ExeKiller marks the debut of Krakow-based indie developer Paradark Studio, which plans to drop the game on Steam “when it’s ready.” It appears to be a run-of-the-mill cyberpunk outing, remixing aesthetics established in classic properties like Blade Runner with a distinctly western vibe. The game definitely looks gorgeous, but what I really love about ExeKiller is its devotion to sounding as dumb and hackneyed as possible.
“In a world where there are no rules, the only law that matters is a loaded gun,” growls a man doing a decent (if somewhat stilted) Clint Eastwood impression to open the trailer, adding later, “Sometimes I kill for money, sometimes I kill for...justice.”
A random guy even implores the main character to “make my day,” echoing Eastwood’s turn as “Dirty Harry” Callahan. It’s ridiculous.
If you haven’t already figured it out, ExeKiller concerns a very serious bounty hunter on a very serious mission. He prowls abandoned diners, drives recklessly across dusty, post-apocalyptic landscapes, and fights along the tops of moving trains to get the job done. And once the bounties are secured, he collects data chips known as S.O.U.L.S from his targets for a cast of shady brokers with irrefusable offers.
Oh, and the game takes place in New York in 1998 somehow. I’m still coming to grips with that reveal, believe me.
All jokes aside, this does seem like a fairly ambitious undertaking. The official Paradark Studio website describes ExeKiller as a player-driven story with tons of replayability depending on the choices you make. The developers also promise an “ever-changing environment” complete with diverse biomes, a dynamic weather system, and radioactive sun storms.
ExeKiller is one of those releases that’s so overtly silly it’s come full circle to land squarely back in the cool zone. There’s something charming about the game’s pervasive application of decades-old tropes that are, frankly, overwrought at this point in a very self-serious way. It’s a pure distillation of the concept of “badass” as seen through the lens of a 1970s exploitation film and I can’t get enough of it.
I’m not sure if developers are in on the joke, but it’s almost better if they aren’t. All I know is that I’m going to play the crap out of ExeKiller when it finally releases.