If you haven’t heard, Project A is the working title of Riot’s upcoming shooter. A tactical FPS with abilities, somewhere between Counter-Strike and Overwatch. The reveal trailer was part of their 10 year anniversary celebration, which is why it’s only a small part of a much longer video. Here it is timestamped for the start of the trailer:

It’s interesting that they’re already talking about hitreg, netcode and anti-cheat when they haven’t really explained what exactly the game is. They do however show us 5 short clips of gameplay and some devs working throughout the trailer which is all you need to figure out most of the mechanics if you pay close enough attention. And just like Jackie Chan in his 1983 film Project A we’re gonna dive right in.

This is the first footage of Project A that any of us got to see and everything about it, the movement, the crosshair placement (even though there is no crosshair or HUD except for the kill feed), the map design, the time to kill, everything about it screams Counter-Strike.

There are a few details that I want to point out though:

  • At the end it says “WON – TEAM ELIMINATED”, most of us already figured as much but this confirms that we’re playing a game mode without respawning such as defuse or hostage
  • The gun being used looks very much like an AK, kills in 1 headshot and can aim down sights, although it’s clearly still accurate if you don’t ADS
  • On the third consecutive kill, the kill feed shows a “III” next to Volcano’s username, indicating a 3k. I think this implies that the game is played 5v5 since that’s the largest number of players in which no more than one person per team can get a 3k in any given round. (Once more, exactly like CS)
  • We are seeing 4 different character’s portraits in the kill feed
We got white hair lady, mask lady, incognito guy from Google Chrome, and ear ring lady

Here’s clip number 2, this time it’s mask lady with a shotgun showing off some abilities

Makes me want to rush
Here’s a good close up of ear ring lady, maybe it wasn’t the most fitting name after all

Both of her abilities are probably pure smoke screens as incognito guy doesn’t seem too perturbed to just walk through it at the end of the clip. But once more I’ve got some tiiiiiny details for you.

After she throws her little smoke grenade-thingy. For a short moment, the HUD says this:

This means that the grenade is remotely detonated and that she’s pressing the button for it too early, before it has settled on the ground.

And near the end of the clip, when both smokes have already been active for quite a while it says this:

I think (because this message doesn’t appear right when the smokes get activated) that mask lady places her devices around the map and can turn them on and off at will but they use fuel, which is either limited per round or slowly recharges over time.

And one last thing before we move on to the next clip. Note how ear ring lady (the first enemy to die) is holding an AK, you can see it very easily when it flies through the air as she drops it. That’s about to be important because clip #3 is from her perspective but she uses a completely different semi automatic rifle.

She seems to be a mixture of Mei and Mercy from OW putting up a wall for cover (a segment of which gets shot out by an MG that we haven’t seen yet) before reviving incognito guy whose AK is lying somewhere in the doorway so as he gets respawned he only has a pistol.

He’s also got a little symbol over his head indicating he’s a team mate

We’ve now seen the same character use multiple different weapons so that’s a good sign for some kind of buying mechanic to exist. But it could still be something like loadouts.

Clip #4 takes us back to white hair lady, this time with an SMG and showing off her abilities. And she’s got quite a bunch of them: A tornado grenado, a dash to the side, a high jump and flying daggers. Clearly she’s the speedy one of the bunch. Although I do wonder what the point of flinging daggers is in a game where all weapons instakill to the head. They also seem to be a mode she switches into; to be honest this ability is a little puzzling to me.

Clip #5 is mostly the same, it does show us a one hit kill to the body with the sniper rifle though. And I’m starting to suspect that the high jump is only possible in dagger mode. In the previous clip she pulled out both at roughly the same time.

Now we’ve gone through all the gameplay footage but we’re not done! We’re going deeper!

With no crosshair, health or ammo count you can probably guess that this gameplay was edited a little to make it more trailer worthy. But guess what, we know what the ingame HUD looks like nonetheless. Right at the start of the trailer we get to look over a player’s shoulder at this:

It’s not the greatest quality image but you can clearly make out a not-so-mini mini map with what looks like a pretty standard CS map design. Team spawns at the top and bottom, 2 objectives on the left and right and a fightable middle with a small set of connectors in every direction. A gun outline in the bottom right looking literally exactly like the CS HUD and then some kind of white outline bottom bar.

Later, as Anna Donlon talks about tick rate, we see a dev playing a test build and get a closer (albeit still very blurry) look at that bar:

From right to left, there’s ammo, a charge bar (oh god please no ultimates), more icons for abilities and then most importantly the number 100 almost certainly denoting health. The reason I say it’s most important is because there is no space to show armor.

Without any armor or helmets half the weapons in CS lose their purpose. Since there also seems to be no difference in what weapons the attackers and the defenders can buy in Project A, no utility to buy, no armor to buy and no guns designed around punishing someone who doesn’t have armor. All that remains in decisionmaking for the player is the balance of how good the weapon is vs how much it costs.

After all the things you’ve seen here that are completely identical to Counter-Strike you may think this is only a small deviation. But armor is so integral to the mechanics of CS that leaving it out is going to have ripple effects throughout all the other design decisions you need to make. I fear that without the existance of the armor penetration stat you simply have less tools to work out your balance with. So I think we’re going to see a lot less weapons in total and if not, a lot less weapons that see use in an average match of Project A as opposed to CS:GO.

I’ve got a couple more over-the-should low res pictures of monitors for the huge demand you no doubt have:

Here’s a player holding a melee weapon and looking at the scoreboard which is clearly 5v5

This is almost certainly the buy menu. The column on the left shows the player what his team mates have bought. I count 12 primary weapons and 5 secondaries. I also can’t help but notice the 2 silhouettes on the right. I have no idea what they could be, maybe I’m wrong about there being no armor after all?

And last but not least I’m going to leave you with the sound design. The italian Youtube channel SmartWorld Gaming uploaded the gameplay clips without any music or voice over so you can decide for yourself what you think about the game audio. Pretty good if you ask me.

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