There's a new touchscreen FPS in town. But what sets The Drowning apart from other FPS games on touchscreen devices is the control scheme—instead of opting for the typical virtual stick system, Scattered Entertainment has gone for a gesture-based system that lets you play with just two fingers.
Developed by the former Executive Producer of Battlefield, Ben Cousins, The Drowning will run on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini and the iPod Touch 5th generation, and the developers at Scattered Entertainment said that the Android version is planned “further down the line”. Find the trailer of the game below.
“We have the same conclusion everybody does if they play a first-person shooter on the touch-screen, and that's that the virtual stick system just doesn't work,” Ben Cousins said in an interview with Eurogamer. “It feels a bit strange to me that developers of FPS games on touch-screens are harking back to the previous platform. It reminds me of how early cinema used to stick the camera in front of the stage and there would be curtain calls at the end of the movie. You need to create a new paradigm for a new platform. We did some research. We put these games with virtual sticks in front of core FPS players on console and PC, who were really skilled players, and they just hated the controls.”
Can be played with just two fingers
Thanks to its unique gesture-based control scheme, The Drowning can be played one-handed and with just two fingers. You shoot at enemies by tapping the screen with two fingers. The bullet is fired at the centre-point between the fingers, thus giving you a level of accuracy that is not generally achievable with a virtual stick system. To look around, you have to swipe the screen, and just tapping the location on the screen will have your character move there using an intelligent path-finding system.
But owing to the control scheme, some concessions had to be made in other departments. The reloading, for instance, is automatic and virtual buttons are used to switch weapons. You can zoom in and out using simple pinch gestures, like in a web browser.
Cousins said, “We realise we have to make concessions because of the interface of the device and how people play the game. We needed to create a control system you could use with one hand so if you're on the bus and you're holding on to the handle you can still play the game a lot easier than you would if you were using a virtual dual stick control system or even playing a PS Vita where you've got two thumbs required.”
The game will also feature micro-transactions. Unlike other games, though, you won't be able to simply buy weapons. Instead, you can buy items that boost your chances of finding parts to make new weapons. There are going to be 50 weapons in the game, and each one will be upgradable. “Even if you're a paying player you've got to play the game to get stuff,” Cousins said. “There's a vast amount of content available to both free players and paying players.”
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