Bethesda's next game is a PlayStation 5 exclusive despite Microsoft’s acquisition in March 2021.
One of the biggest stories in the video game industry last year was that Microsoft was acquiring ZeniMax Media, the company behind major game publisher Bethesda. While the completion of this deal is significant and means that many of Bethesda's published games will be Xbox exclusives going forward, Deathloop isn't. In fact, it's a PS5 exclusive.
This new first-person shooter is from Arkane, the developers of Dishonored and Prey. If you’re a fan of those games and want to know what the studio is doing next, this is everything we know about the Deathlop following its appearance at many PlayStation events and its March 2021 Game Informer cover story.
When is the Deathloop release date?
Bethesda, Arkane, and Sony have confirmed that Deathloop will be released for PS5 on May 21, 2021. It'll be the platform's third big new exclusive of the year following Destruction All-tars and Returnal. It also releases just 1 month ahead of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
Originally, Deathloop was going to be a launch title for the PS5. The game was pushed to Q2 2021, with the developers citing complications in development during the switch to working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for the delay. Bethesda confirmed the new release date on the day of the PS5's launch.
Is there a Deathloop trailer?
Yes, a new trailer for Deathloop was shown off during February 25's State of Play. Check it out below:
Will Deathloop ever come to Xbox and PC?
As mentioned, Microsoft has acquired ZeniMax Media, Bethesda's parent company, and in turn Deathloop developer Arkane Studios. The exclusivity deal for Deathloop was made before that acquisition; The game was announced in June 2020 at the PS5 Future of Gaming Showcase.
Bethesda still won’t confirm an Xbox Series X version, telling Game Informer “the acquisition hasn't affected day-to-day development of Deathloop, which we are developing exclusively for PlayStation 5 on console and also PC.”
It and GhostWire: Tokyo are two Bethesda games that will be PS5 exclusive post-acquisition. But how long will it remain exclusive? US Gamer clarified that the game would remain a console exclusive for 1 year. We shouldn't expect Deathloop on Xbox Series X until May 21, 2022 at the earliest. As for PC, it will launch on that platform alongside PS5 this May.
What is Deathloop's story about?
Player control Colt by default and must attempt to take out 8 targets on the Faroe Islands-inspired island of Blackreef, gaining new intel with each new run. Meanwhile, Colt is being hunted down by Juliana, who is stuck in the same time loop as Colt and whose sole purpose is to kill Colt.
Bethesda is still being quite secretive about what's actually causing the time loop and why Juliana hates Colt so much, but these are obviously some of the game's biggest mysteries. Game Director Dinga Bakaba also told Game Informer that Arkane is making Deathloop’s story much more focused than Dishonored’s narrative. He said the story “doesn’t care about the rest of the world and compared it to John Carpenter’s The Thing.”
“With Dishonored, there is this whole empire with a lot of different cultures and characters and political factions,” he said. “We wanted something a bit more focused, a bit John Carpenter if that makes sense. We wanted to make something like The Thing — to explore one station somewhere in the Great North where there is a group of scientists and one event that’s happening to them.”
If you enjoyed films like Groundhog Day or Happy Death Day and want to see Arkane's art deco FPS twist on it, then Deathloop should be on your radar.
Is Deathloop a roguelike?
Deathloop sounds like a roguelike with its repeated runs gimmick, but Arkane is trying to avoid comparisons to the genre currently dominated by games like Hades and Loop Hero. Players have repeated attempts to kill all 8 targets in one day and eventually get the ability to carry over weapons from day-to-day. Still, there is only one true solution and more player direction than your typical roguelike.
The island also isn’t randomized, with all for areas staying the same run after run. The only time they will change slightly is when the time of day changes. While Arkane is hesitant to embrace this genre description fully, it’s clear that some mechanics from it at least inspire Deathloop that the genre popularizes and is trying to realize them uniquely.
How does Deathloop's multiplayer work?
One of Deathloop's coolest features is the game’s asymmetrical multiplayer. Players can choose to go through the story offline and have Juliana controlled by an AI. For those who play online, Juliana is another player. The objectives stay the same. There isn't a traditional team deathmatch; you'll have to outsmart another player instead of the game itself.
To make this system more enticing, Game Informer revealed that it is tied to the game’s “Reprise” system. Reprises give Colt a brief chance to correct a mistake that kills him, but he only has two a day. Killing Juliana will replenish this, giving players a reason not to ignore her.
Juliana players will only be able to control her after progressing a bit into Colt’s campaign, and the only real rewards are some cosmetics from a progression system. The developers also hope players will be interested in the “weird player interactions that can happen” and how it can suddenly become an “emergent co-op experience.”
“Juliana’s not directly incentivized by the systems to win over Colt, so there is definitely a way to play Julianna that’s not about winning, but more about role-playing,” Bakaba explained to Game Informer. “Why not roleplay and get into someone’s campaign and stalk them, then appear and give them a jump scare. Or you could be an almost friendly Julianna.”
This is a very innovative multiplayer mechanic, and unlike anything Arkane has done before.
Does Deathloop have PS5 exclusive features?
As a timed PS5 exclusive, Deathloop is taking advantage of the PS5's unique features. Mainly, Deathloop will use the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers on the PS5’s controller with guns in the game. According to the game's PlayStation Store page, these are required and can't be turned off.
In an August 2020 PlayStation Blog post, Game Director Dinga Bakaba says that these features "will bring some physicality in-game experiences and give important feedback." Every weapon feels different and guns can jam, and all of this is communicated through the DualSense's features.
We don't know how these mechanics will work on other platforms. While Microsoft will technically be connected to this game upon its release, it is one of the coolest showcases for the DualSense controller yet.
Deathloop will be released for PC and PS5 on May 21, 2021.