Project 1v1, Gearbox’s newest IP, is now in closed technical testing in North America only. You won’t find any streaming videos or new screenshots yet, as Gearbox is still playing its cards close to the chest. What we can discuss is our experiences with the it so far. While slated as being in “Alpha” Project 1v1 plays smooth, with little to no technical issues. Its take on FPS games is an interesting and nostalgic one.
A few decades ago, when I was young lad, chillin’ at the arcade was commonplace. Stacks of quarters, standing by your machine of choice, talking garbage with the other gamers while you waited your turn. Switching from player to spectator to commentator was a natural thing in this closed social setting. Project 1v1 conjures up such memories. Your first stop is the game’s hangout area, or lobby. On the right other 1v1 players are in matches, chatting in the lobby, or spectating other matches. Most talking about the cards such-and-such top ranked player is using, and preferred weapons and so forth.
I decided to leap over to the collection screen and read up on my cards. As expected you only start with a base collection of cards. Winning ranked matches earns more cards. These cards represent abilities and weapons, of which a max of 3 abilities and 2 weapons can be taken into a match. As you earn cards, duplicate cards stack together and level up that card. It takes about rocket launcher cards to level it up, boosting the stats of your weapon slightly. The same applies to abilities. Do you take a level 3 time teleport, or a level 1 human flame card? Those questions you’ll decide while building your deck pre-match.
After the collection screen, I decided to jump right into some matches. All matches are simple (yet competitive) 1v1 affairs, and they are fast paced and ultra smooth. So smooth in fact, it’s hard to remember it’s just version 0.3 alpha. It’s easy to see that this game is built around the concept that 1v1 deathmatch is its own sacred event. Such shooter type arcade games did not exist back when I was kid, but should they have it would have felt right at home a few blocks from my place at Grand Prix.
This is just about you, and the enemy player. That’s it. In this case, it was me and Klystron Six. Klystron had sentry guns, shotguns, and time warp equipped, while I had double jump, time warp, and meteor shower. Sadly for Klystron, he got gibbed and lost. I was pleased to see that while I wasn’t able to teabag his corpse, pressing ‘C’ opened up a number of simple yet expressive emotes to share with my fallen opponent.
After several rounds with different players I found myself doing something unexpected. I started to spectate. But I was drawn to it, wanting to get better and curious to see how I was handily bested earlier. Spectating any match is quick and simple, opening up your selected match right in the hangout area. In no time I was ready to challenge previous opponents, and found myself chatting with others over my preferred deck layout.
Project 1v1’s goal is to capture the purity of the 1v1 DM of old Quake, and blend it with deck building to prevent monotonous gameplay; and a layer of social interaction and spectating to bring it’s DM fanatics closer together. This closed test is proof that Gearbox is not just close to hitting their goal, they’ve shot it square between the eyes. We will be bringing you more information and news for Project 1v1 soon.