Battle Shapers

Montreal indie studio with Ubisoft design background presents Battle Shapers

“Montreal is full of so many talented game developers. Choosing the right blend of junior talent and veterans of the industry in order to make our company thrive has been a really rewarding challenge with great payoff.”

Get ready for a super slick, vibrant and stylish FPS roguelite that asks you to blast your way through trap-ridden levels in a quest to liberate your city of New Elysium from obnoxious Overlords. In Battle Shapers, you play as Ada, a laser-rifle-wielding android.

With a hint of anime to its visual style, this fast-paced shoot-em-up has been in development for three years and is a must-play for fans of titles like Doom Eternal, Overwatch, Hades and Mega Man X.

Battle Shapers is the first title from Metric Empire, an independent development studio located in Mile End. Co-founded by Nicholas Routhier and Pier-Luc Papineau, two seasoned design directors whose combined AAA history includes work on Ubisoft franchises like Prince of Persia, Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry.

AAA vs. Indie

We asked Nicholas Routhier if being a Montreal-based studio had an influence on Battle Shapers at all. “Funnily enough, being in Montreal doesn’t really affect what we do, but it does affect how we do it. Montreal is full of so many talented game developers, choosing the right blend of both junior talent and veterans of the industry in order to make our company thrive has been a really rewarding challenge with great payoff.”

But bringing AAA experience doesn’t solve every problem. “I think it makes it easier, but it’s definitely a double-edged sword!” Routhier explains. The knowledge gained from working on big teams at AAA studios doesn’t always translate to an indie configuration. “You tend to become super specialized in a specific craft, and you’ll get a lot of opportunities to observe and learn from people who’ve spent a lot of time in their field.”

And this might not prepare everyone for the roller coaster of founding a studio. “If you’re a veteran who wants to start a studio, get as much information about business, management, marketing and finance before starting your own. Making the game is only a portion of the work that goes into the process.

“However, (at an) indie, you may end up doing a lot of things, some really outside your comfort zone. For me, this was hard to wrap my head around.”

Routhier underlines the value of working on bigger, less risky teams that ship one or two titles before becoming a founder. “It might mean pushing back your dream project by a few years, but the knowledge and connections you’ll make on the way will save you in the long run.”

Making Battle Shapers

In Battle Shapers, while you’re able to level your character up to your liking, you can only play as Ada. While this might not appeal to the type of player that likes to spend hours on customizations, it does allow for a deeper connection with the character and game.

“The relationships between Ada and the different Overlords/bosses she faces are incredibly playful and funny! The way their relationships evolve throughout the game is definitely cool.”

The game is also designed with replayability in mind, with a massive combination of power ups, traps and special talents to discover and deploy, making each playthrough more enjoyable than the last. Plus, Battle Shapers has a blazing, adrenaline-pumping rock soundtrack that will have you diving fist-pumpingly head-first into the action.

Battle Shapers will receive updated content throughout the rest of 2023. Entering Early Access this month, the devs at Metric Empire want to see what the community is drawn to, and what they like about playing the game. A full launch is scheduled for 2024. ■

Montreal indie studio with Ubisoft design background present Battle Shapers

Battle Shapers is available to play in Early Access on Steam.

This article was originally published in the October issue of Cult MTL.

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