Red Faction: Guerrilla dev’s barmy physics sandbox Instruments Of Destruction leaves early access in May

Do you remember the noughties fan warz over which game had the best terrain destruction physics? The victors of that particular forum skirmish were probably DICE’s Battlefield games, with their woozy Frostbitten cinematography and dependable multiplayer tactic of having a whole team focus fire on a single capture point, gradually reducing it to stumps of foundation. But leftier souls may have preferred Volition’s (RIP) Red Faction series, the third of which, Red Faction: Guerrilla, featured a granular demolition engine that you bash apart whole bases with a sledgehammer.

Well, Guerrilla’s lead tech designer Luke Schneider is still in the architecture-ruining business: his and Radiangames’s latest, the hopefully self-explanatory Instruments Of Destruction, leaves Steam early access on May 10th, 2024. Here’s the 1.0 trailer.

Cover image for YouTube videoInstruments of Destruction – 1.0 Release Date Trailer

Instruments Of Destruction casts you as a test pilot for Sharpe Industries, who must travel to remote islands and outposts and level any buildings thereon using a range of excitable prototype vehicles, all of which appear to have been designed by Homer Simpson. There’s one I’m going to summarise as a “buzzsaw bouquet”, a tractor that looks like a centipede, and a kind of tripoddy turret on loan from Command & Conquer.

Maps, meanwhile, consist of exquisitely balanced arrangements of mixed materials that crumple, burst apart and teeter over in naturalistic ways. Each has a story objective and a high score table and a range of hidden, bonus objectives. If the game’s prefabbed Instruments aren’t Destructive enough, you can also create your own vehicles in the Build & Destroy campaign.

Instruments Of Destruction has been having a ripe old time in Steam early access since launch in March 2022. It’s sitting pretty with a Very Positive user review consensus at the time of writing. The developers have written a lengthy post about the game’s development which explores comparisons with the very similar Besiege and the rather older Blast Corps on N64. The post also details what the 1.0 version adds – here’s an excerpt:

Version 1.0 will include a main campaign with around 50 missions and a separate high-score challenge for each mission. In that campaign, which is designed to be enjoyed by players of all ages, there’s no vehicle building required. The secondary campaign, which focuses on teaching the vehicle building mode and more puzzle-style objectives, will have around 25 missions (and 25 challenges). Plus, Sandbox mode will always be there for your mayhem needs.

Other big additions include professional voice acting for the main 2 characters in the game, full text localization into 12 languages, a few new graphical features, and more optimizations. And of course there will be a large number of bug fixes and other minor improvements to vehicle building and some vehicle parts.

If the early access version gets your motor running, you might want to hold till May before buying, nonetheless. As the developers considerately point out, the game will get a 15% discount on release, and your campaign save data will be reset for version 1.0.

Question for the thread: what is the strangest implementation of physics you’ve ever wrestled with in a game? Mine could be A Slower Speed of Light, in which players pick up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments and thus, make visible the effects of special relativity. Sure, it’s not quite tearing shit up with a sledgehammer but it’s got a certain charm.

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