Babylon’s Fall exists. If you are most people, you’re probably thinking, “What the heck is Babylon’s Fall?” But for a very specific subset of gamers, this is fantastic news, given that they’ve been waiting since 2019 to hear more about Nier: Automata and Bayonetta developer Platinum Games’ latest collaboration with Square Enix.
Today, as part of its E3 2021 conference, Square Enix showed off Babylon’s Fall in a trailer that focused on co-op multiplayer action and a lot of ominous monologuing. Characters used swords, bows and arrows, and weapons of the like in cavernous environments, to battle all manner of enemies—including very large armored foes. The goal is to progress through the titular tower, Babylon.
The game does not have a release date yet, but it’s coming to PS5, PS4, and PC.
In a developer interview video, producer Junichi Ehara described Babylon’s Fall as a hack ‘n’ slash, but with Nier: Automata’s “fluid, action-based gameplay” undergirding the co-op dungeon delving (or climbing, in this case). Every floor of the tower is a different level, each with its own boss. You obtain new equipment by defeating enemies and crafting. Different character builds also allow you to slot in a variety of skills and create characters with different strategic focuses—in effect making your own action game move sets.
Characters also wear an item on their back called the Gideon Coffin, from which “cord-like protrusions” called the Gideon Gut emerge. These can carry additional weapons, mimicking the Nier effect of weapons floating behind your back, but in this case it also means the other weapons can be wielded in battle “independent of the player’s current state.”
“With these different weapon sets, you can create a huge variety of diverse moves and combos,” said director Kenji Saito.
The game can be played solo, but the developers described it as a “live service game,” with plans to “regularly” provide new content after release. There will also be microtransactions, time-limited seasonal events, and a battle pass. Some battle pass items will aid with progression, while others will be purely cosmetic.
Babylon’s Fall looked like it was destined to become vaporware for a second there. It was originally revealed at E3 2018 as part of a painfully insubstantial Square Enix press conference, and its trailer didn’t give people much to work with. The two-minute cinematic was jam-packed with lore, but viewers may as well have been speed-reading a wiki entry. This culminated in two armored figures getting into a big, bulky throwdown, only for one to steal the other’s sword with magic threads (which we now know to the the Gideon Gut—a truly great name) and strike a decisive blow.
It was certainly an intriguing scene, but it revealed precisely nothing about how the game would actually play, or even really what it was about. Originally, the game was set to launch on PC and PS4 in 2019, but that didn’t happen. In 2019, Square showed a tiny snippet of action-heavy gameplay at Sony’s State of Play event, but again, it explained basically nothing.
This was followed by a long period of radio silence, which was finally broken in July 2020. On Twitter, the game’s development team published a statement saying that they had intended to show more of Babylon’s Fall over the summer, but circumstances (read: covid) got in the way. As a result, the team was “working safely from home.”
Today’s update is the culmination of all those ups and downs. Here’s hoping that the game’s quality will not suffer as a result.