Striden looks like a very serious multiplayer shooter until the irradiated bear shows up

The first hint that Striden is a little different comes part way through the trailer above, when a player absolutely decks the glass face of a vending machine and a soda can pops out. The Half-Life throwback seems out of place next to the very dramatic, blue-filtered WW2-ish shooting—but then you get to the bear.

Striden is not what it seems in another way, too: At first I clocked it as a Battlefield-like large scale team shooter, but the format is more like a mix of Battlefield and modern extraction shooters, with unique elements: five teams of four fight over resources, strongholds, and anti-radiation medicine over the course of roughly 30-minute matches, winning by accruing the most points.

"Striden is an experience like no other," says creative director Johan Sundqvist. "It's a completely new game mode, environment, and cooperative experience."

Striden has classes like Battlefield—Assault, Engineer, Medic, Scout, and Support—but its guns are acquired by looting parts in matches with a "fast-paced" system. The weapons don't stick to one era, either, spanning both World Wars and the Cold War.

This is all explained by the alt-history setting: the craters of tactical nukes that were dropped on Sweden. Minus the radiation, it's an environment the studio knows well. Developer 5 Fortress is based in Boden, Sweden, which sits just outside the Arctic Circle at a latitude of 65 degrees—you'd struggle to find any game developers further north than that. (If you're making a game in Longyearbyen, Norway, let us know.)

The risk of radiation poisoning provides motivation for the match objectives, and accounts for some of Striden's more supernatural events. Like the bear. The aggressive mammal seen uncannily chasing a player near the end of the new trailer isn't an environmental hazard: it's an irradiated weapon controlled by a player.

"Powerspikes give you the advantage of gaining an upper hand over your opponents," say the devs. "The more points you collect for your team, the better powerspikes you unlock. Activate a radar that shows opponents on the map, call in an airstrike, or become a radioactive bear that crushes all enemies in its way."

Later in the trailer, a moose shows up, too, which I'm happy to see as a Canadian—an underrepresented animal in videogames, I think.

Mainly, though, I like that Striden's mode design is unconventional. Pairing an old-fashioned score-based victory condition with more fashionable decisions like small teams and looting feels like it has potential, especially for those feeling burnt out on extraction games. It's also nice to hear from Sundqvist that it will have a "classic server list"—as opposed to just an automated matchmaking system—and well as built-in VOIP.

Striden doesn't have a release date yet, but it's got a Steam page with more details.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.