PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the Bluehole-developed and published multiplayer online Battle Royale title that has taken the gaming world by storm, might have some hefty competition in its midst. A mysterious game known as Project X aims to take what PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds does well and elevate it to the next level, surpassing PUBG‘s 100-player gameplay on an 8km by 8km map with 400-player battles on an even bigger map.
Currently in the works at studio Automation in the United Kingdom, Project X includes a last-man standing player-versus-player “sport” mode that allows up to 400 players to compete at a time, which is where comparisons to the well-loved PUBG will undoubtedly be made. But the enigmatic game is much more than just one hoping to trump one of this year’s biggest games. It actually offers up to 1,000 concurrent players to battle in a single world on a staggeringly large 12km by 12km map.
The game is said to include free-roaming wildlife, foliage and landscaping displacement, tracks and blood trails, elements like fire and water, and highly dynamic weather. It’s also expected to include fine-tuned character progressions, various social hubs, and what’s been described as a “global-scale player-driven narrative,” which could also include activities similar to the player-driven content in The Division.
This would be an incredible game to play, but it all sounds pretty ambitious – and even a bit unrealistic, with many questioning how it’s even possible. Firstly, Automaton has previous experience in multiplayer games; its most recent development was the psychological stealth and combat title Deceit. More than that, the technical creation has to do with a cloud-based technology called SpatialOS, built by London games company Improbable. The tech allows the game to operate within the cloud, thus letting developers exceed the power capacity of a single game engine or particular server.
While the details of Project X seem to promise it will be a serious PUBG challenger, it isn’t the first game to ape the MMO’s success. Both the fort-building co-op sandbox survival game Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto V have received Battle Royale game modes of their own, additions that were likely motivated by the news of PUBG crossing more than 10 million sales while still in early access.
Those interested in learning more about Project X can tune into EGX this week, during which members of the creative team will make appearances on the “Breaking Rules and Making Worlds: The Future of the MMO” panel on Thursday, September 21.
Project X is expected to release sometime in 2018. The first playable content is slated for the spring of that year.