As one of the fastest growing publishers on the planet — courtesy of their parent company Embracer Group’s penchant for mass acquisitions — it’s no surprise that Koch Media would have a ton of games to announce for E3 2021. And that’s what the group did in an embargoed global briefing, revealing not only new titles but the creation of a “new premium publishing label”.
A sizzle reel for the new publishing label revealed games like PAYDAY 3, Outward, Scars Above, Dolmen, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, the Scythe inspired RTS Iron Harvest, Mount & Blade: Bannerlord, Encased, Echoes of The End, Gun Rave C.O.R.E., Crossfire Legion, King’s Bounty 2, Codename Final Form and more.
The publishing label’s official name will be Prime Matter, and it will launch with 12 games in total. The first revealed was PAYDAY 3, although only a small snippet of PAYDAY 3 concept art was shown. Starbreeze developers added the game’s release won’t be out until 2023.
Blackbird Interactive, the studio behind Homeworld 3 and Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, then announced they had been contracted to turn the Crossfire shooter series into an RTS game. Crossfire Legion is that title, featuring a full singleplayer campaign and RTS action from a traditional, isometric viewpoint.
The trailer footage showcased a lot of classic RTS elements, a minimalist-title card for actions, supply caps, two types of resources and control groups. It’ll be released in 2022 just for PC, and will come with multiplayer support as well.
1C Entertainment’s King’s Bounty 2 was the next title under the Prime Matter banner. The game, still very much steeped in the same principles that would go on to spawn the Heroes of Might and Magic series (which Australians love still) is launching on August 24 this year. Press were also told that King’s Bounty 2 would be Prime Matter’s biggest AAA launch for Prime Matter in 2021 — which is intriguing since the King’s Bounty series has never traditionally been what you’d consider a AAA game.
The next title showcased was The Last Oricru (due out in 2022), a third-person action-RPG featuring a character called Silver. Silver is one of the few humans roaming the medieval sci-fi planet, where the player will repeatedly make choices that affect whether NPCs live or die, and the situations the players are put in.
Along with a factional system that’s influenced by player decisions, The Last Oricru features stamina-based, Souls-like combat. It’ll also supports split-screen couch co-op, and the developers explained the co-op experience would allow players to uncover different solutions to puzzles and difficult fights. (One example given was against a giant spider: in co-op, one player could bait the spider into a gate, which a second player could activate to effectively cut the spider in half).
Encased, due out this September, was then unveiled as the next Prime Matter title. It’s pitched as a dystopian isometric sci-fi RPG for fans of Divinity: Original Sin. Set in 1976, the game is set in a world where humans have discovered an alien “dome-like structure” that could potentially run on “perfectly harmless nuclear power”, which gives you an idea of Encased’s style of humour.
Made by Dark Crystal Games, Encased was pitched as a single-player game, one that’s likely to be rated R18+ according to the publisher (although the final rating is yet to be determined).
South Korean developers IGGYMOB, the creators of Gungrave G.O.R.E., then revealed some work in progress cinematics from their upcoming title. No gameplay was shown off beyond a short look at the main character, a Dante-esque figure with long black hair with dual pistols. It’s pitched as an anime-inspired action shooter that’s looking at a 2022 launch on PC and consoles.
Canadian studio Brass Token was next in the embargoed presentation, with their inaugural game The Chant being a third-person horror game. It’s set in an island spiritual retreat where soul-sucking, paranormal horrors eventually awaken, with the player crafting supernatural melee and ranged weapons to survive. It’s due for release in Q2 2022, and will launch on PC and consoles.
The next title was Final Form, a hard sci-fi first-person shooter with strong Ghost in the Shell vibes. Only a few seconds of in-engine gameplay was shown, and press were told the game focused on marrying movement and combat. It’ll support up to 3 players in co-op, but there is no scheduled release date. Developers Reikon Games, however, will release the table on PC and console.
A Lovecraftian-esque RPG was the next title in Prime Matter’s slate, courtesy of Massive Work Studio’s Dolmen. A Brazilian-based developer, Massive Work Studio has been working on Dolmen since late 2016.
Press then saw fotoage of what looked like sci-fi third-person combat, with players able to unlock perks for different weapons and skill up in the combat build of their choice. The art style — at least from the small amount shown — had a mix of sci-fi and dark horror that’s a little reminiscent of Returnal, although the presentation was nowhere near as dark. For those playing as sword and board characters, there’s a perfect parry system. Ranged weapons can also be charged up for more damage.
It’s targeting a 2022 release on PC and consoles, with support for both singleplayer and multiplayer, although no details were provided on how the multiplayer functionality would work.
Icelandic developer Myrkur Games then introduced Echoes of the End. Featuring a scholar and an assassin, the first in-engine gameplay showed the two characters engaging in some personal philosophy before a giant golem awakes. No combat was shown off, although the studio confirmed it would be built on Unreal Engine 5. No release date is available for Echoes of the End yet.
Scars Above then launched straight into gameplay, showcasing what looked like a scientist running through a ship — before immediately ending up on the surface of an alien planet. It’s mechanically a third-person shooter, with creatures dropping what appeared to be crafting materials after they fell. The environments have a dark sci-fi feel to them, and there seems to be a large focus on environmental exploration with combat in between, rather than being a combat-first title.
In one segment, the main character Kate analysed an alien-like creature, which transitioned into an X-ray type view of the alien’s neural pathways. It was a short puzzling segment where the player scanned different parts of the alien’s organs to uncover more information.
Different weapons can apply different status effects, like burning or being frozen, and a mini-boss fight against a creature called The Alpha showed a style of combat a little like Remnant: From the Ashes. You have melee attacks and a stamina bar, but the focus here seems to be more on ranged attacks. It’s due out in 2022 from Mad Head Studio, and it’ll be pitched as a singleplayer game only for PC and consoles.
The last game of Prime Matter’s slate was the return of the Painkiller franchise, although the publisher was only able to show off a single piece of key art. The publisher did reveal updates for other, already released games though: Kingdom Come: Deliverance would be getting a Switch port, Iron Harvest coming to consoles, DLC for Wasteland 3, and console releases for Phoenix Point and Mount & Blade 2.