How Valve’s Deadlock Could Overcome the Somewhat Tepid Reaction to the New Game’s Leaks

How Valve’s Deadlock Could Overcome the Somewhat Tepid Reaction to the New Game’s Leaks

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Games, Published On
July 5, 2024

Valve is one of the biggest names in the gaming industry. Not only do they power a near-monopoly in the PC game launcher space with Steam, but they’re also behind a whole host of beloved and ongoing games. Counter-Strike, Half-Life, DOTA, Portal, and Left 4 Dead were all forged in the Valve studio. So, when leaks broke and were all but confirmed to be true, it was a surprise to see a somewhat tepid response.

Major and minor gaming outlets were quick to essentially shrug their shoulders at the news. One of the most prominent reports like this criticized the genre, art style, and use of ziplines like those in BioShock Infinite. Others wonder why the juggernaut behind Steam and Counter-Strike needs another multiplayer, microtransaction-powered entry when they can make such good single-player games.

What kind of game will Deadlock be?

Deadlock’s going to be a third-person shooter with MOBA lanes and 6v6 combat. While the details are yet to be made official by Valve in a public statement, it’s also set to be a free-to-start multiplayer outing that’ll likely try to break into the eSports space as well. So, that means plenty of microtransactions, cosmetics, and battle passes to buy during its run.

The premise of the game makes sense. Leaks suggest that it’s a combination of Overwatch, Valorant, and DOTA, which are all wildly successful multiplayer games in their own right. Hero shooters are prominent right now, but it’d seemingly take a special effort for a new entry to rise to the prominence of a game like Overwatch. Perhaps that additional selling point will be the MOBA-like four lanes running through the huge map.

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While comparing the zipline traversal of the maps to BioShock Infinite is rarely intended to be a complement, the setting being similar does offer Deadlock a way of standing out. It seems to draw from Half-Life and DOTA in its design, making it a kind of fantasy-style, modern steampunk setting. Already, it’s said that the alpha stage version of the game features 19 distinct heroes with different abilities and play styles. Valorant launched with eight.

Winning over the multiplayer masses

Steam has become a hub for free-to-start multiplayer games – particularly those that become major eSports. The key, as they’ve found in games like Counter-Strike and DOTA, is to offer regular engaging events alongside desirable additional items for purchase. Gun skins, character cosmetics, and battle passes have all proven to be big money-makers for the company that generated $10 billion in revenue from the Steam Store alone in 2022.

Deadlock still needs to enhance the experience currently offered by similar multiplayer games. This could be done by following a similar field of online casino bonuses. The casino welcome bonus offers significant extras to new players to help them get extra playing time on the platform. Many free-to-start games do something similar. After that, Random Cash Drops and Daily Tournaments guarantee prizes to active players.

This is something that Valve could draw from in Deadlock. Rather than just rewards after purchasing a battle pass or offering a microtransaction store, virtual goods could be dropped at random. Shorter-form tournaments could let more casual players win good prizes, and random loot box drops would certainly please any player who happens to be online at that time.

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Deadlock enters a crowded field of proven titles, but by being innovative with the features surrounding the core game, Valve could have another hit on its hands.

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