Bleeding Edge, and its team-based multiplayer focus, is exactly what Xbox needs

Bleeding Edge is a chaotic, intense game.

Whether you’re playing as the dolphin in a mech suit (yes, really) or the metalhead shredding his guitar to debuff the enemy team, there’s always a lot going on.

And that’s by design. The 4v4 setup of the game relies on good team communication, mobility, synergy and spacial awareness, and keeping a cool head in the midst of the madness. Teams that can liaise listen and will come out on top… and teams that ignore those key tenets will fail.

There are a lot of articles out there comparing this game to other things – MOBAs, Overwatch, even Street Fighter – but Bleeding Edge is a novel blend of Team Ninja’s unique take on action and the team combat games that have surged in popularity over the last few years, injected with a slew of inspirations that span decades.

That is to say: Bleeding Edge is unique. And it fills a gap in Microsoft’s roster of games that the Xbox has been crying out for.

“Bleeding Edge started as a super MOBA-ish title,” explains Rahni Tucker, creative director at Ninja Theory. “Gerald [Poon, senior designer] and I essentially prototyped the game in a visual scripting language in Unreal, and back then it had lanes and towers and minions and team levelling and all sorts.”

What Tucker and her team found, though, was that when the game started, everyone would just rush into the middle of the map and start brawling. “That’s just what everyone wanted to do” she laughs, going on to explain that the third-person camera following the heroes of Bleeding Edge around didn’t allow for the ‘headspace’ to keep track of the towers, the minions, the many systems at play in a standard MOBA.

“Over time, we just simplified, simplified, simplified the game modes – because that’s what people wanted, and that’s what made sense for the action in the game.”

The result is a game that plays like no other. Sure, there are comparisons to Overwatch and Smite to be made, but Ninja Theory is leveraging its talents in the third-person action combat space to deliver a chaotic, team-based melee brawler that doesn’t just stand out from Microsoft’s line-up of platform exclusives, but from the whole gaming scene right now.

But it’s not something the studio has done before. The online matchmaking, the problems Ninja Theory has overcome in order to deliver stable experiences to players – it’s all new.

“The hardest thing about [developing Bleeding Edge] so far has actually been around the networking and the online aspect of the title – that’s something that Ninja Theory hasn’t actually really done before.

“With a small team, it’s been tough to solve all that, but I’m really proud of what we’re making, and where we’re at.”

And Tucker and her team should be – after all, they managed to push out a full beta for the game without a hitch. That’s not easy to do on your first try (bigger studios have proved that us, time and again).

A cursory look at the games forums or dedicated reddit threads shows you that, already, Bleeding Edge is attracting a community of players that are utterly dedicated to the game.

The kind of players that squeeze every second out of the various alphas and betas, the kind of players hunting down articles in different languages to learn everything they can about the game.

Ninja Theory has cultivated, and appreciated, that level of passion – and seems insistent on keeping those players on-board ‘years down the line’ after Bleeding Edge launches on March 24, 2020.

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