Platinum Games is well known for going off the beaten path, and they’re continuing the trend with Anarchy Reigns. If Bayonetta and Powerstones got together one drunken night, this might be the result nine months later; a multiplayer brawler with fast paced over-the-top action. Platinum is packing in numerous modes, objects, and items that are destructible in the arena.
But even though at first glance the game seems focused entirely on multiplayer chaos, behind closed doors Producer Atsushi Inaba and designer Hirono Sato showed off that Anarchy Reigns was more than just a mindless button masher with a glimpse into a surprisingly robust campaign.
The dual-perspective single-player campaign is based on two rivalries, a black and white side. Players choose either Jack Cayman (Black Side), the hero from Madworld, or Leo (White Side), an archrival wearing a motorcycle jacket over a striped, neon suit with laser-scythes at the extremities. The campaign tells the story of how the two characters meet and each separate play-through gives you insight into the full story. “You really have to play the story from both sides to understand what is happening in the story,” said Inaba.
The demo focuses on Jack’s campaign, which comes with a full complement of warriors: Baron, a man that looks like a 70’s pimp with brass knuckles instead of a cane, and Mathilda, a pink haired vixen in a body-stocking with spikes at the nipples. The team runs into a ninja named Zero, a short cut-scene establishes the conflict and Jack rips his chainsaw into the introductory opponent while Mathilda and Baron—under AI control—fight some of Zero’s hench men. While the controls are simple and straightforward, the game isn’t all about mashing buttons; each character has unique abilities to take advantage of enemy weaknesses. As expected in a game where chainsaws are liberally used, all this action is vicious, fast and visceral.
The developers also showed a bit of the game from the white side of Leo’s perspective. A cut-scene explains the antagonism between Jack and Leo. They talk about why Leo killed Maximillion, an ally of Jack Cayman. In a move that should surprise no one familiar with Platinum games, the dialog does not go well. The player is then given control for more explosive violence. The developers have stated that each side of the campaign provides roughly about five hours, totaling ten hours of approximate play time.
The developers were also quick to point out that even though the campaign uses characters from Madworld, Anarchy Reigns is not actually a canon addition to the Madworld story. According to Inaba, Jack’s character inspired the elements for the Anarchy Reigns world. “We wanted to use Jack for this game because we thought his personality and character matches very well with our concept. We wanted to create a world where Jack could exist without breaking a balance,” said Inaba. The characters each have their own special powers which kind of makes them “superhuman” in their own way.
So far they’ve announced a roster of 8 characters with more in the pipeline. Each character has their own weapons hidden on their body along with their own unique kill moves. Players get all their moves from the outset of the game so there’s no unlocking of new moves tied to campaign progression. You can go through the story unlocking mission after mission to attain new characters, which are also unlockable through taking part in the multiplayer online experience. Neither Inaba nor Sato would comment on the rumor-mongering of Bayonetta making her way into the roster.
Anarchy Reigns is slated for release on January 2012 for both the PS3 and 360.