Diabotical is an uncertainty for me. Anyone who knows me can tell you I absolutely adore the competitiveness of arena shooters. I am ready for Unreal Tournament to come into a public beta so more people can be exposed and get hooked, and I have hopes for Quake Champions if the trailer is anything to go by.
Diabotical aims to be an eSports level arena FPS, developed by The GD Studio. The Kickstarter states that the game is being “developed by former Quake and eSports professionals”, which is cool and means they are going in knowing exactly what their goals are.
Yet I am always nervous when someone develops a game with the assumption it will be a competitive sport. Many games have tried that, but unless you have the players already hooked on the game, there’s no audience. This isn’t me saying it’s impossible, just that past cases make it look like a challenge.
In addition, arena shooters have already been struggling in the past few years; with Quake Live changing a lot and other efforts like TOXIKK just not managing to retain any players, it’s obviously a challenge to be successful in this niche. Hell, Warsaw is a great and completely free arena shooter, but it just can’t seem to break out and get popular.
So with that said, I obviously have my doubts about Diabotical and their goals with it, but I am kickstarting it mainly to see how they approach making it sport-worthy, rather than hoping it is (Though I do). Balance and gameplay are only a small part of what makes a game viable. The game is being built to make getting into the scene easier, with an automated tournament system inside the game itself. However, what about the other side of the equation? A major part of games as sports, is the audience. I want to see how they go about making the game watchable for spectators. Will there be a unique way to watch matches, or a replay system? I assume there will be special broadcasting tools in game, but all this together is what will make or break the game. Will people want to watch it?
Hopefully, yes. But we’ll see as the game won’t be out for another 10 months, and there will be much more information to be teased over the coming year.