Chambara is the Samurai Jack game of our cubo-futurist dreams

Warships are not something to take lightly. Whole sections of treaties have been dedicated to dictating how many a nation may possess. Naval warfare has been responsible for the rise and fall of armies and empires. But this is what makes “dazzle camouflage” all the more amazing.

Operating on the principle that it was better to confuse an opponent than to hide from them, dazzle painting was the painting of warships with abstract zebra-like stripes in order to make it difficult to ascertain range, speed, and direction. Each ship was given a unique Cubo-Futurist paint job in the hopes that merchant fleets which adopted such camo might be better protected during World War I.

Whether or not the camouflage was actually effective is a minor point of historical debate—most claim it was ineffective at best. But artist (and dazzle camouflage inventor) Norman Wilkinson says that what dazzle camo really meant to do was make it difficult for an enemy to take up a position against it.

This is what I imagine that Chambara will be like based on the new beta footage. Named after a genre of Japanese samurai films, which translates literally to “samurai sword fighting,” Chambara is “a local multiplayer stealth-deathmatch game with only two colors.” There is no “camo index” or rating, just the stark tones that allow you and up to four players to “seamlessly camouflage [yourself] with the environment.”

The 3D nature of the game allows for each angle to be considered as you traverse the maps. Shifting angles and perspectives allow players to simultaneously hide and expose their enemies as they move around. Much like dazzle camo, the object is not only, or necessarily, to hide from your opponent, but also to make it difficult for them to take up position against you.

Developed by team ok for the 2014 Dare to be Digital competition, and inspired by Genndy Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack, Chambara aims to be a fast paced and highly reflexive arena game. Striking down an opponent in one stroke has never looked cleaner or starker.