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HomeFeaturesArt & EntertainmentLate to the Game(s): Waiting to play Crab Champions

Late to the Game(s): Waiting to play Crab Champions

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

Ever thought to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be fun to run around as a shotgun-wielding crab, blowing other crabs into baader meat?” 

No? 

But now that the image has been planted in your noggin, I bet you kind of want to. 

That’s the problem with Crab Champions, the promised third-person shooter and racing game (!?!) from Irish developer Noisestorm. Now that I know about it, I really want to play it. But when the game releases, if ever, remains to be seen. 

The entire history of Crab Champions is kind of odd. The game announcement came along a year after the release of a song and music video for a track called “Crab Rave” from Noisestorm – the stage name of Irish DJ and producer Eoin O’Broin. O’Broin wrote and produced the song and made the music video for it in Unreal Engine, a popular tool for video game design and computer animation, and released it on April 1, 2018. From there the song and video gained popularity, and exactly one year later, on April 1, 2019, O’Broin announced the video game. 

In the game you play as a crab in one of three game modes: PvE (player vs environment) Survival, with up to four players working together in online co-op; Racing mode, where you can compete against up to three friends, or your own best time, as you run, slide, and jump through different environments; and a PvP (player vs player) Duel mode, with 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 duel options allowing up to six players to compete together online. 

Many thought the whole thing was an elaborate April Fool’s Joke, but O’Broin insisted it was a real game. It was greenlit and has a page on Steam, where you can add it to your wishlist and request access to the beta when it opens. 

But O’Broin either overestimated his ability to produce and deliver the quality he hoped for by the deadline he sat for himself, or he’s still running a long joke on us all. 

A release date of August 2020 was initially announced for the game, but O’Broin has since pushed that back and, more than a year later, we’re still waiting. 

As he notes on his website for the game, crabchampions.com, this game isn’t being released by a major studio, with multiple people working on it. It’s a labor of love for one developer – one who also has a full-time career as a musician. It doesn’t seem like the Irish artist is one to compromise his principles either, no matter how many people are asking him to take their money for a pre-order on the game. 

He has refused to take pre-orders, and has insisted that he will sell the game for $9 for the complete experience. 

“I want the $9 price tag to give owners the full game: no DRM, ads, pay to win, (or) paid skins,” he writes on the website. There will be different skins, unlocked by complete achievements or in-game challenges, or using secret codes. 

He’s even creating an entirely new soundtrack for the game so that anyone streaming it won’t run into copyright issues. Though his song “Crab Rave” helped inspire and drive interest in the game, he said, if he used that song or other already published songs in the game his record label could conceivably file a copyright claim against anyone streaming gameplay.

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess if the game will ever be finished and published. O’Broin wouldn’t be the first to have grand ideas that never saw completion. You can just take a look at my Kickstarter backing history for a rundown of promising ideas that never made it to final product. 

But I hope he releases it someday. 

The last time I was this taken by the visual charm of a game it was the abysmal Naughty Bear. That game, whose charms wore off after the first chapter, has the distinction of being the only game I’ve ever returned to GameStop. But while that game got really boring, really fast, Crab Champions looks more promising. It already has more variety built into the gameplay, and the online co-op or competition adds the kind of variability that can keep a game like this engaging. 

The developer has also promised new map updates and content after the game has released. If he decides to open content and map creation to users, there need never be any shortage of new content to keep players interested. 

I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m intrigued, but not so invested I’ll be super disappointed if the game never releases. Not as much as I will be if it does eventually release and there isn’t a crab cracker melee weapon, and/or some kind of butter-based ammunition. That would be the true crime. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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