The Order: 1886 has emerged to be a third-person cover shooter with exceptional production values and an intriguing setting. Ready at Dawn’s PlayStation 4 exclusive is set in an alternate-history “Neo-Victorian London” where technological advances have kept pace with a centuries-old war. You’ll play as a knight of an ancient order that uses these advanced steampunk weapons to battle the supernatural threat of ‘half breeds’.
The closed-doors demonstration also revealed a socio-political movement dubbed “The Rebellion” that will tangle with The Order. These rebels are made up of the city’s underclass who resent the knights for ostensibly protecting the interests and welfare of the rich elite.
The video game features outstanding photorealistic visuals and the promise of a seamless experience.
“Our game models and our cinematic models are one and the same, and everything is rendered in real time in the engine as you play the game,” wrote Creative Director Ru Weerusriya earlier this year.
While gameplay is being kept “traditional”, The Order: 1886 is relying on its grimy, steampunk setting and the aesthetics of cinematography to entice and engage players. As Phil Iwaniuk from the Official PlayStation Magazine notes Ready at Dawn is “using full performance capture similar to Beyond [Two Souls]”. At E3, Weerusriya was adamant about The Order’s commitment to a ‘filmic experience’.
“We built physical lenses into our engine so we could get something where people will look and not be totally disconnected. Games have a tendency sometimes to be too clean and crisp. We thrive in the dirt. We just love the fact that it feels dirty. It’s filmed in a very realistic way”.
The combination of full performance capture and Ready at Dawn’s ‘filmic techniques’ maybe enough to swing this game into Uncharted territory, where gameplay mechanics give way to an immersive story. Polygon’s Michael McWhertor walked away from a gameplay preview impressed by the “jaw-dropping” visuals.
“Motion blur, film grain and lens flare lend the game a warm, cinematic quality. Neo-Victorian London’s dark, grit and grime aesthetic perfectly matches the overall dreary tone,” wrote Michael.
Not everyone was impressed with Ready at Dawn’s demonstration, Senior IGN Editor Colin Moriarty laments the derivative third person shooter mechanics, but is intrigued by The Order’s ambitious art direction and world building.
“On a technical level, I’m somewhat concerned about the game, and I’m concerned that it seemed a bit more generic than I was hoping it would be. Then again, I’m also left excited about the prospect of seeing more, of gaining a better understanding of the game’s lore, direction, and purpose”.
Overall, The Order is shaping up to be an intriguing and ambitious project from a developer that is poised to become a bigger player in next-gen development. Despite all the information that this game would be a third-person shooter, the gameplay revealed so far has been so minimal as to be disappointing. On the other hand, the impressive in-game visuals giving no distinction between gameplay and cutscenes and the commitment to a cinematic experience speaks to this developer’s ambition. It’s certainly a project worth watching and waiting for.
The Order: 1886 – New Era Trailer
The Order: 1886 for the PlayStation 4 is rumoured to be out in autumn. Check out the “New Era” trailer below. I also highly recommend the preview from The Official PlayStation Magazine UK as it contains some very brief gameplay footage.