Last week, Ubisoft invited us to preview a new free-to-play battle royale first-person shooter called Hyper Scape. The game features fast-paced gameplay, lots of verticality, an expansive map, and loads of interesting abilities that can dramatically impact your playstyle. Hyper Scape is coming to Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4 soon. However, PC players will be the first to experience it because the technical tests will take place on the platform. Ubisoft Montreal wants to take its time to make sure the title's foundation is solid.
Hyper Scape takes place in a dystopian future where individuals log into a virtual reality-like environment to escape their daily lives. While you can do anything in this virtual world, there are nefarious forces at play. Some participants appear to have gone missing, and throughout the various seasons – as the game evolves – you'll uncover the mystery behind these disappearances or possible murders. There's an overarching narrative that'll become clear as time goes on through story collectibles found on the map.
We got a chance to play Hyper Scape for many hours last week, and can say that even in this early state, it's a polished project on PC. It features a refined Ping System like the one found in Apex Legends that lets you communicate with your team, and mark enemies, but the gameplay goes further by increasing accessibility for newcomers.
Not everyone is a first-person shooter expert, so if you're killed by an enemy player, you turn into an Echo and can scout ahead. This allows you to mark enemies, weapon and Hacks locations, and much more. You can still contribute to your squad even though you can't shoot anyone. This should make Hyper Scape appeal to even more people.
Let's say that your teammate manages to kill another player. This causes a Restore Point to spawn where you can be revived. This features, combined with the Echo, should alleviate a lot of frustration many gamers feel with titles like Call of Duty: Warzone and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG).
During the presentation, Ubisoft confirmed that Hyper Scape would feature a lot of Battle Events like modified gravity and infinite ammunition. This should help change up gameplay because you'll have to adapt to these changing conditions on the fly. Many "realistic" battle royale games out there can't experiment with these features, but due to the fact that Hyper Scape takes place in a virtual world, anything goes.
There are two ways of winning a match in Hyper Scape. The first involves killing everyone else, as expected, but the second involves holding onto a Crown for 45 seconds. When the final few players are left on the map and many city sectors have been closed, a Crown will spawn. If you capture it you can win, even if you aren't that good at shooting other players. This also adds to accessibility because there are two ways to win.
Hyper Scape features a lot of verticality so evading enemies is quite easy. You can clamber up ledges just like Halo 5: Guardians and launch into the air by stepping on "gravity trampolines" as I call them. Making sure you always stay in motion is the key to success in my opinion. That's the only way you'll avoid getting shot by opposing forces.
Due to the fact that Hyper Scape takes place in a virtual world, its version of mods are called Hacks. In the battlefield, you'll be able to find various items that either allow you to heal your teammates, set traps, or more. Sometimes you may not be able to find the Hack you're used to, so being familiar with all of them is necessary. They're scattered mostly on the rooftops of incredibly tall buildings from what I observed. This is the way to customize your playstyle on the fly.
Just like Apex Legends, Hyper Scape features Champions with unique backstories. While playing Ubisoft's game, I didn't really experience much of a playstyle distinction between the different characters, but that may be added down the line. The developer said that players should expect a range of abilities like Shockwave – that sends enemies hurling away – when Hyper Scape is available to the public.
We spoke with Hyper Scape Senior Producer Graeme Jennings, Game Designer Chris Pope, and Creative Director Jean-Cristophe Guyot after playing the game and asked them a number of unanswered questions about the upcoming battle royale shooter. We discussed microtransactions, the console ports, and much more.
Each season of Hyper Scape will feature a free 30-tier Battle Pass. There's also going to be a paid, possibly 100-tier Battle Pass, that features even more unlocks. From our conversation with Pope, the game will feature cosmetic-only microtransactions that you'll be able to purchase from the in-game store. This is how Ubisoft plans to financially support the game for years. From my understanding, there won't be any microtransactions that give players an unfair advantage.
Hyper Scape is based on the Rainbow Six Siege engine when it comes to shooting, and uses Assassin's Creed technology to render the massive open-world map. While both are using the Anvil engine, they're different branches so a lot of customization went into crafting the shooter. It utilizes existing Ubisoft technology in unique ways to deliver a massive battle royale experience that feels a lot like Titanfall.
Another one of our writers, Samuel Tolbert, played Hyper Scape with me and said the following after the gameplay session. I agree with his impressions.
The movement feels nice, as bouncing around the various rooftops provides a sense of agility and constant momentum which aids the whole 'you're on the run' aspect of battle royale. The main issue is the gunplay, which feels very weak. Using the different weapons, it was hard to tell exactly how powerful everything was or even whether I was doing damage. The concept of Hacks was intriguing, but most of them functioned like fairly standard abilities, with only the Wall ability providing anything interesting. This seems like a huge waste of potential given the emphasis on a virtual world with major events changing up how you play.
Ubisoft also promised to introduce strong anti-cheat measures from the beginning since the title is based on Rainbox Six Siege. It won't be a crisis unlike many other battle royale games that seem like they don't take this into account from the beginning. Cross-play is also incredibly important to the Hyper Scape team and after they make sure that the game is built upon a solid backbone, the feature will be introduced to the game. Guyot confirmed that this was a design pillar that was definitely in the pipeline. However, since the title is still very early in development, it won't be available in the technical tests.
Hyper Scape features a 1 kilometer (km) by 1 km map, which is truly massive. It supports 100 players and the team promised 60 frames per second (FPS) performance on consoles. It's unclear what the resolution will be on Xbox One X, but when asked about the Xbox Series X, Jennings said that the team was having conversations about next-generation consoles, but hadn't solidified any plans. Since the title is already 60 FPS on consoles, it's probably going to feature better visuals and a higher resolution on the upcoming machines.
Whenever a new battle royale game is announced, many gamers are skeptical because we've seen so many entries in recent years. Unlike Call of Duty: Warzone or PUBG, Hyper Scape offers a new feeling because of the verticality and fast-paced gameplay. Towards the end of the interviews, Jennings said that the team wanted to create a game that "didn't feel like any battle royale on the market." From what we've played so far, Ubisoft is poised to deliver if it can improve the feel of weapons.
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