Kyle E. Miller
E3 2015: The Technomancer Preview
These mutants won't be joining the X-Men.
06.17.15 - 8:35 PM

I appreciate Spiders' reluctance to join current gaming trends like multiplayer, social elements, figures, and virtual/augmented reality. They continue to make single-player action RPGs as they've been doing for years. The Technomancer is their fifth such RPG and a spiritual successor to Mars: War Logs. If you've enjoyed Spiders' games in the past, you'll likely enjoy The Technomancer; from what we saw at this year's E3, it includes everything we've come to expect from the developer.

The Technomancer takes place on Mars, a world on which water is scarce and two corporations are vying for control of the supply. The technomancers are a group of genetically-modified individuals with power over electricity. Unfortunately, their tinkered genetics also make them mutants, who are, on Mars at least, considered less than human — often slaves when they're not executed outright.

We saw a live, pre-alpha demo in which the hero is taking the final step toward becoming a full fledged technomancer. The prologue level is spacious and open, although I'm unsure how much there the player can actually explore. There are vantage points that show the player a large view of the area so that (the developers hope) players can plan out how they'll take on each enemy encounter. In the demo, the protagonist mounted the edge of a cliff and looked down on various thugs below.

There are multiple ways to take on each enemy, catering to different play styles and character builds. Stealth is a viable option, for example, as is talking your way out of it. Of course you can simply fight your way to each quest goal as well, and the options extend to combat. There are three ways to fight, called stances. You can use a staff (area attacks), a knife and pistol (stab and retreat and shoot), and a mace and shield (tank). There are skill trees for each stance as well, plus one for technomancer abilities.

The Technomancer includes everything you've come to expect since BioWare revolutionized the modern action RPG: companions, factions, crafting, and non-linear questing. Reputation with companions and factions affects future quests. Certain game areas are only available with certain companions, for example, and completing quests for one faction can anger another.

Spiders is taking fan feedback into consideration when crafting The Technomancer. We didn't see much: a brief foray through the prologue area, an early plot twist, and a monstrous boss (inspired by the giant ones from Bound by Flame), but that was enough to ensure us that The Technomancer will look and feel like a Spiders game. What more could fans ask?