Takedown: Red Sabre – The Return of the Tactical Shooter

All that is plugged into a contemporary setting where players become a member of Red Sabre, a multi-national, private military operation that takes jobs from different employers around the world. Allen said he wanted to stay away from the “Rah, rah, USA!” model and hokey save-the-world storyline by blurring the lines on who you are and your motivations. The focus is on the mission (played out in single-player and co-op scenarios), where players will have objectives like securing assets, rescuing hostages, eliminating targets, and more.

Completing those missions won’t be easy. Allen and I watched as a team of four co-op players (up to six can play together) — who just happened to be members of the Serellan team — attempted to rescue hostages from a modern office building. I watched as all four squad members were picked off by the enemy in multiple matches before they were finally able to get in and get out with the hostages. Well, I say “they,” but there was actually only a single squad member left standing.

Allen said the missions are tough, in part because enemy spawn points are randomized. You’ll never know exactly where the bad guys are hiding on Takedown’s 12 to 18 different maps (there are six large core maps broken down into smaller individual section-maps depending on the mission). And those bad guys will have brains. There is a full-time AI engineer working on Takedown, and as a result, enemies feature various states of alert, investigate sounds, take cover, retreat, peek and lean, and try their best to flank you. Players will be successful only if they are patient, have a plan, and execute it. Allen said that that same style will carry over to the 12-player competitive multiplayer.

“I worked on Halo, and I’ve played quite a bit of it, but I’ve got to admit, I’m not very good at the multiplayer,” he said. “I would get the drop on someone and open fire, and they would spin around, jump away in that classic Halo hop and somehow manage to land a head shot. That won’t happen in Takedown. If you get the drop on someone, you’ll be rewarded for that and you’ll get a kill. This isn’t spray and pray, it’s skill based.”

Allen noted that console players will be able to activate aim-assist to make the precision and speed of mouse and keyboard control more controller friendly. But other than that, there will not be traditional difficulty options. From what I saw of its set difficulty level, it looks like Takedown will kick your ass.

Takedown: Red Sabre is being designed using Epic’s Unreal Engine 3, and Allen said he hopes that Unreal Development Kit users will crack it open and create their own mods for PC. As for official modding support, Allen said he absolutely wants to create a mission and/or map editor, but it’s not something that will be available at launch.

I don’t think tactical shooter fans will mind much, because thanks to Takedown, they’re finally getting out of that nasty lurch.

Mike Sharkey is a former GameSpy (RIP!) editor. He’s currently contributing to IGN and Game Front while mourning the Bruins loss in the Stanley Cup. Follow @mjsharkey on Twitter.

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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.