Deathloop is undoubtedly one of my most anticipated games – or, at least, it should be. Despite being rightly acclaimed, I still feel the Dishonored series is a little underrated: Arkane’s stealth sandboxes pack masterful level design, providing a real sense of freedom allowing you to tackle problems however you see fit. The Lyon-based outfit’s upcoming PlayStation 5 timed console exclusive looks to be an evolution of that, blending Hitman-esque assassination puzzles with its penchant for emergent gameplay scenarios.
It should be the jewel in the PS5’s crown this year, an unmissable emblem situated to the side of Guerrilla’s anticipated sequel Horizon Forbidden West – but as Sony prepares a State of Play dedicated to the first-person shooter this week, I must admit even I’ve found myself rolling my eyes. Why, then, is a game that sounds so promising on paper not exciting me quite like it should?
Well, I think first of all, it’s worth remembering that Deathloop was originally intended as a PS5 launch title. Coronavirus, understandably, affected project schedules enormously, and it was ultimately delayed until May – before being delayed again. It means, between Game Informer covers and practically every PS5 livestream over the past year, we’ve seen an abundance of the title – too much, really, as its marketing cycle has been dragged out to accommodate the delays.
The other problem is that, since the game’s announcement, Microsoft bought publisher Bethesda and all of its developers, including Arkane. Sony has been putting a brave face on this – it still will have spent significant sums of money on Deathloop’s timed exclusivity, which the Redmond firm is honouring – but as a PS5 owner I can’t help but feel like this has really affected my relationship with the release.
It shouldn’t matter, but herein lies the problem: The Outer Worlds – a game my colleague Robert Ramsey really enjoyed – will see its recently revealed sequel exclusively tied to Xbox and PC. After buying developer Obsidian, that’s Microsoft’s prerogative of course, but given we now know this is the precedent, it’s hard to get too invested in Deathloop when you know its sequel won’t ever see the light of day on the PS5 if it turns out to be a success.
Furthermore, regular readers will hate to read this – I’m well aware I’ve been beating this drum a few too many times of late – but what’s the point in paying full-price for the game this September when you know it’s going to be included with Xbox Game Pass in approximately a year? It completely devalues the product for me; if nothing else, the price of the PS5 version will inevitably plummet, both at retail and on the PS Store, when that eventually happens.
It’s not that the project is tainted, because I’m very confident it’s still going to be an excellent experience – and that’s ultimately the most important part. But all of the circumstances and sub-plots surrounding it have really dampened my enthusiasm, and while I appreciate Sony has to march on and continue marketing the shooter like it’s a big title in the PS5’s portfolio – it just doesn’t sit quite right.
As I said at the start of the article, despite everything this is still one of my most anticipated PS5 games – and yet every time I let myself get excited about it, I remember all of the drawbacks unrelated to the release itself. Deathloop deserves better, but it is what it is.
Are you excited for Deathloop, or do you have similarly mixed feelings about it? Start the cycle over in the comments section below.