Blackmill Games and M2H Game Studio first released the World War I-era military shooter Verdun on Steam Early Access last year. Boasting a true to life virtual experience of the world’s first great war, Verdun resonated with fans on Early Access, earning overwhelmingly positive reviews from players. Now Verdun has left the Steam Early Access program and is in its official release form, available for purchase.
Gamers that decide to purchase the game will discover a historically faithful World War I first-person shooter, which includes authentic weaponry that was used in the actual war. The game is multiplayer-focused, featuring multiple game modes, with maps based on real-world battlefields from the Western Front of the war.
As can be seen from the launch trailer, Verdun also boasts some fairly impressive graphics. The character animations could use some work, but overall the graphical presentation is quite stunning, and it’s not a stretch to call it the best-looking World War I video game to date.
Historical shooters like Verdun once dominated the FPS market. Titles like Call of Duty 2 and Medal of Honor were a dime a dozen (albeit they explored World War II rather than World War I), but with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, that all changed. The industry trend shifted from historical shooters to modern shooters, and now the current popular FPS template is that of the “future” shooter.
This is evident in releases like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Titanfall, as well as with the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. As with any trend in gaming, however, this “future warfare” fad will die down, and eventually the premiere FPS games will latch on to the next big thing.
Will the next big thing be a return to historical shooters? Verdun has certainly proven to be popular during its time on Steam Early Access, showing that a market still exists for shooters such as this. At one point, there were even rumors that Treyarch’s Call of Duty game this year was going to be Call of Duty: World at War 2, which would’ve seen the franchise return to World War II for the first time since the first World at War game, also developed by Treyarch.
Maybe Verdun is a sign of historical shooters not only starting to make a comeback, but also exploring some lesser-used military conflicts. World War II has been done to death (though it would be awesome to see a high budget WWII game on current-gen hardware), whereas Verdun is one of the only games that immediately springs to mind that covers WWI so extensively (Valiant Hearts: The Great War being another). Other military conflicts such as the Vietnam War have not been given that much of a spotlight by the gaming industry either.
With games having matured significantly in the last decade, the opportunity arises for developers to use these terrible times in human history to tell deeply involving and meaningful stories. We’ve seen this with Valiant Hearts: The Great War, but it’d be interesting to see the horrors of wars like Vietnam receive the same treatment.
Actually, FPS fans may be surprised to know that there was almost a serious, horror-themed Vietnam Call of Duty game from Sledgehammer Games. Before they switched focus to Advanced Warfare, Sledgehammer was reportedly working on a third-person Call of Duty title in the vein of Dead Space set during the Vietnam War.
In the meantime, those looking to simply dive into trenches of WWI need look no further than Verdun.
Verdun is currently available on PC, Mac, and Linux systems through Steam.