In amongst the masses of games unveiled at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this week, one has a feature that'll instantly appeal to a lot of New Zealanders - a Māori character named Makutu.
Bleeding Edge is a 4v4 team brawler that combines third-person action combat with online team multiplayer and was announced at the E3 2019 Xbox briefing.
Rahni Tucker, the game's creative director, is an Australian who says she has a lot of Kiwi friends and just had to have one in her game.
Makutu is a smiley bloke with comically oversized shoulders and arms that dwarf his head and legs.
"He's got a small voice because he used to be a little guy. He was like a little guy in a family of really big people," Tucker tells Newshub.
"And he was like, 'Mum I want to be a big rugby player', but she was like 'you're can't be, you're too small'. Then he got access to tech and he thought, right, that's it, I'm going to be huge!"
The 'tech' she speaks of is radical body augmentation that every character has in the game, which is set four or five decades in the future.
Makutu, who is listed as coming from Wellington in his character bio, appears to have had a large, metal, electronic ball replace his lower torso along with having massive cybernetic arms affixed.
But his most appealing trait may be his voice.
"Choice pick," he beams when chosen in the character select screen. While attacking his enemies, he joyfully taunts them with phrases like "special delivery", "better pack your bags, bro" and "balls to the walls".
Makutu has a super move called 'KATAMAORI', which sees him roll into a ball and barrel through enemies. Another of his abilities is 'Slap Em Good', which is described as: "Each combo input can be held for extended slaps and special punches".
While it is a highly competitive combat game, Bleeding Edge has a playful, sporty sort of tone. All the characters are buddies, Tucker says.
"The reason the key art is a selfie is that they're all there together at the end of the day. It's like going to the footy field, playing a hard game against each other but then going off and having a beer after it," she says.
"The characters in the game are on the fringes of society over how far they're willing to push their bodies with the augmentation technology. That's kind of what brings them together, they're all a bit eccentric.
"They start as a tech group where they're modding themselves and testing their tech out with each other, and that turns into a bit of a fight club."
Bleeding Edge is the sort of game where the most important factor is on getting the balance right between all the different abilities of the characters and making sure teamwork, strategy and skill bring victory, rather than overpowered moves.
But even with the main selling point being the gameplay, the imaginativeness of the back-stories and design of each character is impressive.
As well as Makutu, there's a Norwegian black metal guitarist named Nidhoggr and the motorbike-obsessed Buttercup from a devoutly religious family in Louisiana. Then there's the corpse of a Cambridge University voodoo professor who is powered by a robot snake he's had his consciousness uploaded to.
Bleeding Edge will be coming to both console and PC through the Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
It's final release date has not been announced, but a technical alpha testing period launches on June 27 and interested players can sign up for that at bleedingedge.com.
Credit to Newshub.