The Order: 1886
From the studios who brought you God of War and Daxter comes The Order: 1886, an action-adventure game where an ancient order of knights battle monsters in Victorian-era London. During the course of history, a small number of humans began to take on beast-like traits. Humans feared these half-breeds and war broke out. Though man outnumbered the beasts significantly their animal strength gave them the upper hand in combat.
Humanity found hope in King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, who despite putting up a decent defense against the monsters, are losing the battle. Through a mysterious turn of events, Arthur discovers Black Water, a mysterious substance that significantly extends their lifetimes and grants them miraculous healing abilities. Despite this new development the knights continue to struggle against the beasts, that is until the Industrial Revolution. Inventors are far ahead of their time, developing advanced technologies such as thermal imaging, zeppelins, and wireless communications. New weapons harness the power of electricity, envelop the half-breeds in mounds of molten metal, and sport dual functionality such as proximity mines and fragmentation grenades.
By 1886, the war still goes on, but the humans almost have martial law. A new threat emerges with the lower class rebelling against the rich and the social order, with the knights supporting the well-to-do upper classes and nobles. The game features four main protagonists from the same squad, who each has a given name, and the adopted name of one of the original Knights.
The oldest is Sebastian Mallory, the second to bear the name of Sir Percival, and the descendant of Thomas Mallory, who in the 1400s wrote Le Morte d’Arthur, the definitive Arthurian Text. A close friend of Grayson, he is one of the best Knights in the history of the order.
Grayson is the third to bear the title of Sir Galahad, and has battled the order’s enemies for centuries. He views Mallory as a mentor, Lafayette as a friend, and Isabeau as a potential love interest. Other than that, little is known about him so far. Isabeau D’Argyll is one of the younger Knights in the order, but is much older than her appearance of being in her late twenties. The latest Lady Igraine, Isabeau was Grayson’s apprentice and if not for her commitment to the order, his lover. Marquis de Lafayette was a French military officer who fought in the French and American Revolutions. His tactical expertise brought him to the order’s attention, and Mallory approached him and convinced him to join the order. Although the group’s youngest, his globetrotting has given him a whimsical outlook on life that grounds the squad. As an apprentice, he does not yet bear the name of a Knight.
The Order: 1886 has been in development since 2010, with the idea for the game being inspired by Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 2: Honor Among Thieves. Not a great deal is known about the gameplay at this point (as Ready at Dawn have been very selective about how much is shown in previews) but the game sounds impressive on a technical standpoint. Ready at Dawn have created the RAD 4.0. engine to run the game, which is free from the limitations of developing for the PS3. There’s no porting over of assets here – everything is being developed for the PS4 exclusively.
In addition to the RAD 4.0 engine, Ready at Dawn has created a new physics engine. Called ABEL, this allows for more realistic depictions of real-life materials and object compositions. What does this mean? Metal will behave like metal, balls will bounce realistically and items that are made up of many parts will also behave that way, particularly when destroyed. Wooden doors for instance, will begin as a singular solid object but shatter into chunks and splinters when shot or exploded. It’s all very impressive stuff!
While many developers are shoehorning in multiplayer when it isn’t particularly needed (new Tomb Raider, I’m looking at you), Ready at Dawn are keeping The Order a solely single-player affair. While it’s possible they might create a multiplayer mode before the game’s release, their primary objective is giving The Order the best possible story it can have before any additional modes. PS4 owners, add this game to your list of games to keep an eye on.