Can we crown the new king of trailers? Pixel Titans’ latest trailer for STRAFE, titled “All Star,” is the best trailer yet of 2016 and will be hard to dethrone.
Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine recommending anything remotely connected to Smash Mouth’s 1999 chart-climbing single ‘All Star’. Yet Quake-inspired shooter STRAFE has proven me wrong. Pixel Titans, who woo’d Kickstarter supporters in 2015 with a face-melting live-action commercial, have done it again. Titled “All Star,” STRAFE‘s latest trailer is the best of 2016 at the very least.
This trailer has it all: action, emotion, breath-taking visuals, comedy, tragedy, gore, more gore, lots and lots of gore, and a double-barreled shotgun. It’s like a modern Hamlet if Hamlet was a Quake mod and Shakespeare watched a lot of Donnie Darko. Okay, so really it’s 1990’s video game graphics mixed, Gears of War‘s “Mad World” trailer and an M. Night Shyamalan ending, but isn’t that all we want in life? The answer is yes.
Mostly though, STRAFE‘s trailer just seems to capture the essence of the game in one hundred and one seconds. There’s the surprising self-seriousness of creating an authentic Quake-style first-person shooter, the absurdity of actually carrying such an idea out, the silliness of the concept as a whole, and at its heart the pure fun of all of it coming together.
For those unfamiliar with STRAFE, it’s a first-person shooter straight out of 1996 – to the extreme. Its most direct inspirations are of course Quake and Doom, from which it takes its fast-paced, frenetic action and exploration elements. Yet much like many modern indie titles, rather than a more structured (and time-consuming) approach to level design, Pixel Titans are building the game around a procedural level generator. Yes, STRAFE is best described as rogue-like meets Quake.
Every play-through of STRAFE starts the player with no power-ups, no perks, no found weapons, and no idea what the level in front of them looks like. If the player dies, they go back to square one and try again. There is some structure, of course. There are five stages, with the first revealed to be “The Icaraus” space ship, where the player returns to find something has gone terribly wrong. From there, everything goes to hell – likely quite literally.
STRAFE‘s Kickstarter ended, with the game netting a total of $207,847, exactly one year ago today. The “All Star” trailer is a celebration of that success. Obviously it’s easy to tell how much fun the developers are continuing to have making their game. Hopefully it’s just as fun for all of the game’s future players when it’s released down the line.
STRAFE was previously planned for an early 2016 release, but it’s no longer clear if the team responsible for it is targeting that window or has since expanded the scope of development. Pixel Titans has no plans to release STRAFE as an Early Access title, either. It’ll be ready when it’s ready.