9 Things We Just Learned About PlayStation's Polarizing Sci-Fi Shooter Concord

Image: Firewalk Studios / Sony
Image: Firewalk Studios / Sony

Concord is Sony’s next big PlayStation bet on live service gaming and the sci-fi shooter is just a couple months away. A recent batch of previews finally gave us a better idea of what to expect, and the reactions so far are as mixed as fans’ were after seeing the initial gameplay at last month’s PlayStation 5 showcase.

With its “we already have Guardians of the Galaxy at home” cinematic trailer and 5v5 hero shooter structure, it’s easy to pigeonhole Concord as just another Overwatch clone hoping to capitalize on the disappointment around that game’s lackluster sequel. But Firewalk Studios’ first-person arena shooter sounds like it’s actually trying to combine elements from games as different as Destiny 2 and Valorant.

Gif: Firewalk Studios / Kotaku
Gif: Firewalk Studios / Kotaku

PC Gamer had fun with a preview build of the game but found its characters kind of meh. VGC summarized the gunplay as “Destiny shooting, with slightly slower movement, and around double the time-to-kill of Call of Duty.” IGN found the movement floaty and had concerns about the balance and readability of its classes. Game Informer, meanwhile, made it sound like the game presented a lot better in-person than in its recent trailers.

Whether that pastiche can congeal into something fun, much less durable over the lifespan of a modern game-as-a-service, is a question we won’t know the answer to until well after Concord’s August 26 release date on PS5 and PC. For now, here’s a bunch of new details about how the shooter works and what might set it apart from a crowded field:

12 maps are available at launch

The different combat arenas show off different parts of Concord’s sci-fi world and include the fortified outpost Freewater, the stormy fishing rig called Water Hazard, the lightning harvesting facility Shock Risk, and the mountainous observatory Star Chamber. The PlayStation Blog also states that players will get to test a map called Bone Mines in July.

And Six modes, including some without respawns

Previewers got to play three of these modes, one of which was similar to Call of Duty’s Kill Confirmed deathmatch mode in which players have to retrieve tokens from their opponents’ corpses. While that mode included respawns, others didn’t, with rounds ending if a team was wiped out. According to the PlayStation Blog, that includes Cargo Run, where players compete over a package, and Clash Point where they fight over control for a specific area.

I hope you like double (and triple) jumps

Each of the 16 Freegunners (heroes) will have a unique kit of stats and abilities, and there are even light deck-building mechanics for customizing your bench of heroes before each match. One thing most of the Freegunners have are double jumps. According to PC Gamer, some even have triple jumps. They also have dodges that momentarily pull the camera out into a third-person view.

There are no ultimates or supers

Unlike Overwatch and Valorant, PC Gamer reports there are no ultimates in Concord (or supers if you’re Destiny-pilled like me). Each Freegunner has two unique abilities, like the giant robot 1-Off that can suck up trash, as well as one passive. But there’s no meter charging up over the course of the match to let you wreck havoc on the opposing team.

Players can deploy structures to help them that stick around

What Concord does have, according to Game Informer and Screen Rant, are abilities that deploy equipment that lasts between rounds unless it’s destroyed by your enemies. This light build mechanic where players can try to control certain areas of the map with persistent shields, healing pads, and other advantageous structures is definitely something that could add a novel layer of tactics to arena fights.

What makes Concord unique?

To the degree that Sony’s hero shooter has a standout gimmick, it seems to be the way character switching works during matches. PC Gamer reports that players expand their roster by “rescuing” different characters, and can only take six of them into any given battle. However, when they swap between them during rounds or respawns, they get to add the previous dead character’s class bonus to their current one, providing over 100 different combinations of bonuses to play with at any given time.

Post-launch updates will be free

Firewalk Studios has already talked about how it plans to release a new cinematic teaser for its in-game characters and universe every week. Now the studio has also confirmed that future content updates will be free. Here’s the exact language from the PlayStation Blog: “experience just some of the content that will be available when the game launches on August 23 and will grow over time through post-launch updates at no additional cost.”

Microtransactions will only be cosmetic

Priced at $40 just like Helldivers 2, Concord is somewhere between the current freemium model of Overwatch 2 and the old full-priced loot box mode of the original Overwatch. Firewalk Studios assured VGC that the only paid microtransactions in the game will be cosmetic. “There are purely cosmetic pieces that you can choose to further customize the look of your character, that you can choose to purchase,” the studio told VGC. “Those do not affect gameplay. We believe so strongly that the full experience should be available to all of our players.” It sounds like new maps, characters, and modes will be free and available to everyone who owns the game.

Beta Early Access weekends are in July

Players will be able to try Concord for themselves next month. The closed Early Access beta takes place on July 12 – 14 and requires pre-ordering the game to get into (one pre-order gets you five keys so only one person in your friend group needs to take the hit). The Open Beta that’s free to everyone takes place on July 18 – 21. During these betas, which are basically just demos, players will have access to all 16 Freegunners, four maps, and three modes. There’s also a $60 “deluxe” version of the game that gives players early access to the full game three days before launch on August 20.

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