Insurgency: Sandstorm, the latest entry in the popular multiplayer shooter series, will no longer feature a story mode at launch, developer New World Interactive has announced.

Sandstorm was revealed at the start of 2016, and continues Insurgency's focus on tactical, multiplayer first-person combat. It was to be the first game in the series to feature a proper story mode, with support for up to four-player co-op.

In a new forum post, however, Michael Tsarouhas, Sandstorm's newly-appointed lead game designer, explained that the single-player and co-operative story mode (which told the story of a woman enslaved by radical insurgents in Iraq, and can be seen in the trailer below) had been cancelled for release, "due to its high production requirements and our commitment to deliver to our fans in 2018". Story mode "will be considered again at a later date."

"The story was a very exciting and new opportunity for us as a team, but we felt we had to make a choice. At this moment it's more important to us that we deliver a full multiplayer and coop experience that improves on Insurgency; one that is true to our style and what we feel we do best. We know to some of you this decision may be unexpected, and we're sad to share this news, but this was a shift our team felt we needed to make."

Tsarouhas also confirmed that New World Interactive has now moved away from its original plan to portray contemporary real world conflicts in Sandstorm. "We actually found this approach restrictive of our design and, admittedly, sensitive", he explained, "Instead, our conflict is fictionalized, but draws inspiration from various modern real world insurgencies [...] in regards to environment, gameplay, characters, vehicles, equipment, weapons, etc.

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"Having this approach allows us to focus our resources on creating a fun and atmospheric hardcore multiplayer experience. It also provides robust options for character customization, post-release level content, community modding, and other aspects."

Although story mode is off the table for now, several multiplayer and co-op modes are planned for Sandstorm's release: Push, Firefight, and Capture the Base for Versus, plus Checkpoint, Operation, and Outpost for Coop. There's more information about these modes in the forum post, alongside plenty of screens showing off locations, vehicles, and weapons.

Insurgency: Sandstorm is due to launch on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 sometime this year, and a Closed Alpha is scheduled to begin on PC soon. Registration is now open to anyone interested in getting in on the pre-release action.

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Matt Wales

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