2011's Brink was supposed to be Splash Damage's magnum opus. Stepping away from their lauded Enemy Territory series, Brink was a radical new title bursting with ideas. SMART movement! Context-sensitive objectives! Dynamic maps! Multiplayer narrative! It was a tantalising prospect. Yet for all its ambition, Brink proved a misfire, simply because it wasn't much fun to play. It was too slow, too lightweight, and its map design seemed to funnel players into irresolvable battles of attrition that rendered many of its ideas impotent.
At Splash Damage, the studio famed for its long line of competitive, collaborative shooters, there's always been an odd and irresistible blend of cockiness and nerdishness. When its founder and CEO Paul Wedgwood takes a group of journalists on a tour of its new studio, located within a newly gentrified area of the Bromley borders it's for so many years called home - "They've cobbled the streets and put in cast iron street lamps and made it harder to park," he says - he stops for a prolonged moment to bask in the glory of the company's vast banks of servers. Through all the jargon he spouts, you sense a great amount of pride in a developer that takes having fun very seriously.