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Insurgency: Sandstorm cancels story mode, but alpha test signups are live

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Insurgency: Sandstorm, a sequel to the 2014 online FPS Insurgency, was announced last June with the promise of at least one big improvement over its predecessor: A Story Mode with support for both single-player and co-op action. "Players will travel as a party cut off from support across a war-torn landscape on a new mission that is deeply personal," publisher Focus Home Interactive said, an angle emphasized by the E3 trailer that was largely built around an ominous conversation in the cab of a pickup. 

Unfortunately, as lead game designer Michael Tsarouhas announced today, that story mode has been "canceled for release." It may be brought back into development at some future date, but for now the developers have decided to focus solely on multiplayer. 

"The story was a very exciting and new opportunity for us as a team, but we felt we had to make a choice," Tsarouhas wrote. "At this moment it’s more important to us that we deliver a full multiplayer and coop experience that improves on Insurgency; one that is true to our style and what we feel we do best. We know to some of you this decision may be unexpected, and we’re sad to share this news, but this was a shift our team felt we needed to make." 

Tsarouhas didn't cite it as a contributing factor, but he also revealed that creative director Andrew Spearin has left the company. Reasons for Spearin's departure weren't given, but he portrayed the split as amicable. 

"Andrew has been a mentor and a friend to me personally, providing guidance when I began full time with the team as community manager," Tsarouhas wrote. "The whole team deeply appreciates his time and contributions to our projects, and we wish him only the best." 

The good news in all of this is that the closed alpha is on the way. A solid launch date hasn't been set, but signups are being taken at insurgency-sandstorm.com.

"We view the Sandstorm Closed Alpha as we viewed our Early Access stages of Insurgency and Day of Infamy: the game is definitely not finished, but it’s in a state where we’re ready for feedback from players. There will be a heavy and steady amount of iteration based on this feedback and our own plans as we work to improve the game for release in 2018," Tsarouhas wrote. A wider beta test is also planned. 

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.