Deadlock: Unveiling Valve’s Mysterious Hero Shooter

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Valve is known for their renowned games like Dota 2 and Half-life. Recently it seems like Valve has a new game in the shadows. Deadlock is suppose to be a hero-based game. Although the many aspect of the game is still under the covers but recently there has been some leaks on twitter.

From the number of leaks over the years, known by its code names like Citadel or Neon Prime is a game that Valve has reportedly started making in 2018, going through a number of changes since then but still being a 6-vs-6 Hero based Multiplayer Online Battle Area(MOBA) with Tower Defense Mechanics. It is being developed by IceFrog the developers behind Dota which is why the character designs and UI feel similar.

A Glimpse into the Heroes: The Leaks

The leaks had come from twitter user GabeFollower but since then the tweets were removed speculating that the leaks violated NDAs, The newest leaks show some gameplay showing third person shooting and movement along with rails to use for quickly traversing the map reminiscent of Bioshock in a sort of tutorial area for the game as well as screenshots showing there’s 6 players aside for a match.

Moreover, the leak showed that there are currently more than 19 characters available to choose from, all garnering a new-age steampunk like style. Each character has unique abilities and will have unique roles in matches such as assassins, healers, tankers and ranged users etc. As of now the game is being play tested by the hundreds and by Valve itself to improve on its mechanics and gameplay. The leaks also mention there are 3 elemental damage types, those being Fire, Lightning and Ice. The leaked characters are:

  • Abrams – A gargoyle-demon like character
  • Bebop – A Red robot with what looks like a missing eye
  • Dynamo – Another robot
  • Grey Talon – A Native American character with a long-range bow
  • Haze – An assassin
  • Infernus – A fast assassin focusing on fire damage
  • Ivy – An Imp healer
  • Kelvin – A character that specializes in ice
  • Lady Geist – A life stealer
  • Lash – A warrior
  • McGinnis – A welder or blacksmith
  • Mo & Krill – A monkey and pig duo
  • Paradox
  • Pocket
  • Seven
  • Vindicta – A vampire-looking sniper
  • Warden – A police officer
  • Wraith – An early 1900’s gangster who “excels at one-on-one combat”
  • Yamato – A samurai-looking character

The release date for this game could be as early as next year as closed beta started sometime in May 2024.

In-game currencies and progression

The in-game currency is “souls” which are collected by killing other players in matches, randomly spawning creeps and a large Boss appearing in the middle of the map. These “souls” are then used to buy upgrades and such during the match. There are also “spirit urns” which are carried by players to the middle of the map to deposit which can result in that player’s team getting a huge number of souls, but carrying the spirit urn will make the carrier visible to everyone around the map. Players had said the gameplay is a lot like DOTA but instead of three lanes, Deadlock will contain four lanes with each of those lanes having the aforementioned rail to help players quickly traverse it.

Everyone’s Reaction

It has been fairly mixed, some fans are disappointed as they were hoping for a sequel to half-life or portal, others are suggesting the gameplay that it brings to the table has long since died out with overwatch and its MOBA style with lanes isn’t anything new. Valve doesn’t exactly have a good track record when it comes to new multiplayer games with their CS2, Dota 2 and Teamfortress 2 all being games that Valve took from outside modders, developers and the such to then build upon and improve.

However the counter to these arguments have been that a game shouldn’t be judged based on a couple of badly compressed images, videos and clear placeholder items being used as developers have shown gameplay with far less than what is being shown in the leaks and produced amazing titles such Horizon Zero dawn and God of war remakes.

Conclusion

With the hype around hero-based shooters dying out it could become very difficult for Deadlock to capture and maintain a good amount of players. Since the leaks already have some players disappointed as the gameplay isn’t anything new or original. However, we have to wait to see if Deadlock gets a good players base and the hype to keep it in relevance for the coming years or it may join Valve’s graveyard of games like Artifact (a card game supposedly a competitor for Heartstone), Ricochet (a Half Life 1 esports spinoff) and Dota Underlords (an auto chess game that lost its players in a number of months)

 

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