By now you’ve probably heard about Hyper Scape, Ubisoft’s first battle royale. You’ve probably also heard about how it allows Twitch audiences to play an active role in matches. This is all well and good, but I really do believe it could be better.
As it stands, those watching Hyper Scape can influence a match through modifiers such as infinite ammo or map-wide radar. These serve to either empower players, or put them on edge at any given time. While the system has a great effect in-game, I feel like Hyper Scape’s audience interaction has more potential.
Darwin Project has a similar system in which the Show Director can change the game at will. The difference between these games being of course their lobby sizes -- 99 to 100 players for Hyper Scape, and 10 for Darwin Project. The main difference I want to focus on however, comes from the abilities that the Show Director has.
In the case of Darwin Project, the one in control of the game can do more than provide bonuses. The director can actively influence where the next zone will be, and can do things like directly bomb an area. Think about it like you’re the tributes in The Hunger Games, and the director is the Gamemaker. If one player spends too long in an area, the director can use their arsenal to flush them out. If someone is too good, the director can place a bounty on their head.
The thing I love about Darwin Project is that a director can actively show bias for or against one or more players. This of course isn’t fun when it’s against you, but it definitely cranks up the chaos and difficulty.
Fortunately, Darwin Project actually has stream integration already in it, so there’s no need to guess how it works out. Unfortunately, the game is on its way out. Darwin Project never managed to build a large playerbase, or the large viewership required to make its stream integration worthwhile. As a result, servers will be closing at the end of the year. This is a real shame, considering all of the game’s original ideas and features.
Darwin Project‘s Show Director is the kind of interaction I’m looking for in Hyper Scape. I’m not saying viewers should be able to benefit a specific streamer, as that has no place in a battle royale. What I am saying however, is that Ubisoft shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with new audience interactions options. The game is still in its infancy, so now is the time to try new and exciting things. I understand if they don’t want to include things like this in the main game. But this is why limited time modes exist: if players don’t like a feature, then scrap the whole mode!
I’m really hoping that Ubisoft takes more risks with Hyper Scape‘s audience interaction. Having Twitch viewers gain more influence on the map will remind players to never get too comfortable. It’ll always keep them on their toes, especially if they don’t know what can happen next. Imagine letting Twitch collapse a section of the map that previously seemed safe, or letting them lock an area, forcing players to battle it out or survive a timer to escape.
Twitch integration is new to battle royales, but Hyper Scape will have to work harder if it wants to stand out against the big players in the genre.