Hands-on with Bombshell, the next game from 3D Realms QuakeCon 2015

I recently made a trip to QuakeCon, a convention devoted specifically to games from Bethesda such as Doom and Fallout 4. Still, other publishers sometimes bring their games along to the show. This time, I bumped into the publisher of another classic FPS series – 3D Realms, the studio that created Duke Nukem 3D.

3D Realms is now the publisher arm of Danish developer Interceptor Entertainment. Interceptor plans to release a game called Bombshell this fall on Xbox One, Windows PC, and PlayStation 4. The titular Bombshell is a soldier who gains new powers for her cybernetic arm as she fights off an alien invasion. A third-person shooter/action-RPG with a sense of humor, Bombshell could end up putting 3D Realms back on the map this fall.

Read on for our exclusive video interview and gameplay impressions!

Meet the Bombshell

Bombshell stars Shelly Harrison, a bomb disposal expert and Colonel in the Global Defense Force. When a mad scientist named Jadus Heskel (no relation to Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver) attacks her team, Shelly is the only member to survive. But she loses her arm in the process, and the event becomes known as the Washington Incident.

Years later, our heroine gets pulled back into duty when a mysterious alien force attacks the US White House. During the game's introduction, Shelly overhears a news report about the in-progress attack and rushes to the scene. An army of alien soldiers and their dropships are wreaking havoc on the president's front lawn, and Bombshell joins the fight to stop them.

The story looks serious at first glance, but it actually has its tongue planted firmly in cheek. Interceptor has packed it with plenty of references and jokes – I even caught a reference to the original Legend of Zelda in the dialog at one point.


Bombs away!

Bombshell takes place primarily from a top-down isometric perspective. When playing with a controller, it'll play just like a twin-stick shooter. The QuakeCon demo computers only had mouse and keyboards though, so I got to play it the old-fashioned way.

The protagonist wields up to eight different guns with clever names like 'Ion Maiden' and 'Motherflakker.' These weapons don't all have unlimited ammo, so players will need to conserve resources as they battle the alien armada. Switching weapons on the fly is a snap thanks to the radial weapon selection interface.


As she battles bad guys and rude dudes, Shelly will gain experience and collect money. Bombshell is an action-RPG at heart, with multiple upgrade trees allowing players to customize their character's growth. Most of these upgrades involve Shelly's bionic arm, which gains new powers throughout the course of the game. These arm powers will allow her to return to previous levels in order to access new areas and secrets, much like a Metroidvania game.

Although Bombshell mostly takes place from a distant viewpoint typical of twin-stick shooters, it doesn't always stay that way. When I met up with a General and his team outside of the besieged White House, a horde of aliens suddenly came at us. I jumped onto a turret and suddenly the camera shifted to a behind-the-back perspective like you'd see in Gears of War. Hopefully the game has more clever touches like that in store for us.

QuakeCon 2015 Jeffrey Cake, Josh Olin, Paul Acevedo, and Frederik Schreiber

SoCalledGamer/mase123987, Josh Olin of 3D Realms, Paul Acevedo, and Frederik Schreiber of Interceptor

Bombshell will be released as a downloadable title on Xbox One, Windows PC, and PlayStation 4 sometime this fall. The build I played at QuakeCon was quite good and continually drew a crowd. Let's hope the final game ends up being the bomb and not a bomb_!