Deathloop: everything we know about Arkane’s time loop assassin sandbox Deathloop – Colt

Deathloop, the next game from Arkane, the studio behind Dishonored and Prey, is a stealth-FPS set in the 1960s. Deathloop has a lot in common with Dishonored, and immersive sims in general, but it's also a timeloop playground.

Colt, your soldier-turned-assassin protagonist, has to run, shoot, and stab his way repeatedly through the same never-ending day on an island stuck outside time. The only way to end the loop the Isle of Blackreef is stuck in is for Colt to kill his eight targets there. If Colt dies or hits midnight without accomplishing his goal you'll be back on the street trying to take them down again. As you get to know Blackreef and its eight elusive 'visionaries' you'll discover new places and relationships between events around the city to help you finally break the loop. 

Deathloop seems like a Hitman-style sandbox puzzle with Dishonored's combat, which is to say, it seems plenty rad.

Here's everything we know so far about Deathloop's story, characters, and trailers.

(Image credit: Arkane)

When is Deathloop’s release date?

Deathloop will launch on  September 14, 2021, for PC via Steam and the Bethesda store, and also PS5. 

It was originally planned for 2020 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. “This extra time will allow our team to bring Deathloop’s world to life with as much character and fun as you’ve come to expect from our team,” Arkane said. It was then scheduled to launch on May 21, but was delayed a second time to September 2021 for similar reasons.

So Deathloop is about a time loop?

Name clued you in, did it? Yup, Deathloop is about an assassin named Colt stuck in a loop of one single day. Apparently the only way to break out of the loop is to kill eight visionaries, the keepers of the loop. The trick is, Colt has to kill them all in 24 hours or the loop resets. Oh, and dying resets it as well. One last thing: there's a rival assassin who will attempt to kill him while he's attempting to kill the visionaries. No pressure, and all.

Here's some Deathloop gameplay

The most recent Deathloop trailer was a nine-minute gameplay walkthrough from Sony's State of play. It showed Colt assassinating Alexis “The Wolf” Dorsey during a party, and showed the relationship between Colt and his rival Julianna as a mix of antagonism and playful banter, suggesting a history between the two. It also showed three of Colt's powers in action.

The first gameplay reveal for Deathloop showed off the slightly supernatural FPS running and gunning you know Arkane for. Colt has an extensive arsenal, and will need to use everything in it to hunt down his eight targets across the four districts of Blackreef. 

The second gameplay trailer explained a bit more about how Colt can solve the timeloop. Each of the targets has their own schedules and personalities, and some can only be tracked down in certain times or places. Part of the puzzle comes down to learning the island itself.

“You can tackle any area of Blackreef at any time as you pick up clues and learn more about your targets,” Bethesda said. “The districts are open, like what you might remember from Dishonored, but unlike Dishonored they aren’t tied to levels and can be openly explored whenever you want.”

Each district has its own story that plays out during the day, whether you're there watching it or not.  You'll need to learn what parts of that you can influence in order to draw out your targets. 

Deathloop's third gameplay trailer introduced another of the visionaries, Ramblin' Frank. It also showed a quick look at the ability Colt's rival Julianna has to transform into other NPCs. Most importantly though, it featured a very catchy Bond movie theme song. Have a listen.

There's no quicksave

When you die in Deathloop, you go back to the start of the loop. But what if you just hit F9 and reload? That's a no-go, according to game director Dinga Bakaba. Unlike previous Arkane games, Deathloop doesn't have a quicksave option.

“We always say our games are better when you go with the flow, when you roll with your mistakes and improvise solutions to those problems,” Bakaba says. “And then, even though we say that, we all play those games using quick save too. Even though I say that this is the best way to play, every now and then my ego won't take it and I will reload.”

You'll be forced to deal with the consequences of your actions, though one of the powers (see below) will give you a limited opportunity to rewind time when you really goof a situation up.

As for the loop ending when you run out of time, that's based on how many levels you've visited. “You have four districts that are in practice four discrete levels,” Bakaba says, “big Arkane levels. Each of them has four time periods: the morning version, the noon version, the afternoon and the night. Basically, when you choose to enter one of the districts you can take your time, you can do it fast, whatever, but the thing is when you exit the district and come back to the menu, time advances to the next period.”

(Image credit: Bethesda, Arkane)

What abilities can you use?

Arkane explained in an interview with IGN that Deathloop will be borrowing “quite a few” of the supernatural powers you'll remember from the Dishonored games. “As much as we wanted to do something very original with this game, we also wanted some familiarity,” said game director Dinga Bakaba. “I think it’s something that will make players feel right at home.” It'll have new powers as well, however. Here are the ones we've seen Colt use so far.

Karnesis: Lets you throw enemies around like ragdolls, hurling them through windows and off cliffs.

Shift: Also known as 'Definitely-not-Blink'. Teleports you a short distance. Can be used to cross gaps, scale buildings, and get close to enemies quickly.

Reprise: A short rewind that kicks in when you die, taking you back to where you were several seconds ago. Only you—anyone you killed stays dead. You only get to use Reprise twice, however, and any death after that restarts the loop. 

