I went into a recent off-hands demo of Teardown thinking that destructible environments were the next big hurdle for video games to tackle. Seemingly now over the uncanny valley with facial animations that were once a industry-wide issue, how do video games take the next step into realism?
But then the developers posed an interesting question back at me: If I was playing a linear FPS and a grenade I threw destroyed the one corridor I could take to my next objective, how would I finish the game? The short answer is I wouldn’t be able to.
That thought process was brought into Teardown: Create a fully destructible world where the objective can still be completed. Teardown offers those environments in a sandbox situation; go into a scenario like a wrecking ball knowing that there will be no penalty for the chaos you cause. And my word does it work well.
After releasing version 1.0 on Steam in Apr 2022, it sits there with an ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ rating. Now it is coming to current-gen consoles where it is hoping to receive similar plaudits. After seeing it in action on Xbox Series X, I don’t see any reason why not.
Teardown is a physics-based heist game where you must perform various tasks in a fully destructible world. During the presentation, we were shown both the campaign and the sandbox side of the game, and both left us wanting more.
The campaign is largely based around paying back a debt by any means necessary. Initially, I went into Teardown thinking it would be simply a case of causing as much carnage as possible, so the presence of a fully fleshed-out story is a surprise. Whilst still able to cause as much carnage as possible.
Three levels were shown off for the campaign: one seemed like a traditional heist level you will play a few of, then the same level had some hidden energy drink barrels we needed to commandeer whilst a tornado ripped through the space and then finally a tropical level where we needed to blow up a boat. Already you can feel the variation in gameplay, and add to the fact you can achieve these goals in any method you like should give you a sense of the scope on offer here.
The heist levels look like they require the most planning for obvious reasons: as soon as you pick up the first item, you have 60 seconds to pick the rest up and make your escape. Using the ability to destroy everything in the space allows you to create the optimum route and make a quick getaway.
Getting from A to B is completely up to you, as is how you choose to create your path. Teardown has a plethora of tools for you to cause your destruction; it may be something like the more humble shotgun to blast a few holes in buildings and such, or the throwable pipe bomb or even a rocket launcher. Cars can also be driven for maximum destruction with minimal effort.
And there are also some more unusual tools at your disposal. During the tropical level where you needed to destroy the boat I asked if it was possible to spawn in a T-Rex onto the ship to make light work of it. It was quickly agreed that it was a good idea, and a few seconds later the boat was toast.
Ok, so the T-rex isn’t an official ‘weapon’ in Teardown. Instead it is one of the many mods that have been added to the PC version, but will be available on the console version around launch time. These mods will take the form of free downloads for console players, and the T-rex is just one of the first batch to be arriving.
We were also shown round a fully realised medieval setting that is just as destructible and the dog companion that will follow you around and you can even play fetch with it. Unlike you, the dog cannot be squished under collapsing buildings. You however, need to be careful about where to be standing at all times.
These mods can be used in the main campaign and also in the sandbox mode. We were only shown a brief amount in the sandbox but this feels like a mode where you are best experimenting with it yourself. And besides, with the variation already on offer in the campaign, you may not need to play around in the sandbox.
Other DLC is also in the pipeline, including racing events and monster trucks. I don’t need to tell you how fun these will be in a destructible environment.
But there is also another major reason to have an eye on Teardown. Or rather, both eyes if you can. Simply put, it is flipping gorgeous.
Voxel artwork may not immediately sound the most thrilling, but Teardown also features full ray tracing at up to 120fps. And honestly, seeing the particle effects of fires with ray tracing illuminate a crumbling wall is stunning. I had to resort to watching the demo on my phone as Discord on my laptop decided to not work at the exact moment it needed to, and even then I could see how fantastic Teardown is looking.
It is a game that doesn’t need to look this good when the gameplay is looking so much fun, but it is an added bonus that it is.
And, best of all, you won’t have long to wait with Teardown arriving on current-gen consoles on 15th November. As is tradition now, it will come in three flavours: Standard, Deluxe and Ultimate editions. Standard is fairly self-explanatory with just the base game. Deluxe includes the Time Campers DLC available the same day and the upcoming Folkrace DLC, the aforementioned racing themed content. Finally, the Ultimate edition includes all that, plus two more unannounced DLCs due for release before the end of 2024, as well as an exclusive Quilez R0113R Robot. Crash, bang, wallop.
Teardown is shaping up to be a very satisfying game. Who doesn’t want to chill out after a hard day at work and just destroy some stuff? But it also looks like a game that will take full advantage of current generation hardware, and how many times have we really been able to say that in the near three years of having the Xbox Series X|S? If you’re also excited for Teardown, sound off in the comments below!
Give the trailer below a watch if you want to know more.
And huge thanks go out to Saber Interactive and Tuxedo Labs for the Teardown presentation.