Back at last year’s E3 – an event that now feels like a lifetime ago – I had a chat with V1 founder Marcus Lehto to pin down what Disintegration was all about. Due to the game’s dystopian sci-fi setting and Lehto’s background as the co-creator of Halo, I came away thinking Disintegration’s narrative had the potential to explore some fascinating topics, including post-humanism and the threats to our world today.
In the end, Disintegration doesn’t ever delve too far into these ideas: but what I didn’t expect was a silly yet genuinely convincing shooter hidden beneath the surface.
Disintegration bills itself as a first-person shooter with real-time strategy elements, half campaign and half multiplayer, set in a future version of Earth ravaged by every bad thing under the sun. Climate change, pandemic, war – all things so alien to us here in 2020… The premise is that swathes of the Earth’s population have chosen to “integrate” in order to survive the harsh conditions: a process of transplanting someone’s brain into a robot body to preserve their consciousness. It was intended to be a temporary measure, but a nefarious group called the Rayonne decided integration was actually the future of humanity. The motives for which aren’t really established at the start of the campaign, unfortunately, but at least you can tell they’re bad guys from their glowing red eyes. As Romer Shoal – a celebrity who previously convinced people to integrate – you and your band of robot outlaws team up to take down the Rayonne using a combination of your Gravcycle (a weaponised hoverbike) and ground units, each of whom boast special abilities and can be commanded to attack specific enemies.