Released in 1997 for the PC, 3D Realms' Shadow Warrior looked to capitalize on the success of their previous franchise, Duke Nukem. While Duke was about kicking ass, turning women into sexual objects and being a parody of every action movie star, Shadow Warrior went in a similar yet slightly different direction: being a parody of every great Chinese martial arts movie. Protagonist Lo Wang frequently made racist jokes, poking fun at not only himself but Asian culture as a whole, with a focus on melee combat and inventive weapons such as the decapitated head of an enemy. Due to the game's strong racial overtones, the franchise has laid dormant for years, until now: Devolver Digital is looking to bring the Shadow Warrior franchise back on the PlayStation 4.
Above is the teaser trailer for the new game that, while not showing any gameplay elements, gives us our first look at the characters and style, showcasing a more serious tone to the game. While the game will still be a first-person shooter, what we know about the game shows the new direction Devolver Digital is taking the franchise in while retaining some of the elements that made the previous entry great.
The original Shadow Warrior concentrated on gameplay over story, focusing not on characterization and plot but on one liners and action. In an interview with Joystiq, lead writer Jan Bartkowicz explained how this new game will do the opposite:
"We invented this entire 'Shadow Realm' and delved deeper into a story that was, I wouldn't say it was slapped together, but it was very simple. It was just a reason for you to kill a lot of people in a 90s game.”
Bartkowicz's story will still involve Lo Wang taking on the evil Zilla, but will also revolve around a quest for the legendary Nobitsura Kage blade and a constant companion named Hoji, similar to Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite. The new game will strive to keep the modern day aspects of the original, featuring levels set in airports or construction sites, setting it apart from other games in the genre.
Devolver Digital is striving to keep the arcade-like feel of the game while at the same time bringing some of the franchise's unique points into the current generation of gaming. For example, Nigel Lowrie, head of the marketing department at Devolver Digital, mentioned to Joystiq that Lo Wang's signature sword will not be “a useless melee weapon like you usually see, it's a really precise weapon that you control. [The sword] needs to be deep enough that it's better than just swinging like you would with a bat or crowbar in another game." It was confirmed at E3 2013 that the entire game can be won using just the sword.
In addition to the sword, Shadow Warrior will also bring back other weapons from the original like the decapitated head and dual sub-machine guns. Along with the old weapons comes a combo-based scoring system to emphasize fast and frantic action. Shadow Warrior will also feature an experience-based leveling system, similar to most first-person shooters released for this generation.
Announced at E3 2013 is the addition of magic to the series. Some examples of magic include healing yourself and shooting out energy blasts. Magic is unlimited but using it comes with a price: all nearby enemies become enraged, increasing their damage and health.
Also announced is that the game is keeping an emphasis on violence and blood, seen in the previous game in the series years ago.
While the remake of the franchise is bringing along much of what made the older game great, two things are being left in the year 1997: the multiplayer and the humor. The multiplayer is axed in favor of crafting a strong single player narrative, something that fans of the franchise will appreciate.
What those same fans may not appreciate is the removal of the crude and racist humor. Devolver Digital has their reasons behind this, which they explain to Joystiq:
“....one thing we did take out was a lot of the cheap jokes that had a lot of racial stereotyping and kind of sexist jokes, replacing them with "a little smarter comedy than the cheap ones that were in there. [Shadow Warrior sees] a change in tone and a change in writing style that really shines through. If someone was really looking for those particular elements, then yeah I'm sure they'll be a little disappointed.”
Writer Scott Alexander explained the new change in humor in further depth to Joystiq at E3 2013:
" "We understand why Lo Wang was awesome and you can still see him and go, 'Look at that douchebag,' without participating in putting a culture in a box. That was a huge priority when we were first thinking about how to frame the game and how to frame that character," writer Scott Alexander said. "You can play around with stuff; you can be funny, you can be crass, you can make him a jerk. He's got a real arc though."
What about you, PS4 Experts readers? Do you think the removal of the humor and multiplayer is enough for you to pass on the PS4 remake of the Shadow Warrior franchise, or are you eagerly awaiting the game to hit the console? Let us know in the comments, and we'll bring you more information on the game as it becomes available!
We haven't heard anything about Shadow Warrior on the PS4 in awhile, despite the PC version releasing last year. However, publisher Devolver Digital has just re-announced the title, stating it will come to PS4 and it will hit the system sometime during Fall 2014. The price will be $39.99.
The official release date has been announced as October 21st, 2014.
Game Category: First Person Shooter
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 5/23/2013