The UK’s Northern powerhouse that is Manchester has been home to many memorable things in its time.
Betty’s Hot Pots in Corrie; swaggering indie from the likes of Oasis and the Stone Roses and, of course, the Arndale Shopping Centre.
But it has not, as far as we’re aware, previously been a place where you’d run into giant, hulking laser-blasting mechs. Or rampaging insectoid aliens.
Enter explosive new video game Beyond Flesh And Blood: which aims to change all of that.
The work of indie outfit Pixel Bomb Games, who decided to set the epic sci-fi shooter in their home city, it certainly provides a more distinctive and original backdrop than LA, New York or Paris, of which there are countless examples.
The world of video games has become over-saturated with the same-old locations, so if you’ve ever wanted to lay waste to extraterrestrial scum in a post-apocalyptic British town, this is for you.
Beyond Flesh and Blood is set 200 years after a global war, where civilization – and more specifically, Manchester – lies in ruin; the streets full of overgrown foliage. As Project Lead Lee Blacklock puts it: “Nature has really moved back in.”
He goes on to explain the set-up:
“5 years before the events of the game, the UGR Astralis space station detects a massive asteroid on a collision course with the Earth. Reports of alien creatures and a biological organism called Mire surface in their droves.
“No-one is quite sure if the alien creatures are here by choice or just by chance…”
Pretty standard for an alien invasion game, right?
But Mancunians will find recognisable settings in the game, including Beetham Tower and Arndale Shopping Centre. We like the idea of window shopping and fighting off alien hordes at the same time, although Lee does note that:
“…these locations are reimagined by our artists to appear ruined and overgrown by invasive species…”
…so don’t expect to be nipping into McDonalds for a burger.
One interesting piece of information is that the game takes place over the course of a single day.
“We begin bright and early in the morning and as we move through the game, we see a full day cycle with differing weather occurring, bright and shining to dark stormy and lots of rain – a normal day’s weather for Manchester.”
Well sorry Manchester, but he has a point…
When I heard about the game, my instinct was to liken it to other dystopian sci-fi games.
Titanfall sprung to mind, especially when I heard that there were mechs involved. However, it doesn’t seem like that is quite the angle they are aiming for.
As Lee points out:
“Beyond Flesh and Blood is slightly different from other Mech based action games. It’s a third-person shooter that happens to utilise mechs or as we call them, Frames and Combat Frames, as the player’s avatar.”
As far as the influences and tone goes, it apparently adopts a different pace from from traditional western mech games such as Mech Warrior, and is more heavily influenced by the development team’s love of anime.
“We are going for over the top violence in a manner that is more comedic in value, with our influence growing up in the 80s and 90s and watching movies and playing games from that era.”
Sounds like a blast. Maybe we can finally feel like mechanised super-soldiers, as opposed to massive metal teddy bears.
Mainstream sci-fi games are tiresome in this day and age, and if you’re looking for a cheaper, alternative way to have fun while gaming, this may the thing for you. Especially if you want to (virtually) blow stuff up in Manchester.
Beyond Flesh and Blood will go on sale on Xbox One and PS4 in the first half of 2016.