'83 is a milsim going for 'accessible realism' in a timeline where the Cold War exploded

That's '83 as in "1983", and welcome to an alternative universe where the Cold War turned hot. A new multiplayer FPS from Blue Dot Games where the guiding principle is "accessible realism" around a core of tactical precision combat, 83's most ambitious element might be the number of players: Up to 100 per match. The studio behind the game's composed of longterm veterans from series including Red Orchestra, Rising Storm and Squad, and the game is already highly wishlisted on Steam.

Blue Dot says the goal is "to make everything as realistic as possible, until the point where it stops being fun and becomes tedious instead, then we ratchet it back one notch." It reckons this can hit a sweet spot between more hardcore milsims and the casual crowd, and combining this with more objective-led matches in massive maps should give 83 its own character in a crowded field. 

Players use real-world infantry weapons and equipment appropriate to the period, as well as land and air vehicles, and battle over objectives that can be match-altering when held. The work that's gone into the weapons is one of 83's selling points, with a ballistic modeling system which factors in aspects like penetration, recoil and advanced weapon handling. I'll probably still use an AK-47 regardless though. 

The game's two factions are NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The former is described as "a superpower committed to preserving the ideology of the capitalist West; in the world of ‘83 NATO must fight a war of containment to stop the spread of communist toxicity across the globe."

Communist toxicity! Well comrade, sign me up for the Warsaw Pact, consisting of the Soviet Union and seven Soviet satellite states. This side "fights to ensure that the glorious Marxist ideals of the USSR are upheld" and, while things might seem to be getting a little Helldivers 2 up in here, this is not a million miles away from how the real rhetoric played out in the early 1980s.

Things never quite boiled over, of course, but in 83 "sabre-rattling escalates to a World War for dominance between two nuclear superpowers." This alternative timeline is likely bouncing off the Able Archer NATO exercise that brought NATO and the Soviet Union close to nuclear war that year.

83 doesn't yet have a release date, though is holding alpha and beta events that you can sign up for here. You can also follow the game's development on X, Facebook, YouTube, the Discord channel, and on the official website.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."