khaimeira in predecessor
Image via Omeda Studios

Predecessor preview: A community-driven MOBA everyone can enjoy

A true Paragon successor.

Predecessor is a fabulous third-person MOBA that gets you right into the action from the very first moment of every match. From there, it’s a glorious process of learning and mastering mechanics that never stops.

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In 2016, Epic Games released Paragon, a third-person MOBA, for PC and PS4. It was extremely well received because it was just completely different. In a genre that League of Legends dominates, here was a game that seemed to prioritize fun for all players instead of only those who knew how to main one lane, a hero, or lurk in the jungle.

Sadly, though, it didn’t last. Epic Games shut Paragon down in 2018. The developer’s final move was to release all the assets and allow anyone to pick them up and build the game themselves if they wanted to. That’s exactly what Omeda Studios has done with Predecessor, and it feels even better today than it did all those years ago.

Closer to the action

I’m far from well-versed in the MOBA genre, but I have certainly thrown a hundred hours into more than my fair share of them. I understand the appeal of the top-down tactical view and why it’s important to see as much as possible, really I do. But, for me, the thing that sets Predecessor apart from the competition is the way it gets you close up and personal with the action.

Of course, Smite does this, too, but there’s something about Predecessor; the slick movements of every hero and the way every hit feels meaty as if you’re genuinely dealing physical damage to something inside your screen. MOBAs boast epic stories and characters with tonnes of lore, but it’s only in this game you can feel all that brought to life because you’re pulled into the same world as the hero you’re controlling.

Every physical hit feels like a hit, every shot like a shot, and all your powers and abilities feel like you’re gathering otherworldly energy to cause damage or buff your team. This only gets better over the course of a match, as heroes get faster and grow in strength. Each character truly does feel unique, and thanks to the lengthy nature of the game’s progression system, you’re able to learn them all over time, finding your firm favorites along the way.

It’s not just the way things feel, though. The visuals in Predecessor are stunning. The way each character moves and the effects of their attacks and animations just make for spectacles at every turn. Even if all you’re doing is attacking minions and a tower, particles will fly everywhere that make your efforts look like they matter—which, of course, they always do in a team-based game like this.

grux attacking tower in predecessor
Screenshot by Destructoid

Matches play out much how you’d expect: there are three lanes and two teams. You’ve got to rush the right lane and take out enemy minions and towers until you reach their base and destroy it. It’s in the details that every match becomes unique, though. Every hero brings with them a new twist on the team formula, whether it’s one who needs to level up killing AI enemies around the map, one that must support other heroes to grow in power, or a hero who can do a bit of everything and change tactics on the fly.

The sheer level of variety in heroes is astounding. While playing, I kept encountering ones I hadn’t played or battled with, and I am in awe of how players have quickly mastered their ability to know exactly how to be useful as them in a match. The key to winning is knowing how to defend against and counter them.

Another staple of the genre, items, is present here. You can teleport back to your base and use the currency gained from fighting to buy items to buff your characters for the coming fight. It’s a system that’s initially complex but easy to learn after a few matches. Experimentation with each character is fun here because you can change the tide of a match depending on what you buy for which characters at what time.

For example, picking up items that will boost speed for a jack of all trades is going to be a nightmare for the enemy. You can easily screw up their synergies by taking one of them out and moving across lanes while your minions tackle towers and teammates focus in a single lane. The potential for tactical changes on the fly that pay off in a flurry of explosions and victory is almost too much to take in. But that’s what I really enjoy about Predecessor. No one play style is required to win, keeping everyone on their toes.

victory screen in predecessor
Screenshot by Destructoid

Predecessor‘s tutorial does a great job of letting you get to grips with how matches work. But I was already eager to get stuck in and try out every available hero before that finished. I think the combination of the way the third-person camera makes this feel like so much more than a MOBA, and the basic mechanics of a MOBA game combine to give it that “one more match” feeling. You could quickly lose every evening to Predecessor, unlocking heroes and playing more and more matches.

I struggled to pull myself away from the game to write this preview because I wanted to keep on putting time into matches. I think that’s largely down to the genre it occupies. MOBAs are inherently playable, sucking you in all night until it’s time to start your day all over again. The key difference, I think, is that you can switch things up so more frequently in Predecessor because you’re all restricted to that single character, third-person view. You can’t judge others if you’re focused on your own actions.

I’ve been able to play the game ahead of its launch in open beta on Xbox Series X/S. After being released on PC and garnering enough players to justify a PlayStation open beta, the game is now available on Xbox as well, with crossplay between them all. This means you can play with anyone almost anywhere, setting Predecessor up for a hopeful future.

Familiar faces, new powers

cocky team in predecessor
Image via Omeda Studios

I played around with a few of the 34 and counting heroes on offer but ended up settling with a mix of Grux and Khaimera. The latter, like many of Predecessor’s heroes, has been brought over from Paragon. Epic Games allowed developers to take its characters and use them for their own MOBA. Omeda Studios has and continues to rework old heroes and produce original ones, so fans have a constant influx of new systems to contend with.

I really like this about Predecessor because it takes me back to those days playing Paragon in 2016. You can be fighting as one new hero against another, and still feel the DNA of the game that got you invested in this scene so long ago. Omeda Studios is very upfront about how it uses what Paragon started to inform its future, and that’s nice to see. Knowing that this game is sticking true to that vision makes playing it and pushing for more experience on each hero feel so much more worth it.

In fact, that’s another area where Predecessor absolutely nails how to make a game feel good. Players unlock cosmetics for heroes through the Affinity system, a battle pass for each character containing free and premium items. It takes a while to completely unlock everything, but this is a MOBA, so you’re probably going to pick one hero and main them for the foreseeable future.

Once you have completed an Affinity path for a hero, you can assign the XP you earn as them to another hero, even one you haven’t unlocked yet. In this way, the game shows you that your time is valued, and you can start working on cosmetics for characters you’re hoping to buy further down the line early. It’s a small but powerful feature I certainly value, and I can see many other players valuing too.

Is this a game that’s going to last?

characters in predecessor
Image via Omeda Studios

Something I’m always concerned about when I see what looks like a great game with that early access or open beta label is whether it’s going to stick around. For what it’s worth, I believe Omeda Studios has built a firm foundation here and is capitalizing on that with both its PlayStation and Xbox versions.

Predecessor isn’t going anywhere, because every penny it earns is constantly being reinvested. The game’s community is vocal and regularly causes the developer to make changes you’d never see elsewhere. Just this week, the price of skins has been dropped, and players who purchased any recently are being refunded. This is a direct result of player feedback because the developer knows it needs its community’s trust and doesn’t want to jeopardize that.

It is rare for a game to make changes like this, and feel this polished, in open beta. Plans are in place for new heroes to be added regularly, and even more is on the horizon in the form of more game modes and a ranked system.

I can’t score a game still in early access or open beta, but I can tell you what I feel this is: Predecessor isn’t just another MOBA. It’s a fantastic game you can get in on the ground floor of right now on. It’s not just another live service game that will fail after you’ve become invested because it’s already been going for years. When you’re ready to take the plunge, this is a multiplayer game that offers variety on every level that will welcome you with open arms and reward you for the time you spend with it in both satisfactory experiences and glorious visuals. It really is something else, and I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of it yet.

As of today, Predecessor is available for PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S via Xbox Game Preview.

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Jamie Moorcroft-Sharp
Jamie is a Staff Writer on Destructoid who has been playing video games for the better part of the last three decades. He adores indie titles with unique and interesting mechanics and stories, but is also a sucker for big name franchises, especially if they happen to lean into the horror genre.