Nexus: Also known as 'Absolutely-not-Domino'. Connects enemies so they can be killed or knocked out simultaneously.

Aether: Turn invisible to enemies and turrets.

Havoc: Stop bullets in the air, then turn them around and fling them back at enemies.

Arkane has said that Deathloop's biggest abilities come from items called “slabs” that many of the Visionaries possess. Grabbing the slabs for yourself will unlock their abilities for Colt to use. Karnesis, for instance, can be snagged from Alexis “The Wolf” Dorsey.

The visionaries also drop residuum, a resource that can be spent to keep equipment and powers across runs. When you use the Reprise power to rewind death you'll be able to return to where you fell to grab some residuum there as well.

Who are the Visionaries? 

(Image credit: Bethesda, Arkane)

The visionaries are ambitious twentysomethings who run what's called the AEON Program—a project to chase eternal life, free of consequence. They've used themselves as the eight anchors for a time loop to live forever. They also have superpowers granted by trinkets developed by AEON scientists.

Aleksis “The Wolf” Dorsey 

Aleksis is an odd dog, obsessed with wolves. He thinks he's earned the title “Alpha” with his social and business prowess. He wants to be everyone's favorite friend, partner, and partier. You can find Aleksis throwing a big wolf masquerade party every night in the district of Updaam, which can be infiltrated a bit like Lady Boyle's party from Dishonored.

Aleksis has the slab for the karnesis power, and uses it to throw his henchmen and flunkies around.

Egor Serling
“Egor is a self-proclaimed pseudoscientist, and someone who just can’t get no respect,” Bethesda says. “Egor craves a contradictory kind of legitimacy: he wants to be left alone and viewed as a preeminent genius, but he also wants to be adored and invited to parties. And when neither of those things happen… Egor turns violent.” 

Egor has the slab for the aether power, which means he can turn invisible. The founder of the AEON program can be found at his lab, but can also be lured to the party. 

Ramblin' Frank Spicer
Radio DJ Frank Spicer was the subject of Deathloop's February trailer. It looks like he hangs out in a heavily guarded studio that you'll need to find a way into.

(Image credit: Arkane)

Julianna Blake
Julianna is a special case among the visionaries. Unlike the others, who have stories and schedules that play out independent of Colt's interference, Julianna's sole goal is killing you. Juliana can take on the appearance of any NPC, further complicating your attempts to avoid her. And if you've got multiplayer enabled, she can be controlled by another player.

We've also seen the names Harriet Morse, Dr. Wenjie Evans, Charlie Montague, and Fia Zborowska, though Bethesda hasn't said more about them yet.

There's multiplayer? How does that work?

Think Dark Souls, Watch Dogs, or any other game with invasions. Other players can drop into your game, taking on the role of rival assassin Julianna Blake. That's definitely sure to throw a wrench in your plans for the current loop.

You can keep online play turned off, Bethesda says, in which case Julianna is controlled by the AI. Her goal is to hunt Colt down to keep him from breaking the loop, but she also chats to him via radio throughout the game.

(Image credit: Bethesda, Arkane)

What kind of guns does Deathloop have?

As an assassin, Colt obviously has quite an arsenal. We've already deciphered some of his magical abilities, but he carries plenty of good old-fashioned guns and other weapons too. Here are the ones we've seen so far, courtesy of a Game Informer video.

  • Machete: This one just makes sense. It’s sharp and you can backstab people with it.
  • PT-6 Spiker: A precision rifle for stealthy kills from afar
  • Rapier: Nope, not a sword. This is a single-barrel shotgun with some range
  • Strelak 50-50: A machine gun for after you’ve blown your cover
  • Heritage Gun: A rifle that seems to have explosive ammo
  • Limp-10: Looks like an SMG, loud and light.
  • Sepulchra Breteira: A long-range sniper rifle
  • Tribunal: A snazzy-looking pistol
  • Vopat Trencher: Another shotgun
  • The Fourpounder: A pistol with a kick that Colt can dual-wield

In addition to his personal weapons, Colt looks to have some other gadgets too. The same video above also gives a glimpse at some kind of deployable turret, hand grenades, and a remote that can deactivate alarm systems. 

(Image credit: Arkane)

Deathloop's Déjà Vu song is on Spotify now

Here you go. Now you don't need to watch that third trailer over and over again just to hear it.

It's composed and performed by Sencit Music and the artist FJØRA, the tune is a conscious Bond homage as well as the perfect accompaniment to the game's retro-futurist aesthetics. It's honestly just fun to listen to.

What does Microsoft's Bethesda purchase mean for Deathloop?

At the moment, it seems not much at all. Microsoft will be honoring Deathloop's limited-time console exclusivity on PS5. And if MS handles its PS5 games the same way it has with Minecraft for years, you can expect any future DLC and patches to come to the platform the same as Xbox.

This is a win for Game Pass subscribers on PC, as Deathloop will likely launch day one on the service. It'll be a bit awkward having a first-party game come to PC Game Pass and not Xbox, but that's business for ya. Deathloop will also launch on Steam and the Bethesda Store.

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