Intruder doesn’t really strike me as well-known despite the warm reception it has gotten from developers. It’s not often you ever see it mentioned or cropping up on twitter, which is a shame considering how forward thinking it is from a design perspective.
We’re a big fan of Immersive Sims at Rebind (I can’t think of many critical analysis sites for games that aren’t) but the genre is very under-represented in the multiplayer department. Because of this, it’s easy to think of Intruder as a Counter-Strike or SWAT variant.
SuperBoss has put in a lot fore-thought into the balance of their game through unconventional gadgets and mechanics like security cameras, mirrors, and the ability to be knocked off balance. If anything, the game has a lineage more in line with early rainbow six entries’ emphasis on finite tactical considerations, or games like Due Process and Project Reality spin-off SQUAD.
Intruder offers an experience rooted in thinking ahead and using every available tactic at your disposal for when the plan goes wrong. A lot of more popular these titles go out of their way to limit player choice and agency with tightly tuned gameplay loops, but Intruder goes in the opposite direction.
You may wind up with a high end match getting thrown because a player slipped off a ledge, an opponent capturing reconnaissance photos of your team’s movements, or speaking too loudly about your plans in a corridor. But that’s the beauty of games like this, emergent consequences in complex systems is what brings memorable life into already tense matches. And, of course, with chaos comes hilarious mishaps that are well-documented in youtube comedy compilations.
Niche multiplayer games in an oft-perceived to be saturated indie market face unique challenges both from an engine perspective and from the difficulties in maintaining an active, dedicated player base needed for audience retention. However, expanding the library of niche alternative shooter titles with greater depth grants the opportunity to forge a larger community that cross-pollinates and ensures long term sustainability.
I have seen a lot of these clever titles like Intruder, Shattered Horizon and Interstellar Marines often lost in the noise that have to rely on community events to get players in-game. This is a problem that creates a high barrier to entry to those curious enough to try but not dedicated enough to buy, often solved with free to play weekends or aforementioned community events. If niche games with tactical gameplay connect their communities better, I don’t see why they can’t attain a higher level of market penetration.
Something that makes games beautiful is that not everything has to be an E-Sport, many famous titles like UnknownWorld‘s Natural Selection and Project Reality have cultivated enormous, dedicated followings over the past decade. These players often put in as much time and effort as any flavor-of-the-month Twitch favorite, and do so without the fanfare and celebration that goes along with popular streamer games.
These games show you that if you have varied, insightful gameplay ideas that are well presented and crafted with care, people still value them. I hope you’ll take the time to give Intruder a deeper look and perhaps give it a try the next time there’s a community gathering.
Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for rebind.io and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice