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A new challenger is entering the now highly saturated battle royale genre from publisher Ubisoft. Its name: Hyper Scape. Scheduled to be released imminently - which is to say, this summer - you'll be able to jump into the first-person, free-to-play game on PC initially, with PS4 and Xbox One versions planned to be available in the near future.
The game's setting is the year 2054, and much like in Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, people escape reality by working, meeting friends and finding entertainment in the digital domain of the Hyper Scape. Those daring enough play a game within this virtual world, Crown Rush, to compete for rewards and earn notoriety.
Having played Hyper Scape for a few hours last week, I can confidently say that it does some things differently to stand out from the battle royale crowd - things that you may not expect, and that may persuade you to give Ubisoft's new project a go.
Neo Arcadia is a map that is full of European architecture mixed with futuristic design. Spanning a full square kilometre, it consists of nine districts, each with a distinct landmark full of loot.
One building I spotted instantly was the beautiful in-game version of Notre-Dame. The map is designed to encourage vertical mobility, with high-rise towers and jump pads dotted around. Movement feels really fluid and climbing up tall walls is seamless.
It takes a lot of bullets to kill the enemy, especially if you haven't upgraded your weapon, so teamwork really is key. Different sectors decay over time, so the safe zones can look almost like a jigsaw puzzle piece. This is another area where the game differs itself from competitors that stick to a circle that gradually gets smaller, forcing you to the middle of the map.
There are currently nine different weapons and nine offensive and defensive hacks in Hyper Scape, that can be upgraded throughout each game. You can use your play style to take advantage of the health boost hack, the jumping ability, or you can even turn yourself into a massive bouncy ball, because... Well, after using it for a while I still couldn't figure out why it was in the game. However, it was quite fun bouncing from building to building while others ferociously fought for their lives below me.
If you die during a match, you become a ghost, allowing you to move around, scouting out areas or looking around corners for your team. In the closing stages of a match, a crown spawns in. To win the game you can either be the last squad standing or hold the crown for 45 seconds, creating some unique final battles.
Ubisoft have partnered with Twitch to create a 'Crowncast extension', which allows Twitch viewers to vote on in-game events - such as giving players a temporary speed boost or the ability to jump three times instead of two for a short amount of time. Don't worry though, these events affect everyone in the game, not just the streamer. Through the extension, streamers can also quickly invite their viewers or subscribers into their Hyper Scape squad. In addition, If a viewer buys 'bits' while watching a Hyper Scape stream, the streamer will get a percentage of the revenue.
I'd love to see the viewer voting to have a larger impact on the game, such as deciding which area decays next - though they would probably always just choose the district that the streamer is in, I suppose. Currently, the impact that the viewers can have on the game is minimal, but I expect there to be some fun additions coming soon.
Hyper Scape will include a battle pass and will naturally evolve as time goes on, in a similar way to its competitors. If you want to get your hands on the game early, you can connect your Ubisoft account to Twitch and watch a Hyper Scape stream for a chance to earn a Twitch drop. Good luck with that, and let us know if you'll be giving this new battle royale a chance - we're on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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