The hottest thing in theaters right now is Pitch Perfect 2.
But the SECOND hottest thing in theaters right now, and the movie that everyone and their dog seems to be talking about, is Mad Max: Fury Road.
As I am the sort of person who likes being entertained in theaters, I saw Fury Road last weekend. Walking out, one of the several adrenaline-fueled, artistically-invigorated thoughts on my mind was a peaking anticipation for this year's Mad Max game.
Let me attempt to illustrate why it should be on the radar of every gaming Fury Road fan.
What Is It?
Two years ago, Sony revealed a new open-world game set in the Mad Max universe. The developers at Avalanche Studios have been working closely with mastermind George Miller to craft this standalone entry in the franchise's canon.
Players will step into the shoes of Max Rockatansky, a gruff man who is determined to replace his much-loved and definitely-stolen car. The gameplay revolves around traversing the Wasteland, where Max likes to spend his free time searching for car parts and not dying at the hands of marauders or famine.
The third-person perspective gameplay generally resembles Tomb Raider/Uncharted, while combat and driving mechanics appear to have been inspired heavily by the Batman: Arkham and Burnout series, respectively. Let's be clear, these comparisons are complimentary. Unlike most movie tie-in video games, Mad Max looks good....
Why Talk About It?
For starters, I think credit must be given to the folks at Avalanche Studios for all but starting their development over when they weren't content with how the game was shaping up. Delays may be all too common in the industry right now, but if it means a supreme end product, we should be all for it. Sure, Mad Max missed its initial target of releasing before Fury Road hit theaters, but perhaps their decision will see a grand payoff thanks to the new fans [like myself] created by Miller's latest movie.
While the game bears similarities to several other action games churned out in the last half dozen years, a few features unique to the world of Mad Max should help this game stand out:
- "Players are likely to see huge clouds of dust billowing up in the distance. Should they follow these cues, they're likely to drive up on a convoy of up to 12 vehicles defending a lead truck carrying precious cargo."
- "Players can take aim on objects like fortress walls and sniper towers while driving, then use their car's momentum to yank them to bits. Even more fun is tearing pieces of a pesky foe's car apart, then eventually blasting the harpoon into the driver themselves. Winning a heated vehicular battle by dragging your enemy off the back of your car is rewarding."
- "The geographical indications that you're leaving the defined territory of the world are subtle. Eventually, Max and his Magnum Opus are enveloped in a blinding cloud of dust. The winds send pieces of deadly debris flying towards your car, threatening to shred it to bits." The player's car may even be unexpectedly struck by lightning in these severe storms. And explode, of course.
- Tethered hot air balloons act as viewpoints from which Max can use binoculars to spot and mark places of interest in the distance, which the player can then reach by navigating the expansive world.
True to Max's ultimate goal, much of the gameplay revolves around upgrading and customizing the character's car. The scavenging is for car parts, the fighting is over parts, the vehicular combat is for parts, the pause menu grants quick access to modifying the car with new parts, etc. One of the only complaints I've heard about Mad Max: Fury Road was the glaring lack of Max's famous car. Well, I found it...
...it's in Avalanche Studios' Mad Max, and it's coming to PS4, XBOX One, and PC on September 1st.
Update 5/26: A new trailer premiered on Tuesday, titled "Savage Road." Not-so-subtly trying to capitalize on Fury Road hype, perhaps? Of particular note in this story trailer is Max's appropriately-Australian accent. The game's developers faced a bit of backlash some time ago when footage featured an American Max.