The director of Escape from Tarkov says that their new arena-shooter spin-off is a "mediocre" game purely designed to draw more players into the franchise.
Speaking to GamesRadar+ at Gamescom, Nikita Buyanov, head of studio and game director at Escape from Tarkov developer Battlestate Games, was asked what drew the studio to depart from its traditional extraction shooter formula. In response, Buyanov said that "the idea is simple actually: to have as many players as possible."
"Escape from Tarkov is a really interesting game, and we always wanted to get more players to it," Buyanov explains. The idea, however, doesn't seem to be to pour the same kind of intricate detail into Arena, a PvPvE spin-off set in the Tarkov world. Instead, Buyanov says that "we decided to make something mediocre in-between, some mid-core game that increases attention, and will lead to more players playing, and being familiarized with Escape from Tarkov."
More broadly, Buyanov explains that the idea is "to have something a little bit simpler in terms of matches, but still complex in terms of gameplay features and mechanics." At the core of the studio's ethos, he says, "we're creating the games for ourselves. That was the story about EFT, and that was the story about Arena. We just want to create something that will be playable by us first, and this is it."
Tarkov has become a runaway hit, and arguably helped kickstart the growing extraction shooter trend. Arena pushes away from that, purporting to offer the same complexity of Tarkov itself, but with the matchmaking simplicity of more casual shooters. Whether that catches on with the community - let alone helps new casual players into this infamously complex shooter - remains to be seen, but we'll find out after Arena arrives in 2024.