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Bleeding Edge arrives in March 2020, according to leak

Bleeding Edge's release date, and the dates for the game's upcoming beta tests, have been inadvertently revealed by a Microsoft Store listing. However, since news of these dates and their source originally broke on TrueAchievements, the listing has been taken down. 

According to the now removed listing, Bleeding Edge  — a four versus four melee combat multiplayer arena battle game for Xbox One and PC — will launch on March 24, 2020, but there will be two closed betas before then. These closed betas will take place on Feb. 14 and again on March 13, just ahead of the game's supposed release date. The Microsoft Store listing claimed that these betas will be open to anyone who pre-orders the game, as well as Xbox Game Pass subscribers.

In Bleeding Edge, players take on the role of one of eight combatants, using their abilities and unique fighting styles to create synergistic combos that devastate the enemy team. Ninja Theory has had some great fun creating some truly individual characters, from a cyberpunk grim reaper, to an old lady that fires energy out of her impossibly long fingers. Bleeding Edge was originally announced at E3 2019, but since then, there has been next to no news about it from either Microsoft or Ninja Theory; at least, until now.

Bleeding Edge's leaked pre-order bonuses

The leaked store listing also detailed pre-order bonuses that consumers can expect from Bleeding Edge. Anyone who pre-orders the game, or plays it via the Xbox Game Pass within the first week, will receive the exclusive Punk Pack.

Included in the bonus pack are three new character skins, Punk Rock Niđhöggr, Butterpunk Buttercup and Outrider ZeroCool, in addition to three bonus taunts, an in-game sticker pack, and a special Hoverboard. The name for this pre-order pack seems appropriate, because Bleeding Edge oozes a cyberpunk theme through almost every aspect: from the appearance of each fighter, to the weapons they use, and even the arenas players compete in, which look to subtly tell a story about the game's technologically warped future. 

Why should you care about Bleeding Edge?

As we've already established, Bleeding Edge is a team-based PVP title with a focus on mechanically enhanced fighters. Each character has unique abilities, which can be enhanced through cybernetic mods that are earned over time, allowing players to synergize with their teammates in each match. Mods seem to enhance both the specific abilities of each character, as well as a player's base stats such as energy levels, stamina, and capacity for certain items.

While most characters have a melee combat focus, a few use ranged weapons such as the pyrotechnic flames that burst from a hose in Niđhöggr's mouth, or a machine gun that inexplicably transforms into a powered mech. Players need to get in close to make the most of each fighter's abilities, freezing enemies in place for another player to finish them off, or using an overpowered special ability to throw an enemy into one of the many hazards present in each arena. 

The most attractive aspect of Bleeding Edge, however, is the pace of the combat. Most multiplayer melee combat titles give characters a certain weight, slowing both them and their movements and making combat tedious and boring. That doesn't appear to be the case with Bleeding Edge, which looks faster and more responsive. The game's versatility is ripe for an esport; we can see teams forming tactics around every combination of characters they come up against, specializing in certain moves and synergies themselves, with millions of players watching on as they compete in tournaments.

The team behind Bleeding Edge

Ninja Theory has worked on games such as Hellblade: Senua's SacrficeEnslaved: Odyssey to the West, and DmC: Devil May Cry in the past, each of which has a unique and interesting melee combat system. The developer's pedigree in visceral hand-to-hand and close combat looks to shine through in Bleeding Edge, bringing that next-level melee arena combat to a multiplayer audience, rather than its usual single player fan base. 

Now that the cat is out of the bag, it seems inevitable that the release date and beta dates for Bleeding Edge will be officially announced at X019 tonight. We'll be watching the event, and reporting on all the news as it unfolds.