Bet On Soldier

By injecting some new ideas into its current first-person shooter project, French developer Kylotonn (previously responsible for IronStorm) is hoping that Bet on Soldier will provide players with a refreshingly spicy twist to a genre that all-too-often relies on tried-and-tested formulas.

Set somewhere in the not-too-distant future, BoS takes place against the grim backdrop of a war that has raged on earth for over eight destructive decades. However, the war isn't perpetuated by political, territorial or religious motivation, but something far more believable - profit.

Soldiers are mercenaries valued on the stock market and operate on a pay-per-kill basis. In order to supplement their meagre earnings, 'elite' soldiers from opposing sides compete against each other in the super-popular Bet on Soldier TV show. Like futuristic films Death Race 2000, Rollerball and Running Man, BoS makes for viciously brutal viewing.

Before players enter a battlefield they are given the opportunity to place bets against the elite soldiers they may encounter. A brief synopsis of each potential opponent is offered and, if they fancy their chances, players can put down a wager accordingly.

Although not finalised in the version we were shown, the betting system seemed incredibly straightforward, and we saw no indication that there would be any confusing gambling parlance to decipher.

When an elite soldier is encountered and identified, remote cameras activate to beam the ensuing skirmish to the viewers. Players then have 60 seconds to eliminate their opponent (generally achieved by finding their vulnerable spot). If successful, they then automatically bank the winnings.

There is more to BoS than just pointless savagery. Besides the killing of elite soldiers there are objectives to be completed, and a storyline - albeit one that sounds a little lame - gives reason to the protagonist's seemingly insatiable bloodlust.

With an emphasis on betting, money is consequently an essential commodity in BoS - even more so, given that the developer has chosen not to incorporate pick-ups. Instead, armour, health, weapons, upgrades and ammo must all be bought from terminals scattered throughout the levels.

With all available upgrades the weapon-count will exceed 40 variations and, obviously, the more money you've got to spend the more powerful weapons you will be able to purchase.

Players will also have the chance to strap themselves into a mech vehicle and upgrade to the ultimate weapon - the exoskeleton.

Mercenaries can be recruited for a price and, besides providing extra firepower, they bring additional, individual skills that can prove beneficial - such as being able to repair armour.

Online multiplayer will also utilise the betting system, allowing players to place a wager against other opponents before they enter the fray. A ranking system will ensure that inexperienced players aren't mismatched against far superior soldiers.

Only time will tell whether the ideas Kylotonn is implementing in its current work in progress will be enough to make it stand out from the FPS crowd but, if it fulfils its potential, we'd say it could be well worth a flutter.

Bet on Soldier will be released for PC in August