Mortal Shell is a promising new action-RPG heavily inspired by From Software's family of Souls titles, and it's coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC later this year.
Newly formed developer Cold Symmetry, together with publisher PlayStack, revealed the game today. Mortal Shell was originally a demo game called Dungeonhaven, which was first shown in 2018, but its scope seems to have been expanded to match its new name.
You play as a humanoid vessel exploring a rotten world inhabited by monsters and men gone mad, your ultimate goal to "track down hidden sanctums of devout followers" and "harvest the sacred glands." To defeat the baddies that stand in your way, you'll need to inhabit the titular Mortal Shells of past warriors and gain their abilities. I gather that these Shells are sort of like classes, but it sounds like there are a whole bunch of them, which suggests they're highly specialized.
As if its trailer wasn't a dead giveaway, Cold Symmetry says Mortal Shell was "built upon the ruthless traditions of the Soulslike genre." Combat centers around dodging and parrying attacks, and like Sekiro, it even has a counter system, complete with a red marker. On the RPG side of things, you can strengthen your bond with each Shell to upgrade your abilities and weapons, and Cold Symmetry says the path forward is non-linear.
Those are the basics of Souls games, which are all well and good, but it's the other stuff that makes Mortal Shell so exciting. It's got a cool magic system, for one, judging from the flashy ice and fire attacks shown in the trailer. I'm also digging the variety of enemies - we've got dudes in armor, aquatic behemoths, bloodthirsty beasts, and a surprising number of monsters with swords for arms. Its world and trailer also carry a grotesque horror aesthetic, which is oddly refreshing after so many starry-eyed fantasy RPGs.
Cold Symmetry itself is also interesting. Mortal Shell is the studio's first game, but it's staffed by industry veterans. Co-founder Anton Gonzalez was a senior environment artist at Sucker Punch, and co-founder Vitaly Bulgarov was a senior cinematic artist at Blizzard. The studio's core team is just 15 people, so making Mortal Shell "felt like crossing an ocean on a paddle board," the studio's co-founders said in a joint statement.
Mortal Shell is scheduled to launch in Q3 2020, or sometime between July 1 and September 30. You can find more details on its official site.
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