Many new IPs from smaller developers were showcased at the E3 PC Gaming Showcase. Pioner, a first-person shooter RPG, was one of them, and it may have gotten some influence from a franchise shown off earlier today.
During Microsoft's E3 2021 presentation, the STALKER 2 teaser was front and center, but it isn't the only RPG set in post-apocalyptic Eastern Europe. Pioner may not have the same budget or production value as STALKER, but the vibe is unmistakably similar.
While analogies to STALKER 2 are unavoidable, Pioner appears to take inspiration from the more supernatural Metro series. The flying female with luminous eyes in the trailer looks more like post-nuclear Moscow than the Zone. It's unclear what she or the other "Children of the Island" are, but learning more about them appears to be a significant element of the game's plot. Her narration implies that the conflict between the Children and humans stems from miscommunication rather than hate. Metro players will be familiar with this theme as well. "What price are you prepared to pay to discover your happiness?" she asks the player, which would also be appropriate in Metro.
The weapon customization mechanism used by Pioner in the trailer also has Metro Exodus vibes. The labels are all in Russian, but it appears like the user can change the stock, sights, barrel, magazine, and grip of their weapon. Not to mention the fact that Pioner's weaponry share the same jumbled-together appearance as many of Metro's most renowned weaponry.
The presence of enemy soldiers dressed in hazmat suits also suggests that some regions are potentially hazardous or radioactive. However, it's unclear whether this is a game mechanic or simply a matter of aesthetics. There are also conversational options and what appear to be co-op multiplayer options in the game. It also seems to be an open-world game with a range of environments. Ruined cities, luscious forests, and grotesquely altered bogs are featured in the trailer.
Pioner retains the mood of STALKER, as well as its tendency for odd mutations, such as a terrifying cross between a human skeleton and a praying mantis. Giant worms and seemingly peaceful drifting jellyfish are among the other species seen in the trailer. While the game's people are a mix of modern commandos, post-apocalyptic scavengers, and tribal cultures, the game's human characters combine contemporary commandos, post-apocalyptic scavengers, and tribal societies.
Pioner's E3 trailer, unfortunately, does not include a release date. Because the game is still in pre-alpha, gamers won't be able to explore the Island for at least a few years. That, though, maybe for the best. If Pioner isn't released alongside STALKER 2 next year, it'll have a better chance.