THE FINALS: The Most Exciting Game Out

  As The Game Awards was streaming across the world on December 7th, a trailer for a new three-person shooter game debuted that piqued fans’ interest with entirely destructible environments and real-time physics. Best of all? The game was available to download an hour later.

    THE FINALS, created by the small development team Embark Studios, employed a bold strategy for its release; releasing the game during such a highly publicized event without much fanfare or advertising beforehand seems like a surefire way to have an underwhelming player count. However, this was immediately shown to be wrong, with 200,000 people playing the game on Steam alone, not accounting for those on a console such as a PlayStation or an Xbox.

The game’s lore mirrors something like the Hunger Games, with three-person teams competing against one another for fame and fortune in the distant future. Each game a player is in is, in-universe, a television show with seasons and sponsors backing the show. The in-game maps consist of real-world settings like Las Vegas, Seoul, and Monaco, where teams look to deposit money with the two teams with the most at the end of the round winning. 

  This may be too soon to predict, but THE FINALS has the potential to outpace more popular games such as Apex Legends and Valorant. With such a small development team, pressing issues that need to be addressed can be quickly fixed, with one example being “nukes.” Players would attach explosives onto one another and then throw the makeshift “nuke” toward an enemy, dealing enough damage to kill entire teams in one go. Embark Studios quickly fixed this by adding weight to the explosives so that the more they were attached to an object, the heavier it was, therefore limiting the combo’s reach and ultimately damaging it.

Despite these positives, one glaring issue has been noticed in the game: the use of AI voice actors. Being a “game show,” commentators will talk over the match, announcing things like kills and stealing money from other teams. Many have pointed out that these voices are artificial intelligence-generated, raising concerns about jobs and ethics. Sven Grundberg, Embark Studios’ communications director, confirmed these were AI, but shed some light on the process as well, “Making games without actors isn’t an end goal for Embark,” he said in an interview with Axios. The voices are “based on a mix of professional voice actors and temporary voices from Embark employees,” with all involved being fairly compensated. Overall, this should be seen as a net win, as it allows quick lines to be put into the game without much hassle, and nobody is actively harmed by the voices since actors are paid.

 THE FINALS is steadily gaining popularity and looks to get even better. The company funding Embark Studio has stated that THE FINALS will “run a marathon at a sprint’s pace,” a term that promises good things for the future.

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