With each update, RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is looking less like a roughly-hewn epileptic fever dream and more like an actual game. The grassy fields and bone-armored Beowolves are a far cry from the sheets of white and evil blobs of the first independent release over a year ago. As Rooster Teeth sponsors slash through hordes of Grimm in exclusive pre-Alpha downloads, their reviews and playthroughs are giving us a solid idea of how far the game has come and what challenges it has yet to overcome.
Despite ironing out many of the game’s mechanical snags, Grimm Eclipse still faces a few major concerns. The occasional glitches are an obvious problem. One second you’re dragging Crescent Rose through a Creep, the next second the Creep is literally stuck in the ground, like a macabre sculpture of a dead iguana demon. Or the program just crashes your computer. Additionally, while the updates have spiced things up with objectives, the gameplay is still essentially fixated on endurance. Hack at a Grimm. Hack at another Grimm. Oh look, now we have to hack at more Grimm. Oh no, I died, time to start over and hopefully get the chance to hack at more Grimm than I got to hack at last time. There aren’t any actual objectives besides killing Grimm and, with enemies that feel like bullet sponges, things can get tedious really quickly.
Which leads to the question of the hour. Is RWBY: Grimm Eclipse going to be a campaign game or a fighting game? It can’t seem to make up its mind.
What kind of game is this going to be?
Honestly, either direction could be fantastic.
As a campaign . . .
There would certainly need to be more concrete objectives, preferably given by NPCs or through cutscenes. There needs to be a reason to exterminate, supported by an overarching plot. After the remaining members of Team RWBY are finally implemented, they could essentially create RWBY Volume One: The Video Game, following the events of the first season. Based on their detailed recreation of the Emerald Forest, the designers could do an amazing job bringing Beacon Academy to life and letting fans explore the World of Remnant like never before.
Taking a page out of the numerous Harry Potter games, going to class could be just as important and engaging as taking out a white Beowolf. This could expand the RWBY universe, while also regulating the pacing of the plot, with tension surrounding the White Fang and Roman Torchwick growing slowly and subtly rather than all at once.
A major complication with a campaign, however, would be the playable characters. As the second arc of Volume One focuses on Jaune, Team JNPR would probably need to be made playable so as not to disrupt the plot. Four extra playable characters could delay development indefinitely.
As a fighting game . . .
RWBY could take the success of Super Smash Bros. and raise it tenfold. Not only would it feature a 3D, rather than 2D plane of motion, but every character in the franchise is designed to pull of outrageous combative maneuvers that would fit in perfectly as “special moves” within the genre. This, of course, demands the current model to be expanded upon exponentially.
Grimm endurance battles can still be a prominent component, but PvP combat would need to be incorporated, calling for the addition of dozens of playable characters. Counting Teams RWBY, JNPR, SSSN, CFVY, and CRDL, the four prominent instructors of Beacon, Roman, Neo, Cinder’s Trio, Penny, Raven, Adam, Miltia, Melanie, Junior, and the White Fang Lieutenant, the roster weighs in at a hefty 36 characters. Kind of a tall order for Rooster Teeth’s first in-house game.
Still, the sky is the limit. Even if Grimm Eclipse decides against either of these approaches, perhaps developers will tackle the concepts of a campaign or PvP fighting game in the future. Just as Rooster Teeth has pushed their boundaries and taken on increasingly ambitious web projects, I think we can expect their video games to eventually follow suit in the coming years.
What do you want to see out of Grimm Eclipse? Weigh in with a comment below.