ARC Raiders is a PvE shooter about stopping killer droids from outer space, and it has high-budget EDF vibes


I hope the free-to-play hooks are kept in check

In an unexpected turn of events, one of my favorite game reveals last night at The Game Awards 2021 was ARC Raiders, a PvE sci-fi shooter with a bit of underdog flair to its band of resistance fighters and some big droids that look like they’ll be fun to bring down.

This debut game from Embark Studios — a team led by former DICE CEO and EA chief design officer Patrick Söderlund — is coming to PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S in 2022.

I’ll admit, I thought the music choice for this announcement trailer was pretty unusual last night during the live show, but Robyn hasn’t left my mind, so the track did its job. Anything a new IP can do to get (and keep) our attention in a sea of other trailers and adverts.

Other than that, what stood out? For me, and this might be reading way too much into the gameplay snippets, ARC Raiders gave me a sort of glossy, high-budget Earth Defense Force vibe — albeit with a more focused threat. The way the characters scramble speaks to me.

There’s also the free-to-play factor — and speaking of, it’s owned by Nexon — which could help or hurt it depending on all of the usual factors. Not having to pay upfront is a way to get curious folks in the door, especially with a PvE squad format, but if the monetization is too heavy-handed, will most players just move on? That’s the concern.

Based on the first few raiders, including Lance, a cool (?) droid man, ARC Raiders will be leaning hard into its characterization. I’m calling dibs (until someone better shows up).

ARC Raiders Lance bio

“With this reveal, we want to celebrate gameplay and give players more than a hint of how ARC Raiders looks and what it feels like to play,” Söderlund said in a press statement. “We look forward to sharing more about the game in the coming months.”

The Steam and Epic Games Store listings talk about using tools, gadgets, and physics to outplay the space-invader droids, who drop in from orbit and clap back “with ever-increasing destruction.” Embark also detailed snap hooks — grapple guns that also work on smaller foes, as shown in the trailer — and the howitzer, which is a “three-raider job.”

“When ARC is around, lone wolves never make it very far.”

I’m intrigued by this concept, and I hope the team dynamics are genuinely important.