheats (or is handicapped). Still, that would be better than a single hard-core experience which will turn off some of the more casual tac-shooter fans. Yes, those do exist.