Mantic Games, the studio behind Warpath and DreadBall, have announced a brand new board game called OverDrive. But rather than it be set on the battlefield, this board game is a team-based sports arena experience set in the same universe as Warpath.
As the official press release states, "OverDrive is a fast-paced two-player game that pits teams of larger than life ‘giants’ against each other in a series of brutal game modes. From capturing the flag to passing the bomb, no two games of OverDrive will ever play quite the same." In essence, it is a stylized sci-fi take on competitive arena game shows, complete with rotating game types and bombastic personalities. In fact, Mantic cites games like Timesplitters 2, Overwatch, and Splatoon as direct influences. There will be six different game modes total. The game is meant for two players controlling teams of three 'giants' each and a single session will run from about 60-90 minutes.
As of right now, Mantic's posts about the development of Overdrive are minimal, discussing the game in broad terms. Everything from how each character has unique abilities but can only use them a limited number of times to a drafting system where players can act out being coaches trying to think ahead of their opponent.
However, we did manage to get a hold of a representative of Mantic, who was happy to answer some of our questions. The first big one that came to mind was why have OverDrive set in the same world as Warpath? Better still, would that mean there would be a potential for crossovers? Their answer was quite measured,
"We always like to have some familiarity in our games for existing players and we thought that having OverDrive set within the Warpath Universe would help introduce some elements from other games, e.g. certain alien races. It's also important for making the Warpath universe seem a bit more believable, so you imagine members of the GCPS (the security forces of the corporations) sitting down on a Saturday night to watch a game of OverDrive. There will be a crossover between some of the miniatures appearing in games like Deadzone too."
Fans of Warpath and Deadzone, you may want to keep an eye on this game.
As for balancing the different game modes, Mantic made it clear that there wouldn't be a clear winner in every scenario. Some characters are better at fighting, some are better at skills, therefore some will be better equipped for certain events. Although every single character is viable in some way, it all depends on what will happen once the game starts. They did also mention that future players will be added down the line, teasing character packs and expansions.
Finally, there was the question of accessibility. One doesn't cite the likes of Timesplitters 2 when discussing frenetic but accessible competitive fun, and translating that to a board game is always a challenge. The key appears to be a tutorial game of sorts with a king-of-the-hill mode which teaches players the importance of navigation, movement, and attacking. From there, each new mode usually includes one new verb to your move list. Pass the Bomb is straightforward, you pass the bomb and hope it doesn't explode. But that new action is just for that new mode, which makes it quite accessible for a casual game night with friends.
OverDrive is set to launch sometime in September of 2021.