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Asymmetric horror game Level Zero has been ‘re-announced’ as a ‘multiplayer extraction survival horror’ shooter

Level Zero was announced in 2022 as an asymmetric horror game about a team of big-brained scientists trying to escape a facility that’s been overrun by horrific Alien-style murder-monsters. It was supposed to come out in 2023, but that didn’t happen—instead, it’s now been “re-announced” as Level Zero: Extraction, which is less ‘big brains’ and more ‘big guns.’

Scientists are still involved, but now they’re more background bad guys: Bringing aliens to Earth for experimentation that—holy cow, did not see this coming—goes completely wrong. An outbreak results, everyone dies, and the corporations behind all these awful shenanigans send in teams of mercenaries to clean house and, more importantly, retrieve the data so the alien research can be continued elsewhere.

That’s where you now come on: Not as a desperate, likely-doomed researcher, but a tough, gun-toting merc, still likely doomed but at least with the ability to lay down some heavy fire on your way out. Three teams of up to three mercenaries will enter the facility armed with assault rifles, shotguns, flamethrowers, and other tools of the trade to do battle with alien creatures and each other, track down valuable loot, and ultimately get out in one piece. Bringing out the goods will improve your reputation with traders, enabling access to better gear and new character perks.

Players who want to see how the other side lives can opt to take on the role of the game’s monsters, who have the ability to see through walls, traverse through vents, lay out “living traps,” and use a high-frequency scream to temporarily disable all light sources in an area—exposure to light being their one big weakness. Two monsters will be present in every match, enabling them to team up to really put the gears to the human interlopers.

There are a lot of extraction shooters out there right now, and more are coming, so I was a little surprised to see developer Doghowl Games move the game in that particular direction. But art director Alex Golenishchev told me it was really just an organic evolution of the concept.

“Over the course of the development we have experimented with a variety of gameplay features and mechanics,” Golenishchev said. “Being huge fans of the survival horror and extraction shooter genres, the idea of combining the two together came to us naturally. We realized that both those genres have one thing in common—the element of fear: The natural fear of the horror atmosphere and the fear of losing valuable loot.

“When combined together, the genres empower each other, and we believe it offers a unique experience which we call ‘multiplayer extraction survival horror,’ something other conventional extraction shooters or horrors do not offer.”

We’ll have a chance to see how it all comes together next month: Doghowl is holding a closed beta for Level Zero: Extraction over the weekend of March 15-18. If you’re interested in giving it a go, head over to the Steam page and punch the “request access” button. Level Zero: Extraction is set to launch in full later this year.

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