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ELEX Gamescom First Look

by Joost "Myrthos" Mans, 2015-08-17

The idea for ELEX has been in the back of the minds of the Piranha Bytes developers for the last 8 years. Previously they could not find a publisher willing to support a game with such a different concept, they wanted another Gothic or Risen, but now they were finally given the opportunity to create ELEX.
The game has been in development for 1.5 years and there is still another 1.5 years of development to go, so they are halfway now.

ELEX is an open world action-RPG, set in a post-apocalyptic science-fantasy world. The setting was one of the biggest challenges in getting things to work. They didn't want to just take parts of all types of different games and put them in a blender, but make a unique world that is believable. They thinkl they have succeeded in that.

The story behind ELEX is that it takes place on a planet similar to Earth. At some point in time a big meteor crashed into de planet, wiping out most of its civilization with only a few groups surviving. With this meteor a new substance came to the planet, called Elex.
This substance integrated with everything on the planet, flora and fauna, and it mutated things as well, but can also be used to create powerful weapons and tools.
Furthermore it can be consumed as a drug, which will give the consumer very magical powers, but will also degenerate them in the process, making them lose all of their human feelings and emotions and leaving them without any empathy for others.
The biggest part of the game will be about choosing between using Elex and gaining absolute power while becoming dehumanized or not using it and keeping your humanity.

The game takes place about 100 years after the meteorite struck the planet and there are only a few groups left that have grown from the survivors that were left after the impact.
The Albs in the game, use and consume Elex and have become very powerful because of that, but have become soulless machines, oppressing all the other groups by using their powers very ruthlessly. The player starts out as one of them.
The Beserks, use Elex but don't consume it. They want to get back in touch with nature to live the live they previously lived and want to reverse the effects Elex has on humans.
The Clerics are religious fanatics and consider everything related to Elex as evil.
The Outlaws are a Mad Max type of faction in the desert, who are anarchists that just want to blow up everything.

As your character, you are an Alb and have been raised with Elex. You have already a history behind you of having killed hundreds of people. But during one of the battles you are shot down and remain lying on the ground for 5 days, while Elex is slowly leaving your body, you get back in touch with your humanity for the first time. It is up to you to decide if you want to get back with the Albs or join a faction that better matches your world view. Although your character has a background already, you can redefine him like you see fit.

ELEX has one big game world, without any loading screens. What you can see on the horizon you can visit. Also entering houses and such will not result in a loading screen.
There is a weather system, with sun and clouds and also a day-night cycle where every NPC has a daily routine and a purpose in the game world. Everything in the world is handmade and is not automatically generated.
The game has different environments, where each of the factions live. There are forests (Beserks), deserts (Outlaws), volcanic mountains (Clerics) and the icy mountains (Albs).

You have complete freedom to go anywhere you want and do quests in any order, but your opponents might be too strong for you where you are going, so you might have to decide to come back at a later time when you have trained your character more and improved your equipment.
A new way of transportation is by using a jet-pack. With these jet-packs you can go to any point in the game, in any direction, by flying there. You can go on rooftops and mountains. Whether it makes sense to do that is another point, but you have the possibility to do so.

The game has a very large interconnected quest system, which means that solving a quest in one way, will have consequences to other quests and events in the game, that are different depending on how the quest was solved. Choices you make are classified as being either empathic or cold and your choices determine where you will end up between those two opposites, with NPCs reacting to you in a certain way depending on where you stand.
If you want, you can kill almost all NPCs in the game, which isn't very empathic, but like many other decisions you make, will change the story if you do.
All those different choices will lead to different endings of the game. The claim is that with every play-through the experience will be different (when you make different choices obviously) and one play-through is estimated to be 70 hours of game play.

About halfway the game you need to decide for a faction. Before you reach that point you can learn about each of the factions and see which ones suit you best. Once you have chosen your faction, you cannot switch to another faction anymore, so you better be sure. And, as with their previous games, when you make a choice for a faction, you get the quests from that faction and the quests of the other factions are lost to you.

The game will have companions who can yoin you and who will originate from different factions. When they join your party they will talk to each other about their different views. These companions will have their own AI, you don't control them. It is not decided yet how many companions you can have.

Not much was said about combat, but there is sword combat with different fighting styles and ranged combat with plasma weapons, laser rifles, bows and crossbows. They want each weapon to feel different and also control differently. You will have to master your weapon of choice in order to use it well.

The game will have stats, skills and perks. You get learning points and there are teachers scattered throughout the world. They do not want players to spend a lot of time on screens and do +1 here and +1 there to scale your character. That can be done in the world by going to teachers and learn from them a new skill.
The game will also have the possibiility to craft your weapons and armor and combine them with Elex. However it doesn't look like you will need to repair your weapons.
There is no magic in the game as we are used to in their previous games. The magic in Elex is through the Elex substance, which creates a completely different magic system than we are used to.

The engine that is used to accomplish this is their own engine, that has been used for many years in their previous games and which is updated for Elex.

ELEX is developed for PC, PS4 and Xbox One in parallel. The console versions are not outsourced to external companies as was done before, so they state that these console versions should be in a much better state than the ports of their previous games. They want the controls to feel like the game was made for that platform, so the controls are different on a PC compared to the console controls. In itself this is good news, but there will always be console-haters who will be distrustful of such an approach and don't play the game because of that. If Piranha Bytes can pull this off, that will be their loss.

Box Art

Information about


Developer: Piranha Bytes

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Post-Apoc
Genre: Action-RPG
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: Over 60 hours
Voice-acting: Unknown

Regions & platforms
· Platform: Xbox One
· Released: 2017-10-17
· Publisher: THQ Nordic

· Platform: PS4
· Released: 2017-10-17
· Publisher: THQ Nordic

· Platform: PS4
· Released: 2017-10-17
· Publisher: THQ Nordic

More information

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