Deathloop is an upcoming action-adventure from Arkane Studios, the developer behind the Dishonored series, that pits rival assassins against one another in a murderous game of time loops. The PS5 timed-exclusive was meant to release in August 2020 but, following multiple delays, it’ll be available on September 14, 2021.
Deathloop sees you playing as assassin Colt, who is trapped on Blackreef, a mysterious island locked in a never-ending time loop. It’s up to Colt to end the loop, all while being hunted by the island’s less-than-hospitable inhabitants and a rival assassin called Julianna, who is determined to stop Colt and to keep the deadly time loop going. In order to stop the loop once and for all, Colt must take out eight key targets on the island.
But that would be too easy, right? Colt only has 24 hours to kill all the targets, meaning the loop plays an integral role in Deathloop’s combat, allowing Colt to try new approaches to his assassinations and learn from the failures – but his enemies learn too.
We gone hands on with Deathloop, and think it’s a fun shooter as well as a secretly great detective game. Interested? Then read on for everything we know so far about Deathloop, and be sure to check out news on all the new PS5 games on the way too.
[Update: Deathloop’s PC requirements have been confirmed. Read on to find out more.]
Deathloop: cut to the chase
- What is it? An action-adventure shooter from the makers of Dishonored
- When can I play it? September 14, 2021
- What can I play it on? PS5 and PC
Deathloop release date
Deathloop is due to release on September 14, 2021, for PC and as a timed console exclusive for PS5 (which lasts a year).
First announced at E3 2019, Deathloop was initially due to release in the “Holiday 2020” window. However, Arkane Studios announced in August 2020 that the release was being pushed back to Q2 2021.
In November 2020, the developer confirmed that Deathloop would release on May 21, 2021. However, in April 2021, Arkane announced that Deathloop was being delayed again – this time until September 2021.
In a video announcing the most recent delay, Deathloop creative director Dinga Bakaba said:
“At Arkane, we have a strong vision for Deathloop and we don’t want to compromise on that. But we also need to do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the studio.”
In a follow-up tweet, Arkane Studios released a statement saying:
“We’re committed to quality and preserving our team’s ambitions for Deathloop while ensuring the health and safety of everyone at Arkane. We’ll be using the extra time to accomplish our goal: create a fun, stylish and mind-bending player experience.”
An update on DEATHLOOP from @ArkaneStudios: pic.twitter.com/tJwUSM5vumApril 8, 2021
Deathloop pre-orders are live now. Those who pre-order either the standard or deluxe edition of Deathloop will receive exclusive bonuses including unique weapons, character skins, and more.
Those who pre-order either edition will get the “Storm Rider” Colt skin, one trinket (equippable buff) and the Royal Protector Machete (only on PS5). The standard edition of Deathloop on PS5 costs £59.99/$59.99, while the PC version costs £49.99/$59.99.
Those who order the deluxe edition will get the above items but will also get the Eat The Rich Tribunal and .44 Karat Fourpounder weapons, the “Party Crasher” Colt and “Sharp Shooter” Julianna skins, original game soundtrack selections and the Transtar Trencher weapon (PS5 exclusive). The deluxe edition of Deathloop on PS5 costs £79.99/$79.99, while the PC version costs £64.99/$79.99.
State of Play gameplay
The Sony State of Play July 2021 event gave us another look at Deathloop, bringing an extended video walkthrough of Arkane Studios’ upcoming FPS game, with nine glorious minutes of gameplay footage.
Wondering what the game is actually about? All these mentions of time loops get a bit confusing after a while, after all. This trailer sees Deathloop’s director Dinga Bakaba giving us the elevator pitch on the game, explaining the main elements of the gameplay and describing the game as a “murder puzzle”. Check it out below:
Deathloop gameplay trailer 3
A Deathloop trailer was released during Sony’s February State of Play, showing a fluid mix of gunplay and powers along with the game’s signature 70s style intercut with Saul Bass-esque art. See for yourself in the third gameplay trailer:
Deathloop launch date reveal
The first big Deathloop trailer revealed the game’s release date of May 21, 2021, which was later delayed. Check it out below:
Gameplay trailer 2
Released in September 2020, the second Deathloop gameplay trailer shows how players can use the time loop to Colt’s advantage.
