The final bit of the narrative content in Chapter 1 required us to erect five Arcane Barometers around Aegis Towers in the map. What I appreciated about the way they’ve approached quests in Spellbreak is that it doesn’t change the game flow at a core level. Even if you don’t care about the quests, these missions are adding new variations to the map that fundamentally iterate on the flow of a match with new mechanics.
Since the quest content doesn’t take place as an instanced piece of dialogue, a separate cutscene, or take you out of things at all, it feels much more organic than previous efforts at the same topic I’ve seen. Granted, it’s still a very basic implementation. The map-altering narrative events of games like Fortnite arguably accomplish a similar ongoing story goal, but nothing feels like it’s part of a crafted universe with its own lore there. It’s all a bunch of tie-ins to other IP. With Spellbreak, they’ve crafted a unique setting with its own worldbuilding.As expected, you’ll earn rewards like the typical badges, banners, cosmetics, and so on for completing quests, but notably none of the actual story content is in the Chapter Pass. It’s all free for everyone, similar to the rollout for the four-part Prologue series. Instead, when you purchase the Chapter Pass you simply unlock more quests that are more similar to challenges that thread in more rewards and more milestones to hit, similar to a Battle Pass.
The goal here is to give players reasons to keep coming back to Spellbreak by telling an ongoing story, over time, that gradually adds more flavor and (crucially) content to the game world. In a lot of ways it’s similar to how MMOs dole out updates, but trimmed down and adapted to a match-based battle royale setting.
One of my only issues with the game when I reviewed it in September was that it didn’t have a Battle Pass of any kind and lacked depth in terms of its cosmetic unlocks and progression. The Chapter system seems poised to fix both of those problems and will certainly add plenty of reasons to keep coming back for more. Hopefully it’s a concept more battle royale games adopt going forward.
David Jagneaux is a freelance writer for IGN. Talk video games with him on Twitter at @David_Jagneaux.