During our demo of F.E.A.R. 3, the chaps from Day 1 made a few allusions to the Horde mode in Gears of War 2 - hinting that they hope this game will capture the same kind of "us versus them" camaraderie, and prove to be as popular.
There are definitely similarities between Horde mode and F***ing Run. They may not use the same mechanics, but they both generate the same feeling of four players struggling together against brutal AI. The major difference here is the tense, nipping-at-your-heels anxiety that can only come from having death just two steps behind you.
F.E.A.R. has always been a series grounded in reality but laced with supernatural overtones. The weapons are familiar, for example - basic assault rifles, shotguns, pistols and so on. Shooter fans might groan, simply because of the wealth of assault rifle-based games already on the market, but it's a good fit here.
When you're attempting to change paradigms to such a degree, it's important to players a firm base to begin from. Especially when you're thrusting them into a mode they don't understand and a level they've never seen before with people they don't know, and a giant wall which is trying to kill them. Being able to get to grips with your weapon helps ease you into the experience.
The weapons feel satisfying to use, too, with a solid kickback and response. But that won't do much to encourage players to work together and allow themselves to become interdependent. To make this mode enjoyable, Day 1 will need to include some important tools which promote teamwork. Otherwise it could end up like so many other modes of its type - left on the shelf as players find themselves giving up after only a few poor and short-lived matches.
The F.E.A.R. series has hit its share of stumbling blocks in the past. Fans have complained about the same old scare tactics being reused ad nauseum. The good news is that F***ing Run suggests Day 1 knows it's time to ramp up the ingenuity in order to keep the franchise relevant. But doing that via a brand new type of co-operative multiplayer mode is a gamble. Here's hoping it pays off.