We knew that this was coming, with games like Escape from Tarkov and Hunt Showdown being consistently popular over a number of years it was only a matter of time before we started to see many more games popping up in the extraction shooter genre. To be honest I thought the boom would’ve happened a little sooner. However, it seems like 2024 is going to be the year for the genre. We’ve already seen a few AAA developers try and carve out a piece of the market for their own with Call of Duty and Battlefield each attempting their version. However, neither seemed to gain much traction. It seems to be that the teams dedicated solely to making a game within this genre are the most promising-looking games – who would’ve thought….
That being said, not all of them will be great, and I’m sure many won’t succeed. The Cycle: Frontier is one such example that, at launch, seemed solid enough. However, it quickly lost a lot of its player base, as well as widespread reports of hackers not being dealt with. Just over a year later the game was shut down.
With that in mind, I’m sharing just some of the extraction shooters that we should be getting this year.
Road to Vostok
Road to Vostok has gone through a mighty upheaval over the last few months. Originally being built on Unity and following the controversial moves they made last year where they announced that they would charge for sales of games. The developer decided enough was enough and moved the entire game engine to Godot. After 600 hours of porting the game, it is now running on an entirely new engine and looking fantastic. Road to Vostok is a little different from most extraction shooters in that it is fully single-player. I have actually written about the game in full before so you can check that out to know more. There is still a long way to go in the development cycle, but we have a public demo that showcases some of the game’s mechanics and it’s shaping up nicely.
Beautiful Light is probably the most well-known extraction shooter that is set to release this year. The developers have held a number of closed play tests of which we’ve seen some good chunks of gameplay from some content creators. With some fantastic environments, detailed weapons, and intense PVPVE combat it is looking excellent. With SCP-style monsters as well as other players to fend off you’re going to be tested hard in this game. You’ll mostly be completing quests and collecting artifacts, However, there is an added twist of being able to invade other player’s raids as one of the monstrous anomalies.
Gray Zone Warfare
Explore 42km² of the fictional Democratic Republic of Lamang following a mysterious event that saw the entire area put under quarantine and almost all civilians evacuated. Gray Zone Warfare is a lot more open-world than most extraction shooters and features a persistent game world that you can drop in and out of anytime. Unlike most games in the genre that have timed ‘raids,’ this world will continue to evolve even when you’re not playing.
The Cycle: Frontier did something similar, but because of the size of the map I’m not sure it worked so well. With Gray Zone, the map is huge and the player count is fairly low – I believe it was around 24, but I can’t seem to find where I heard that. That means given the size of the map, player encounters will be a little more limited. Meaning there should be more focus on PVE. However, with the threat of PVP still ever present you can expect it to still be a tense affair.
Gray Zone Warfare has a focus on realism and more hardcore elements with complex healing systems. Realistic weapons with truckloads of customisation. T
This game is looking fantastic.
It’s not just shooters that are muscling in on the extraction genre. Melee-focused extraction games are also popping up. Project Crawl is one example looking for a slice. Sharing some obvious similarities to Dark and Darker. Project Crawl has a fantasy and medieval setting. Delve into dungeons and explore the ruins of forgotten keeps.
Vanquish fearsome monsters, find valuable artifacts and treasure, loot legendary weapons, and go toe to toe with others trying to do the same. Choose from rogues to wizards, humans to elves.
Most games with combat are defined by how good that combat is. However, I feel like melee-focused games are under even more scrutiny for how good the combat is. Information on the game has been a little light recently, hopefully, we will get some news soon.
Back in June of last year, we got a few days to jump in and try Arc Raiders. I was impressed. The atmosphere of the game was excellent, the visuals were great, and the gameplay was solid. It wasn’t perfect and it was clear that some work was still needed. However, it left me wanting to play more. Since then, things have gone very, very quiet. Nothing on X(Twitter), nothing on Discord. I hope that’s a good quiet and that they’re squirreling away on making an awesome game. And not a bad quiet where they’re about to say it’s cancelled or something.
Being 3rd person Arc Raiders felt a little more casual than other extraction shooters which in turn made it feel a bit more accessible. For some reason that 3rd person perspective always gives off an action-adventure vibe rather than being a hardcore shooter. Which I’m fine with. Sometimes it’s good to have something a little more accessible and fun. Hopefully, we will hear some news soon about the whereabouts of the game and the next potential testing period we can jump into.
I’m sure Embark Studios are busy with The Finals at the moment – which has had a great launch. Best let’s hear some more about this, please!
Nakwon: Lost Paradise
Remember when you couldn’t move for zombie survival games? Well, there’s another on the way, but this one is also an extraction game. Nakwon: Lost Paradise is set in post-apocalyptic Seoul, where guns are scarce you will be trying to survive against deadly zombies and other desperate survivors.
To be honest, I’m feeling a bit cautious about this one, but I will remain open-minded. Some of the gameplay that has been shown so far has been a little rough around the edges. That being said, the atmosphere and setting look good. It’s nice to see a game not set in the US or some version of Eastern Europe. Furthermore, due to the lower amount of guns, melee is the focus for combat, but that means zombies will get close. Therefore, it looks like you can get overrun fairly easily. Hopefully, making the gameplay feel dangerous yet rewarding. It’s also coming from MINTROCKET – who made Dave the Diver. Which, whilst being a totally different game should mean that it gets good treatment.
The Division Heartland
The Dark Zone in The Division was very cool. It was full of atmosphere, tension and action. Ever since it was released I’ve always thought a standalone version was a no-brainer. However, the best part about the Dark Zone was the atmosphere and roaming around New York in the dark with snow falling all around you. Can Heartland capture that same feeling?
Heartland is set in the fictional town of Silver Creek somewhere in middle America. With both PVP and PVE at the centre you will embark on missions, complete quests, gather supplies, and more. With both day and night cycles, the nighttime is where the tougher enemies will lurk and most likely the best rewards.
The good thing about Heartland is that you kind of already know if you’ll like the gameplay loop as it will be very similar to The Division games – which I mostly enjoyed. For me, it’s just that feeling of risk vs reward. Will they be able to get that right? The fact that some enemies were super tanky or the fact that some builds made you shred through other players in split seconds is where my concerns lie. Can it be balanced enough to make it challenging, accessible, and fun.
Then there is a new PUBG game apparently on the way that will be an extraction shooter. We’ve already seen that they can make a very competitive battle royale. Even after 5+ years, PUBG still pulls in hundreds of thousands a day. There really isn’t much to say about the extraction shooter in the works apart from it’s called ‘Project Black Budget’ and is meant to be released this year in some form. We’ve not seen any gameplay or even any screenshots or artwork as of yet. Maybe that 2024 date will slip?
That’s just the beginning
There are loads more extraction shooters coming this year and next. Marathon – Bungie’s next game is set to release probably in 2025 and the trailer we say is dripping with all kinds of style. There are plenty of others coming this year too. It’s safe to say that this year is going to be packed with games in this genre. Whether that’s a good thing or not is down to you. Personally, I enjoy the genre and am excited to see many of these games. I don’t think that they will all succeed or be good. But time will tell!