“See how Colt tackles the problem of getting two Visionaries – Aleksis and Egor – in the same place at the same time,” the video description reads. “There are eight Visionaries responsible for keeping the time loop going. Eight people that have to die to make things right, and thanks to the time loop, you’ve only got one day to take them all out or the loop resets. But the targets are spread out across the island and are often only accessible at certain points throughout the day. So how can you possibly eliminate them all in time? The solution won’t be easy, but with some practice (and quite a few resets) you’ll be able to solve the puzzle of Blackreef and break the loop.” Check out the trailer below:
Arkane showed off the Deathloop PS5 gameplay trailer back in June 2020, during Sony’s Future of Gaming event. This is when we found out the game’s initial release window of “Holiday 2020”. Check it out below:
World premiere trailer
Deathloop was officially announced at E3 2019 with this world premiere trailer, which you can watch here:
From what we’ve seen, heard and experienced of Deathloop so far, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill shooter. As Colt, players will have access to various weapons and abilities to utilize in their assassinations. There are also different options for approaching each target depending on your playstyle, with the option to either go in guns blazing or stealthily pick them off.
Each new loop gives you a chance to uncover information or clues you might have missed the first time around, giving you more knowledge and helping you to decide how to approach an assassination. So, even when you die – which it looks like will happen a lot – you can use your failed experience to help you succeed the next time.
According to Bethesda, Colt will spot messages across Blackreef during his runs, explaining that “Often, they seem like helpful pieces of advice or guidance, but sometimes the messages are disjointed or confusing. They’ll start making more sense when you uncover more of the island’s secrets, but you’ll learn to rely on them from the earliest moments of your adventure on Blackreef.”
As a setting, Bethesda says Blackreef has “hundreds of stories to tell” so exploring will be very worthwhile. “Visiting the same spot at different times of day may reveal a new facet of Deathloop’s story or give you a new clue to breaking the timeloop,” it explains, “You could even overhear a conversation that leads you to a new item and new opportunities.”
Once the game’s prologue is over, the island will be totally open to explore so “You’ll be able to jump between times of day and districts of Blackreef whenever you choose. There’s no timer for you to keep an eye on. Time will only pass when you finish what you’ve set out to do in a district, but you can only visit one district per time period. It’s completely up to you how you explore.”
But Deathloop isn’t restricted to just a single-player experience. Instead, you have the option to turn on multiplayer, allowing another player to take on the role of Julianna, who will try and hunt you down while you complete your assassinations. Multiplayer is optional, and an AI can control Julianna instead.
Crucially, Deathloop isn’t a roguelike, and Arkane Studios’ game director Dinga Bakaba was quick to stress that the game doesn’t fall into that category. Yes, you’ll be repeating some actions, revisiting areas, and will obviously need to learn from your mistakes. But soon you’ll be powerful enough, and knowledgeable enough, to plot the perfect path to your target without things going awry.
When we went hands-on with the game ourselves, we felt that it was a detective game as well as a shooter, making “information as important to you as a gun” and rewarding your curiosity. While the game “wants you to feel helpless at the start”, eventually you’ll feel like a badass and rather than it being a roguelike, it’s “an assassination game that just happens to be set in a time loop”.
PC system requirements
Deathloop is launching on PC as well as PS5 and Bethesda has revealed just what you’ll need to run the game. If you’re looking to hit the highs of 4K and 60 FPS then you’ll need the following:
- OS: 64 bit Windows 10 version 1909 or higher
- Processor : Intel Core i9-10900K @ 3.70GHz or AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
- Memory : 16 GB system RAM
- Graphics : Nvidia RTX 3080 (10GB) or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT (16GB)
- DirectX : Version 12
- Storage : 30 GB available space (SSD)
If, however, you just want in on the fun and you’re happy to hit 1080p at 30 FPS then the minimum specs are as follows:
- OS : 64 bit Windows 10 version 1909 or higher
- Processor : Intel Core i5-8400 @ 2.80GHz or AMD Ryzen 5 1600
- Memory : 12 GB
- Graphics : Nvidia GTX 1060 (6GB) or AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB)
- DirectX : Version 12
- Storage : 30 GB available space (HDD)
Deathloop PC codes will reportedly exclusively launch on Steam, rather than Bethesda’s own launcher. According to Exputer, earlier this month Steam codes for Deathloop appeared on authorized retailer Green Man Gaming’s website. In response to a Twitter user who asked whether the game will be delivered as a Steam code on PC, Green Man Gaming confirmed that it will “be offering Steam keys for all versions of Deathloop and also retroactively”. The retailer then confirmed on Twitter that it will now be selling Steam codes for the game, including existing orders.
