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The Finals Season 2 is a throwback to the “origins of gaming”

Embark Studios tells The Loadout how The Finals Season 2 is worthy of its immense hype as the PS5 and Xbox hit FPS enters a new era.

The Finals Season 2 interview new update: An image of the hacker in The Finals Season 2.

Hype around The Finals’ hype isn’t something that will wear off quickly. Season 1 came out of the gate with relentless action and the kind of refreshing gameplay that the FPS genre vitally needs. Ahead of The Finals Season 2 going live, I got a chance to play it and sit down with developers from Embark Studios to dig into how the new The Finals update embraces (and continues) all that early hype.

Following our recent The Finals Season 2 preview, I had a great conversation with game director Gustav Tilleby and senior environment artist Joakim Stigsson. With such high expectations for pushing the smash-hit hit FPS game further, Tilleby explains that Embark is always “looking at reactions online” and says that the studio has “been testing this one for a while internally.” After calling upon the game’s community to gauge Embark’s successes (and failings), Tilleby says that “it’s been really good for us. Just having that bouncing back and forth […]  there’s a bunch of things that we have been itching to add.”

Keeping any multiplayer game fresh is a tall task, but Embark isn’t holding back its biggest features. Season 2 adds Private Matches into the game, instantly boosting the game’s life as an esports contender through the roof. For now, this is a beta version of the feature, but Tilleby bills it as a “key addition” that will be “expanded on over time.” The main crux of Season 2 is shifting gears to a revamped aesthetic – one that champions the artform of gaming itself.

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“The aesthetic comes very much from 80s and 90s nostalgia, and going back to the origins of gaming,” Tilleby expresses. Furthermore, he adds that the idea to veer into all things hacker-inspired is “something that we’ve had in the back of our minds, ever since we started building this game we wanted to introduce that flavor into it.” The last few weeks in-game have teased the arrival of a nefarious hacker group called CNS. Eagle-eyed players will know there’s plenty of lore to uncover in The Finals universe, but expanding on it has to be organic.

The lineup of The Finals maps get an awesome addition in the form of ‘SYS$HORIZON’, a serene cyberspace that is essentially Tron Legacy meets Mirror’s Edge. “Though this map is quite different, it still fits within our universe, and we wanted to push that kind of [feel],” Tilleby says. SYS$HORIZON is overwhelming in the best way possible, and I couldn’t get enough of its sleek visuals and fluid pathways to fight within.

“I think that the first split second when you see the map is, to your point, overwhelming, but, you know, in a nice way,” Stiggson says. Dubbed simply ‘Horizon’ in our preview event by Embark, Stiggson clarifies that “we didn’t want to go with this old and grimy, dirty-looking hackers [aesthetic] […] it was important for us to establish that this game world has so many options given it’s a virtual reality game show.”

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You’ll be able to experience it yourself from Thursday, March 14, 2024. Until then, elsewhere in gaming news, Helldivers 2 is introducing terrifying flying bugs, and you need to check out this feature in the new PS5 update.