Slaughter Studio’s The Darwin Project is a console launch exclusive. It’s a multiplayer asymmetrical battle royale game set in the Colorado Rockies. The premise is “half science, half live entertainment.” Another ice age is looming, and players are challenged to fight and survive. The fights are, naturally, televised.
When the game starts, six players are dropped in the wilderness with only a bow and an ax. In addition to hunting down and killing their opponents Hunger Games-style, they can also scavenge resources. Those resources can be crafted into ammo, clothing, or even turrets.
The game requires a delicate balance between scavenging and surviving. You need to scavenge to resupply and survive, but scavenging leaves a trial. Enemies can track you that way. Of course, if you come across a depleted resource, you can track them for a few seconds. Eventually, the area is scavenged bare and uninhabitable. That forces players closer together, and the player who is best equipped has the advantage.
The trailer shows off characters with different power sets. One character deflected arrows with an energy shield; another was able to cloak herself and sneak up on her prey. Other abilities like the ability to see through walls and short-range flight.
The asymmetrical aspect of this game is in a unique mode, Show Director. This mode allows a player to oversee the match like an evil game show host. He or she has a bird’s eye view of the mayhem via an invisible drone and can learn the strategies of the players. The director is also able to influence the match. A collection of tools can be unlocked through a progression system. One tool can trigger a manhunt, revealing the location of one player for 90 seconds. Another calls in an airstrike, restricting the area that can be safely navigated. The director can also narrate the gameplay, giving their best Wink Martindale impression a spin. A promised update will let livestream viewers interact with the game via Twitch or Mixer.
The Darwin Project does not have a release date. It will launch on Xbox One first, with a PC launch to follow. Slaughter Studio did mention that the game will launch with enhancements for the Xbox One X.