PC Gamer had an exclusive interview with the developers of a UK-Based company known as Automaton’s who are in the midst of developing a tactical shooter MMO that will feature a ground breaking up to 1,000 players.
The world is designed to be dynamic in terms of it being shaped by the players actions. Despite this game not being officially announced yet and not having a given name. PC Gamer were lucky enough to speak with the CEO and CTO of Automaton. James Thompson discussed the project at good length at EGX.
They had previously announced a 400-person PvP arena mode which is linked over on PC Gamer. Similar to other games that have came out since and before PUBG, this is yet another looking to mimic the idea but add their own tweaks to it.
Automaton announced that last month they had raised $10 million of investment to make this game. Which is a hell of a lot money.
As quoted from what James said to PC Gamer.
“You’re all on an island and it’s set in the near future,” Thompson tells me when I ask about the premise. “There’s a reason you’re all there. There is a central capital which runs the area. You have four faction towns which have different agendas—they [either want] to live there and make the best of what they have, or they’re really trying to take over. And you’re part of this set of people who have come in and you are going to be here to overthrow the whole regime, effectively, and that will literally happen.” -PC Gamer
“On a global scale between what all the players do, the whole narrative will progress based on those player interactions, but there’s fully fleshed out characterisation and stories for all the different parts of the land. So there is quite a lot of narrative, that’s a big part of what ties together that side of the experience.”
It appears the game is being built using SpatialOS, which is a cloud-based technology and it’s designed to aide developers get around the typical hardware restrictions of game development. Almost sounding like a simulation software.. however I may be wrong in this, it’s not something I know or have heard about in the past.
PC Gamer did mention however a Sandbox MMO called Worlds Adrift also used this same software and within that game, if a player were to build an airship, crash it and another player came along later in time, they would see the wreckage. This was to simulate a little bit of storytelling as well as leading your own brain to wander. It sounds silly but it opens the door for so many different things… Similar to PUBG – as a frequent player. I often become more alert if I find a town near the start of a game that is heavily been looted, easily told but open doors left right and centre. As nine times out of ten, you’ll probably find that player is still near by…
PC Gamer went on to add what else Thompson has given them in terms of information
Thompson describes this game as a “full MMORPG”, with five progression tiers of weapon and armour, as well as customisation and perks. Players will pass parties in the world that could be two people strong, or up to 25, with a kind of risk/reward system to balance the game. On the unlikely event that someone’s on a 1000-strong killstreak, other players will be alerted that this is going on, plus there will be a bounty system to keep people in check. It’s players policing each other, in a sense, with ongoing balancing provided by the developers. Without seeing it in action, these are just bullet points to me—but it’s an interesting-sounding premise, and so absurdly ambitious that I’m intrigued to see how it plays. This is all set in a world with wildlife, dynamic weather, tracks, wildfire, dynamic water and other telltale signs of change to the environment effected by the players.
Not enough going on in the game for you? “Currently you can literally nuke the whole world,” Thompson tells me, in what sounds like a killstreak award. Tanks are mentioned as another, less drastic killstreak bonus.
This sounds as mentioned above from Samuel, rather ambitious but in today’s age it is entirely possible. It’s down to the developer dedicating time without releasing it on early access. I’ve rarely seen a game come out on early access that still isn’t in it. With the funding they have now raised I hope they release a fully developed and ready to play game.
400-player battle royale
Yes, battle royale – It almost seems like the mother of games right now, they have exploded, H1Z1, Fortnite Battle Royale, Player Unknown Battlegrounds. They’re just a list of some of the games that is already out there with similar mechanics to offer. Even the developer added to PC Gamer:
Obviously battle royale is having quite a lot of popularity right now, it’s come from a sort of different direction to what we’re from,” Thompson says. “We’re thinking, let’s make awesome MMO worlds and experiences, and I think that the current battle royale games out there right now are almost like, ‘let’s make a mod of an existing game but try and push the players up a bit and try and get a really fun last-man standing experience’ and that’s obviously latched on a lot.
We do have, within our game, the arena mode where you do play in that format, but I would say that it’s not really player numbers that is the big differentiator between what we’re doing and what these games have done. It’s the level of simulation, the level of fidelity and the amount of information you see and how that affects the tactics used in the game. As for player count, that changes depending on if you’re doing solo or team play. With parties of four we do it as 400, with solo we do it as 100 in the arena—this is more about time constraints, making sure that you’re playing a sensible round.
We’re doing something that’s progressive I think from the battle royale games that are out there, but that’s not the scope of the game. It’s all about really pushing—in a specific way—MMORPGs forward and yet being a dip-in dip-out shooting experience.” The overarching game is very different to a battle royale mode, Thompson says. Nonetheless, some of their proposed additions sound inventive and cool.
It’s the detailed world simulation underpinning everything that I’m most curious about. We think there are a few areas we can improve on a lot through the way our world works, even just if you look at the arena, Thompson says, discussing battle royale games as they currently are. [Say] you’re walking through some land and you’re leaving trails, you’re displacing the foliage, there’s the wildlife there who react to what you do and that may inform someone else that there’s someone nearby.
This all sounds promising and I certainly will be looking over the news in the near future to see if this brings anything new to the horizon but certainly at the moment, it sounds a long wait away.