Here's the first hard look at Dusk, a retro FPS coming in 2017. Dusk wears its inspirations on its sleeve, citing fantasy FPS Heretic, Doom, and even budget bin classic Redneck Rampage as its source material. It isn't set on Mars, but "the eerie backwoods of the American Northeast where, gaining consciousness hanging on a meat hook, you must fight to survive." The soundtrack is by Andrew Hulshult, who composed for .
The trailer flaunts Dusk as a fast, circle-strafey shooter populated by a mixture of low-poly medieval and modern weapons, including dual hand scythes, a magical crossbow, and a double-barreled shotgun. The game is created by indie dev David Szymanski, who two years ago created what might be considered a primordial version of Dusk, "a little personal love letter to the FPSes of the early-mid '90s" called .
Over email, Szymanski tells me that it's the "the sense of speed, fluid movement, and handcrafted episodic level design with interesting psuedo-nonlinear levels" from '90s FPSes that he hopes to reproduce in Dusk. As for the tumbling aerial move shown in the trailer, Szymanski says that "The game simply unlocks the vertical axis when [players are] in the air, allowing them to aim 360 degrees to track enemies below/above, or just to look cool. When they land, the plan is to have the player do a Mirror's Edge style roll." There's no fall damage, mercifully.
I'm definitely OK with this continuing trend of '90s FPS getting spiritual follow-ups. continues to be a promising, Spelunky-inspired shooter, and the moody, time-attack game is one of our favorite small projects of 2016. Even Bethesda and id's Doom can be counted among the singleplayer FPSes that are bringing back blistering movement, occultism, and over-the-top gore.
Szymanski clearly admires that era of games, but also says he doesn't want Dusk to inherit the confusing trial and error mazes or obscure puzzles that roadblocked players in some '90s shooters. "We want to try and make each level and episode stand out as best we can," he says.