Further to this, according to ResetEra user dex3108, online retailer Game Billet confirmed to them via email that Bethesda recently decided to “switch” Deathloop PC codes to Steam codes recently, with the publisher initially intending to provide Bethesda launcher keys to players who bought the game on PC. The email also clarified that those who buy the physical edition of Deathloop on PC can redeem their codes on Bethesda.net, but will be redirected to Steam to launch the game.
It’s still worth taking the Steam exclusivity element with a pinch of salt as Bethesda itself hasn’t confirmed that it’s shifting to Steam codes for the PC version of Deathloop, so the game could still launch on Steam and Bethesda’s own launcher. But we do at least know there will be a Steam version as a result of Green Man Gaming’s confirmation.
Arkane Studios has confirmed that Deathloop has gone gold ahead of its September release, meaning it’s ready to be shipped for retail. The announcement was made on the official Deathloop Twitter account, telling fans to “Get ready to break the timeloop on September 14!”
DEATHLOOP has gone gold! Get ready to break the timeloop on September 14! pic.twitter.com/tMpbsQtT29August 5, 2021
Adaptive difficulty and a single save
Deathloop will only allow one save and will replace difficulty options with an adaptive difficulty system. As reported by Gameranx, Deathloop’s developers held an AMA on Discord in which it explained these decisions.
When it comes to the single save, they said, “There is only one save. Having more than one is not really useful in our one-day loop context. If you want to try something different, just do it another day…The player cannot save during a mission because of the multiplayer component and also, because dying is part of the experience. We do not want the players to avoid or to miss what is an essential part of Deathloop DNA. But we didn’t leave players with empty hands. Colt has a special ability; Reprise that allow him to escape death.”
Bethesda detailed Reprise in a recent blog post, explaining that, with it, “death isn’t an automatic restart. If you’re killed, you’ll have two chances to do a little time rewinding without restarting.” Dying a third time will see the day end. When you use Reprise to rewind time, it only rewinds for Colt, so all the enemies you’ve already taken down stay down.
As for the difficulty system, they said: “There is no difficulty option, but we have an adaptive difficulty system. As you can play the same maps several times at different moments of your play-through, we had to think about a system that can make the game challenging the more you play. If the NPCs accuracy is forgiven at the beginning, they will be more accurate, aggressive, and reactive the more you perform.”
When it comes to matching players in multiplayer, “The PvP system matches players with similar skill and tries to keep a fair and balanced win and loss ratio. This is an organic way to choose the most accurate player depending on your performances and play-through history.”
PS5 exclusive for a year
Deathloop’s latest trailer, shown during a Sony State of Play, has confirmed that the game will remain a timed PS5 exclusive until September 14, 2022 at the earliest.
The game might be available on PC before that date, but the wording found at the end of the trailer makes it sound like we’ll be waiting a while to get the game on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, despite Microsoft owning the video game publisher and developer.
Level of ambition wouldn’t have been possible on old consoles
Deathloop’s director Dinga Bakaba has said that the game wouldn’t have been possible on last-gen consoles. In a recent interview with PLAY Magazine (via GamesRadar), Bakaba called the PS5 “a breath of fresh air” and that the new console has enabled the developer to hit the “level of ambition” it wants without the usual constraints.
“It’s always heartbreaking when you get to the end of a project, and you have to optimize things, and now you have to cut your map in half and you have to justify why it’s in two parts,” Bakaba says, adding, “I don’t think that we would have been able to preserve the level of ambition of this game were it not for the move to next-gen.”
Art director Sebastien Mitton agreed with Bakaba and added that working with PS5 hardware allowed Arkane to create environments that are “as big or bigger than Dishonored 2, with a huge density.”
Deathloop utilizes DualSense controller
Being a timed console exclusive on PS5, Deathloop utilizes the PS5 DualSense controller‘s innovative features such as haptic feedback and and adaptive triggers.
“With Deathloop’s dynamic weapons, every weapon will feel unique in your hands,” Anne Lewis, senior content manager at Bethesda Softworks, wrote in a PlayStation Blog post. “From the way it fires or swings, to the way it reloads or connects with its target, you’ll feel the difference through the DualSense controller.
“When a low-tier weapon is jammed, your trigger button will be blocked halfway, giving you instantaneous feedback even before the animation notifies you. It’s a momentary setback that could force you to retreat for a beat while you fix it. As you’re watching your character on-screen punch the gun to get it in working order, you’ll feel a correlating strike in your controller, activating the mechanism to unjam it.”
Players should also be able to feel the change in surfaces thanks to the DualSense’s haptic feedback.