Indie developer Serellan billed its first-person shooter Takedown: Red Sabre
as a "spiritual successor to the original Rainbow Six
and SWAT 4
" when the developer successfully raised $221,833 on Kickstarter in April 2012
. Squad-based tactical shooters, where real-life military tactics take priority over the run-and-gun trappings of triple-A shooters, are arguably harder to come by and have become a niche in the broad FPS genre.
made more sense to creative director Christian Allen then, who told Joystiq at E3 that "part of [the decision to crowdfund] was figuring out what people really care about and what people really wanted." The project's 5,423 backers saw promise in the game, due in no small part to the team's history; Allen is a former creative director on the Ghost Recon series and was design lead for Halo: Reach
. Perhaps equally reassuring for tactical shooter fans is the fact that Allen spent about nine and a half years serving in three different United States military branches: Four years as law enforcement in the Marines and over five with the Air Force and Army.
Takedown: Red Sabre
features single-player, six-player co-operative and 12-player competitive multiplayer modes. Like tactical first-person shooters of the past, sprinting through the non-linear maps isn't a viable strategy, as the game places an emphasis on slow, strategic and realistic warfare. Part of that realism comes from the work put into the game's weapons: Allen said that creating just one gun for the game takes about three weeks of development time for the Seattle-based team of about 10 developers.
via Kickstarter wasn't the developer's only means of making the game a reality. "Early on we had some angel investor interest, and that was our original direction," Allen said. "When I did the Kickstarter, I had these [venture capital] angel guys, and they were interested, and they bailed on us at a certain point." Allen said the developer also had "a lot of pressure to go free-to-play" from unnamed publishers located in China. In February
of this year, Serellan found a publishing partner in 505 Games, 10 months after its Kickstarter project closed.
The developer is planning an early release for Kickstarter backers, who were assured that just because the game now has publisher support doesn't mean it will stray from being the niche tactical shooter that fans are hoping for. "You're not going to make money by coming in as a partner and then making a Call of Duty clone," Allen said, referring to one fan's wonderment over the possibility of a major publisher such as Activision picking up Takedown
early on in the project's life. "Because then we're just going to fall on our face like all the other Call of Duty clones."
Allen added that a tactical shooter such as Takedown
has "a window and a market" to which it's best suited, and that by budgeting appropriately and aiming for that market, it can be successful. To him, that means focusing first on PC and ensuring that "console games are solid based on the technology that you have," which is not unlike past tactical FPS games that first launched on PC.
Unfortunately, that doesn't mean the game is guaranteed to be received well by larger audiences. "We are going to get slaughtered on Metacritic," Allen said. "T
here's going to be a billion game sites out there, they get the game, they have no idea what it is, they get killed, and they're going to go, 'well, 60.'" Even so, Serellan already has thousands of players to fall back on thanks to its crowdfunding campaign when Takedown: Red Sabre
comes to Steam and XBLA this fall.