It has actually been, as ever, a really Ubisoft reveal. You know the details well before the main embargo is up: Ubisoft Montreal, in addition to a flotilla of other Ubisoft studios, is dealing with a triple-A, free-to-play fight royale. You understand the name as well, and you may, like me, still be struggling to get your head around it. Buzz Escape? So that’s what you call it when another huge Ubisoft title leaks ahead of time. Oh, Hyper Scape? Yeah, I’m still not feeling it I’m afraid.
I enjoy to state that, having had a deep dive into the thinking behind Active Scape and a handful of matches, there’s some genuine promise here, however, and more than a handful of wise ideas it’s bringing to the table. The information – Active Scape is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC later this summer season, with a tech test that’s effectively a closed beta starting on PC today. The premise takes us to the not-so-distant future of 2054, with Hyper Scape’s fiction like William Gibson on delighted tablets. It’s a world which gets all its entertainment from the internet and where the virtual area is used for an all-out Battle Royale which keeps people occupied (actually, typing it out, it’s not a lot a fiction as a mirror of our existing world, however there you go).
There’s plenty more that’s familiar about Hyper Scape, too. You’ll begin matches by skyrocketing in over New Arcadia – the heavily built-up map which Hyper Scape will be using from launch – and selecting a spot to land. There’ll be a gradually shrinking map, too, with the twist here being that areas glitch out. It’s down to the last individual standing, too, with the final showdown being chosen in either a free-for-all fight or Crown Rush, in which players or groups need to hold onto a crown for some 45 seconds (the mad game of tag that results advises me, quite happily, of Mario Kart’s Shine Thief mode).
What Hyper Scape is truly about, though, is blurring the line in between gamer and spectator, and providing some meaningful interaction in between the 2. “We began advancement about 2 years earlier,” states innovative director Jean-Christophe Guyot, “and we were taking a look around playing a great deal of games however likewise we were starting to see more and more video games. We truly wished to develop the concept of a game as a phenomenon – the idea that it’s a place where players but also banners and viewers come together in order to engage in brand-new ways. That really was the beginning point for the entire thing.”
In practice, that means events are frequently set off during the run of play – throughout the handful of matches I played we competed with a period of low gravity, another where ability cooldown was dramatically reduced and another where our double-jump fleetingly ended up being a triple-jump – all of which lends an adorable spin on the genre. It’s tough to get a handle on precisely how effective it’ll be up until there’s a good amount of people in the audience and until it’s possible to fully comprehend how the viewing experience will work when there’s an emergency of people – features such as having the ability to welcome players into a team via Twitch, or earning progression through the accompanying battle pass, are planned but won’t exist at launch later on this summertime. In the meantime, however, it’s a feature that does have some capacity.
It’s much easier, however, to get a handle on other locations where Hyper Scape is wanting to identify itself. This is a specifically streamlined Battle Royale experience, with two weapon slots and 2 ‘hack’ slots – Hyper Scape’s in-game capabilities – readily available. Those abilities work and, most significantly, fun to play with – I snagged one that let me translucent walls, while another released a devastating ground pound – specifically if you’re lucky enough to be witness to an event where they’re effectively released without a cooldown. There are other decent ideas, too, such as the way loot is handled. Dupes really serve a function, being fused to help you power up your hacks and weapons, all of which lets you concentrate on the important things like making it through and shooting.
Another point of difference in Hyper Scape is its map which is a lot more city than what you ‘d discover in other Fight Royale video games. New Arcadia is greatly built up, with a focus on verticality and confined areas – which, in my quick experience, produces a far more claustrophobic flavour of Fight Royale. It produces one that can be sort of difficult to parse, too – constructing interiors look a little samey for my taste, meaning it’s easy to get lost in all that urban sprawl, and while a relocation far from snipers and camping is welcome the more intense action may be a bit too much for my aging reflexes.
There’s hope for less talented players in the type of some sort of afterlife after you’ve been downed, with the defeated ending up being an echo that’s totally free to hunt ahead and with the ability to revive when you’ve encountered a bring back point, a feature that has dim echoes of Peak Legend’s respawn beacon. I have actually prevented contrasts up until now – partially since Fight Royales aren’t a personal strong point, and partly since upon its reveal Hyper Space deserves to be discussed by itself merits – but naturally it’s the similarity Pinnacle Legends, Warzone and Fortnite that Hyper Scape will be completing for attention with when it launches, and at present it’s got a little way to go up until it can be a major competitor, but these are early days.