Ubisoft has announced its Battle Royale; Hyper Scape. Ahead of the announcement, we were able to learn a little about the game (read more here) and speak with the Creative Director Jean-Christophe Guyot.
Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Hyper Scape stays true to many of the genre conventions of Battle Royale games. However, it also attempts to innovate the genre and introduce new ways to play.
We spoke to Guyot about the game, how it’s doing things differently and what players can look forward to.
PowerUp! – Hyper Scape has been announced for PC and “consoles.” Does this include Switch, PS5 and Xbox Series X and will there be cross-platform play?
Jean-Christophe Guyot – Hyper Scape will come to PC first for the Technical Test. When we feel the game is stable and ready, we plan to launch on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
At launch, the game will feature cross-progression, meaning, anything unlocked on one platform will be available on all other platforms, but we know how important cross-play is and plan to release it for an upcoming season.
PowerUp! – Can you go into the lore and story a little more; how did the world get this way and who runs the competition?
Jean-Christophe Guyot – Hyper Scape is a brand-new universe that we are excited to unveil, there will be many stories to tell and characters to meet season after season, not only in-game but also in transmedia creations such as comics.
The game takes place in 2054, the world has turned slightly darker but Technology helps people survive the day-to-day grind. Prisma Dimensions are the creators of the Hyper Scape, the largest virtual hub, where people go to learn, work, meet and have fun.
One of the few ways to improve your lot in life is to compete in an intense urban battle royale that unfolds within the Hyper Scape. Become a champion and see your life change in ways you could only dream of!
PowerUp! – The visuals, setting and even the “virtual location” is very reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed. We know Watch Dogs and AC take place in the same universe, is Hyper Scape also connected and showing the eventual victory of the Templars?
Jean-Christophe Guyot – Prisma Dimensions strongly denies any and all claims of being affiliated with an organization named “the Templars”.
At Prisma, we build meaningful connections that span the globe and foster development. We build new frontiers that nurture, educate and connect the population. We build technologies that push the limits of this world and offer an escape route to new dimensions. And we do this for you.
Our mission is to provide you with unique opportunities to grow and prosper in today’s hyper-connected world. A world with limitless opportunities. A world waiting for you to discover it.
PowerUp! – What you’ve shown seems to suggest a desire to innovate on the BR genre. What else can we expect from Hyper Scape to help it stand apart from other games in the genre?
Jean-Christophe Guyot – With Hyper Scape, we aim to build a fast-paced, intense and vertical battle royale, full of cat and mouse action and pulse-pounding battles. In addition to the urban setting of Neo-Arcadia that provides verticality and parkour traversal, we introduce several new mechanics that streamline the battle royale experience.
In addition to weapons, players will be able to pick up Hacks – special abilities that let them be more creative in the way they approach encounters and team synergy. Some hacks will help navigate the city like the Teleport hack, some will let players outsmart their opponents like the Mine hack and some will help them survive the encounter and support their squad, like the Heal hack.
Hyper Scape has been built from the start as a game as a spectacle, as a game that is as fun to watch as it is spectacular to play. We want to bring players, streamers and viewers together with the Hyper Scape Crowncast Twitch extension. During the Technical Test, viewers will be able to vote on game-changing effects like Moon gravity or Infinite Ammo. In near-future, viewers will be able to progress their Battle pass by watching streams and streamers will be able to invite viewers in their squad to play with them.
PowerUp! – Is Hyper Scape using Far Cry’s Dunia Engine, another in-house Ubisoft Engine or something from a third-party?
Jean-Christophe Guyot – Hyper Scape is built with a custom version of the Anvil engine.
PowerUp! – Can you go into the progression system, experience, upgrades etc? Is there a meta-game for levelling characters?
Jean-Christophe Guyot – During the Technical Test, players will have access to a free 10 tiers Battle Pass with exclusive cosmetic rewards. Everything they unlock during the Technical Test phase will be kept when the game launches.
When the game fully launches, we plan to have a free and a premium Battle Pass, featuring cosmetic-only items.
PowerUp! – The city is split into several districts, are each of these accessible in every game and how large is the map overall?
Jean-Christophe Guyot – The virtual city of Neo-Arcadia features 9 unique districts each with their specific layout and gameplay flavour. It also contains 8 large landmarks with intricate interior layouts. Landmarks feature better loot quantity and quality but tend to attract more enemy players.
The battle area is 1km by 1km and when the battle begins, players will deploy from one of the 4 lobbies at each corner of the city. They can use their deployment pod to dive to any location they choose depending on their risk/reward preference.
PowerUp! – Can you talk what inspired Hyper Scape? What I’ve seen suggests you’re fans of Ready Player One.
Jean-Christophe Guyot – There are a number of movies, anime and books that have influenced our vision for the Hyper Scape, but what was really exciting for us, was that we were building a game about what the future of gaming could be.
As a developer we often look to the next 5 years of tech evolution but very rarely to the next 30.
PowerUp! – How many Champions are available at launch and what are their stories?
Jean-Christophe Guyot – As of today, with the Technical Test, we are focusing on making sure the game, the servers and the service are all solid and run smooth.
When we launch Season 1, the story of the Hyper Scape will start and its mysteries will unfold over the course of the live seasons. In addition to the 8 starting champions that players can choose from, we will introduce new champions every season as well as evolve previous champions. They all come with their own backstory, their voice and their reasons to take part in the competition.
PowerUp! – We’ve seen that these free-to-play, BR games really thrive with constant updates, content drops and seasonal content. Do you have a plan for rolling out updates and how frequently will you do so?
Jean-Christophe Guyot – We want to make sure Hyper Scape launches at full speed, with regular updates and new game modes. During Technical Test we will feature for a limited time the Dark Haze solo mode where you only see a few meters ahead.
“Jean-Christophe has more than 20 years of experience working in video-games, most of it spent at Ubisoft. JC started his career in France in 1997 as a Game Designer on Rayman 2 for N64, moved one year in Shanghai for Rayman 2 PSX then back to Paris for Rayman M (or Arena).
“JC joined Ubisoft Montréal in 2002 to work on Prince of Persia, first as part of the Level Design team for POP: Sands of Time, then as Creative Director on POP: Warrior Within and all the following POP titles. He was also the Creative Director for Far Cry: Primal in 2016. He then worked for several other video-games companies and released in 2016 the mobile game Hero Slide.
“He came back to Ubisoft Montréal in 2018 to be the Creative Director for Hyper Scape.”