At E3 2021, Avalanche revealed their rumored "Project Typhoon" title, as part of an exclusive collaboration with Xbox. Contraband is an action-packed heist 'em up, where teams of up to four players plan out and execute smuggling runs across a fictional island off the South Asian coast.
Described internally as an "action-packed, fun and spectacular smugglers sandbox game," Contraband takes familiar elements from the likes of Sea of Thieves, and mixes it with some Avalanche sandbox explosiveness. Gadgets, guns, vehicles, both on and off-land are all crucial to a successful smuggling run, and players will be able to build up teams with other players in online social hubs.
Although some gameplay elements may have changed since, information I've received previously describe guns as a last resort, however, both for you and enemies. This is a game all about theft and smuggling, and blowing up your vehicles will destroy your stolen goods — which is not exactly what the military and enemy gangs want. They will instead attempt to shunt you off the road, using Avalanche's excellent vehicular combat prowess, prevalent in RAGE 2 and Mad Max. When enemies use weapons, it's more often to do with creating roadblocks for the player, such as setting up checkpoints and shooting out tires.
Contraband is described as "vehicle-first" in previous information I received, which describes your vehicle as being akin to Tony Stark's Iron Man suit. Your vehicle is your most important tool, both offensively and defensively, packing a wealth of utility as you plan and execute smuggling runs. As a service game, Contraband will evolve with new features and challenges to keep the gameplay loop fresh over time.
Given Microsoft's success with Sea of Thieves, it's not a huge surprise they would try something similar in a different flavor. Despite its service-game features, Contraband also has a single-player story campaign, that revolves around taking down a corrupt dynasty known as The Vong.
We'll drop more information about the game as and when we get it. Until then, take a look at some of our other E3 2021 coverage, and let us know what you think about Contraband. And like all Xbox games, expect Contraband to drop straight into Xbox Game Pass when it finally launches.
Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
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