Freedom Wars is a "recovery multiplayer action" game developed by Japan Studio in cooperation with Shift and Dimps for the PlayStation Vita. It was announced on May 16, 2013 with a cryptic trailer simply named Panopticon, and is due out in 2014 on the 28th October in America and 31st October in Europe.
Official Panopticon Website
The game is set on Earth in the far future. The planet's surface lies in ruins and is no longer suitable for living on. Humanity has moved to living underground in new cities known as Panopticons. Each Panopticon acts like an independent nation and there is a constant state of distrust between rival Panopticons. Due to the severe lack of resources left in the world, inhabitants of a Panopticon are born as criminals known as Sinners and are issued with a sentence of 1,000,000 years in enslavement. To erode this sentence and become free citizens they must undertake missions to recover supplies and rescue citizens of the Panopticon from Abductors.
While serving their sentence Sinners have all of their rights removed and are forced to deal with following strict rules. These rules include "no pacing around your cell", "no reclining", "no talking", "no thinking about the future". As a Sinners works off their sentence they are giving new entitlements that will allow them basic rights and improve their quality of life they rank up to new Codes and gain access to more rights, equipment and mission types. Breaking the rules results in an extension of their sentence.
Sinners actions are monitored 24/7 by their Accessory. The Accessory is an android who lives in the Sinners cell and also acts as combat partners when out on missions.
The main player character starts the story by falling in combat and suffering amnesia. As a result their sentence is reset to 1,000,000 years and they have to begin their journey to rise up through ranks while working off their sentence. While unconscious, the player character encounters Aries, a female character who will appear in the character's sleep throughout the story.
The game is made up of three components, combat, a city hub and multiplayer modes.
Combat is from the third-person viewpoint and takes place in a variety of closed arena style environments such as ruined cities and desert landscapes.
Players can use melee and ranged weapons as well as secondary items such as first aid kits, adrenaline shots and grenades. These are selected via a loadout screen before entering into the combat. Ammunition and secondary items are limited although the player can replenish them via pick-ups scattered throughout the combat zone. In addition to the melee and ranged weapons players have an additional tool known as the "Thorn".
The Thorn is permanently attached to the players wrist can be used in a number of different ways. It's primary use is for mobility and can be used to pull the player closer to enemies, to scale the environment and get a height advantage on enemies and to latch onto larger enemies such as the Abductors. When latched onto an Abductors body, the player can use the Thorn to either try drag the Abductor down to the ground which results in the Abductor being stunned while it tries to right itself or the player can leap forward and latch onto the Abductor and start to "sever" part of the Abductor off such as it's weapons or arms, reducing it's power. Additionally the Thorn can be used to pull civilians out of Abductors provided the pod in which they are kept in is broken.
There are three types of Thorn available. Each Thorn acts as mentioned and in addition have the following unique properties.
- Attack - a red Thorn which is the most useful at pulling down enemies. Can be charged to trap enemies and temporarily disable them.
- Support - a grey Thorn which is designed to assist allies and the player. Can be charged to create shields and cover for the player and their allies.
- Healing - a green Thorn which is design to heal allies and the player. Can be charged to create a healing area of effect.
While in combat the player is accompanied by their Accessory. During some campaign missions the player is also accompanied by a squad of other prisoners. The player is provided with some amount of control over both the Accessory and squad and can different commands to both. During more difficult combat encounters it is important that the player can control the squad and Accessory effectively. The Accessory and squad members can also revive fallen players. A player is knocked out when their HP reaches 0 and they are provided with a limited amount of times they can be knocked out. If this limit is exceeded combat ends and the mission is a failure.
The city hub is the players Panopticon and is explorable between missions and serves to expand on the games story. Players can talk to other citizens and sinners as well as visit some key locations within the Panopticon. The Panopticon only becomes accessible once the player has reached a specific CODE rank and only when they purchase the entitlement to access it.
While in the Panopticon players who achieve the right CODE level gain access to manufacturing facilities and can produce and modify weapons, munitions and first aid kits. Rescued citizens can be put to work in the facilities to improve their functionality. They can also find traders to buy weapons and items off in exchange for entitlement points which acts as a sort of currency in the game.
8-player co-op and competitive modes will be supported over wifi and adhoc. Multiplayer modes include co-op combat missions and invasions of other Panopticons around the world. Invading a Panopticon results in stealing items from them and lowering their GPP.
Early press releases suggest the game uses the Vita's GPS and Near features. Yahoo Maps have been spotted in early teaser trailers.