Hands-On with Gearbox’s Project 1v1 at E3 2018

The Borderlands Dev isn't Giving Up on the Arena Shooter with a Slimmed Down Version of Battleborn

June 18, 2018 by

While many were hoping for Gearbox Studios to show up to E3 2018 with Borderlands 3, the publisher/developer brought another completely different new game to the show for us to go hands-on with.

After the disappointing launch of their last hero-shooter, Battleborn, Gearbox doesn’t seem to want to give up on the arena shooter concept. This time, focusing on strictly 1 vs. 1 battles in small arenas, their new title is interesting to say the least.

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Project 1v1’s Current Windowed Spectator Menu

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The game’s Deck-Building Menu

In Project 1v1, Gearbox is attempting to merge the competitive arena shooter genre with the growing popularity of watching esports. In the Arena Hangout mode, multiple players queue into a room while the game stays in windowed mode on PC. Players who are not going head-to-head in the arena are able to watch the current 1 vs. 1 battle in spectator mode while still chatting and cycling through all of the game’s menu options such as abilities, cosmetics, deck-buying/building, and more.

Other modes are planned to offer more serious instant action while the actual gameplay is what you would expect from an arena shooter that plays very smooth like a game of Deathmatch in Quake or Unreal Tournament – except with unique powerups such as turrets, tracking satellites, and even powerful swords that can be called down and need to be protected for a brief period before being picked up and used to instantly slay foes.

While gameplay was fun, Project 1v1 seems like Gearbox’s attempt to salvage their hard work from Battleborn… and I’m not sure how it can be successful in the current gaming market. The game’s main gimmick is focusing on 1v1 gameplay, a concept that is the opposite of the current demand from gamers who want instant large-scale action — which battle royale games have recently become so successful delivering.

Project 1v1 is still in a very early stage and could change drastically in the future as new modes are added. Right now, the game is currently only planned for PC and still has no release date, or even any actual footage available to be shown online.