ReCore downplays its robot dog, which is all we care about

When ReCore’s first trailer premiered at E3 2015, the protagonist Joule and her scrappy robot dog charmed everyone with their expeditious tag-team adventure. Evoking Rey’s lone scavenger vibe from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), the brief blast of combat at the trailer’s end promised creative, cooperative action—and a canine companion with the trick of interchangeable bodies, so you never need worry about the dog dying. Joule and co. seemed sweet, despite their attacking prowess, and the idea of an open desert to romp through and explore was tantalizing.

weird, hidden garages full of violence

Pre-release material has since hinted at a marginally different tone for the full game. The Gamescom trailer looked like it was taking Joule to new adventures via those Star Wars droid factories, but despite their grandness, they didn’t feel out of place in the middle of a desert. The very first ReCore teaser showed hollow metal scraps scattered across the wastes and filled with dangerous things: it makes sense that later material would explore this further.

The launch trailer, admittedly, does do that. It centers these weird, hidden garages full of violence to such an extent that, to someone who had just watched the earlier trailers, it would be almost unrecognizable as the same game. Joule’s sweet robot pets are featured primarily as vehicles and weapons. She darts among gunshots and lasers and aimless explosions, a tiny slingshotting thing drowned out by the startling voice of the trailer’s narrator, who attempts to explain the situation Joule finds herself in, and says he is her father.

And so it is revealed that ReCore has a plot. It checks off the trope-laden boxes of missing family member; vague yet ominous tragedy; a man with a deep voice about whom you are pressured to care. There’s barely enough information to tell what the story is, much less how well executed it would be, but it’s permanently changed ReCore from “a game about a girl and her robots” into “a game about a girl and her robots, and constant combat, and her dad.” Time will tell if the second option can match the charm and allure of the first.

ReCore comes out for PC and Xbox One on September 13th. Find out more on its website.