It’s been a big week for Deathloop. The game has finally landed on its home platform at Xbox, it has arrived on Game Pass as well as PlayStation’s rival service, and the team has just released Goldenloop, the most substantial update we’ve seen yet for the game.
For a game about coming to terms with the nonlinear slog that is time loops, there’s no time like the present for Deathloop.
Of course, it’s a game I’ve played before. Deathloop was one of my favourite games of last year, it added so many rad ideas to what a first-person shooter can be. Within the team, it was divisive but I’d argue it pushed the genre forward in creative ways that felt very Arkane at the time. Goldenloop doubles down on the principles of the base game, adding even more exciting abilities, trinkets, and guns to play with.
For Xbox players, it’s a veritable banquet of content as Goldenloop is, for the team, a footnote on a year of content drops that have included a photo mode and a host of terrific inclusivity features. It’s all been a work in progress for Arkane who picked development up on Goldenloop, alongside the other updates, just two months after the game’s launch last September.
When it comes to handling the potential new audience of millions the update and the game’s addition to subscription platforms could bring, the developer was simply eager to hop into the game with blooded, new players.
“We can’t wait to play with all of the new players and the new blood, it’s something we do as a studio,” explained Jonathan Foudral, senior producer on Deathloop.
“I played a solid thirty-to-forty hours, and that’s on top of all of the hours I played during the years to test out stuff.”
As for the Goldenloop update, it’s set to deliver a bunch of cool stuff that’ll not only please a returning audience but fill out the experience for first-timers.
One thing I’m particularly eager for is the game’s new extended ending. The original climax felt rather open-ended and abrupt all at once, so for Arkane to attempt to remedy that side of the feedback and provide a more satisfying ending for Colt is special.
“Exactly what you said, we had a lot of feedback, and people felt it was a bit abrupt. So we decided to extend it,” said Francesco Venco, Deathloop’s senior gameplay programmer.
“It’s the same ending, just a bit more is all.”
In terms of things set to enhance the gameplay loop of Deathloop, Arkane has included a new enemy variant, weapon, Slab, and double-trinkets to the update.
The new Eternalist enemy variant, the Paint-Bomber, will have players rethinking each and every encounter. Their aim is to shut down the player’s space, and close in on them as a suicide bomber would, though obviously the role of “suicide bomber” in Blackreef isn’t exactly high-stakes.
The HALPS Prototype weapon is apparently one of the most powerful guns in the game. It doesn’t utilise traditional ammo drops, it instead draws from the same energy reserves found around Blackreef to recharge depleted batteries. The ability to bank shots off of security equipment providing overwatch for Blackreef’s streets adds a chaotic layer to an already unexpected wealth of power.
Deathloop’s Slabs, created in-universe by Wenjie Evans and dished out to each of the island’s Visionaries, are a gateway for the player to immeasurably cool powers and abilities. Fugue, which was newly released with the Goldenloop patch, isn’t the most bombastic of the lot, though I expect it would have a few particular applications. Its primary function is to render an Eternalist groggy and disoriented, almost as if they’re drunk.
Pretty tame in isolation, but it’s through the Slab’s upgrades that it’ll truly shine. Discord causes a target to grow hostile against his or her allies, while Syncopation chains Fugue’s effects upon death. So I’d wager this would be a wonderful way to clear the dance floor at Aleksis’soirée.
“Exactly,” Foudral says gleefully.
“It’s probably one of the best places to use it and it’ll suit both playstyles of stealth and front-on attack. It’s pretty chaotic how it can spread. There are probably some places that even we haven’t found where it’s fun to use, so hopefully, players come up with some good stuff.”
The last significant thing on offer from the Goldenloop update is the introduction of double-trinkets, which is exactly what it sounds like. It takes the idea of trinkets from the base game and bundles their imbued power together, effectively allowing Colt to take even more trinkets into the field. The developer, who themselves conceded they grew set in their ways as far as trinkets go, hopes this change might promote creativity and experimentation in players.
“I’m looking forward to replaying the game to try some things because while I played Deathloop I didn’t change up the trinkets like I did the weapons and Slabs. Some were too good, at the time, to give up,” explains Venco.
“So I think with the double-trinkets I’m going to experiment much more myself because you can get a lot more bang for the same number of spots and it perhaps helps lift up some of these more niche trinkets.”
As someone who’s endured the vicissitudes of Blackreef’s anomaly once before, I’m excited to hop in post-Goldenloop and experience it all over again. And with the changes Arkane has made over the last year alone, including the aforementioned photo mode, now’s the time.