Hyper Scape: Ubisoft’s First Battle Royale

Hyper Scape, unveiled a few days ago with its technical tests on PC, launched yesterday its Open Beta version allowing the general public to flood into Neo Arcadia and try this unique new battle royale game.

We sat down with Creative Director Jean-Christophe Guyot a few days ago to get a sense of the production process just before the big reveal. 

First of all, what can you tell us about Hyper Scape? 

We started working on this project just over two years ago. In a nutshell, it’s a modern platform offering a battle royale for around 100 simultaneous players.  

Describe the universe where players will be able to advance? 

We’ve created a universe set in a not-too-distant future, in 2054. In this universe, people have taken over the Hyper Scape, a virtual world where they can have fun, work, learn, or just socialize. The Hyper Scape features a virtual city called Neo Arcadia that hosts competitions in the form of battle royale matches. The goal is to be the last one standing or grab and keep the crown to become the champion of the Hyper Scape.  Neo Arcadia is a city where the cyberpunk esthetic intertwines with certain elements reminiscent of Paris. We wanted it to be modern but also rooted in history, so it’s not entirely fictional. The environments are very diversified. The city is divided into nine very distinctive districts, each with a central reference point called a landmark, which is often represented by a great monument. 

How does the game work? What do you think makes it unique and different from other battle royale games? 

It’s a super-intense, vertical battle royale! 

The pace of the game is ultra-fast and intense in terms of action. The gameplay really benefits from the verticality of the city layout, which contains a huge amount of detail and buildings in one square kilometer [0.4 square miles]. The game begins with players dropping from the sky into Neo Arcadia with their deployment pods and combat weapons. Once there, they must first find material inside the surrounding buildings that will help them beat out their opponents. They can decide to make their way toward the landmark of their district, where they’ll find lots of equipment as well as enemies, or to less frequented areas, where they’ll find fewer dangers but also fewer supplies. Of course, players will find weapons there, but we’ve also added what we call hacks. Hacks are special skills that can completely change the gameplay and make it more creative. For example, players can find a hack that helps them get around Neo Arcadia more easily, set traps or, better still, defend themselves. Players will find things there that they’ve never seen before. It’s really refreshing for this type of game. 

The public plays a key role in the game thanks to the development of a Twitch extension. Tell us more about this and what its impact will be in the game?  

Public participation has been at the core of our thinking from the start of the project. The trend of spectator-players spending as much—if not more—time watching as playing, has evolved rapidly and has become a well-established practice in the community. We thought we needed to create a game that was as spectacular to watch as it was to play. We achieved this in several ways. We developed Hyper Scape Crowncast, a Twitch extension that spectators can activate to interact with their favorite streamers. With this extension, each spectator can vote to display effects that will change game conditions in real time (like changing gravity, providing unlimited weapons, making all players discoverable on the map, etc.). We’re also planning to implement a number of new options for Hyper Scape Crowncast in the coming weeks and months. 

Tell us about the work behind this spectacular game. How many studios have collaborated on developing the game?  

It’s a huge team effort. The Montreal studio was at the head of the project, but we turned to several studios and partners around the world for their expertise, including Ubisoft Saguenay, which was given responsibility for everything related to the Twitch extension. They were fundamental to the exchanges from the beginning and have gone through every stage of the project with us.  

 

How would you describe your team?  

My team always impresses me and has done so even more in the last few months. It’s a determined team with a heart. It’s mind-blowing to see how enthusiastic we remain and how we manage to stay united and work together. That really reassured me, because just as the launch date was approaching, we were hit with the pandemic. But despite everything, the team managed to pull together and kept moving forward. The lockdown created a sort of fellowship. 

 

What are the next steps? 

The technical tests are complete and the Open Beta phase will allow us to test the game with even more players. The goal is to test our network infrastructure and the heart of our experience before launching our first season on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.

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