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Project Winter, a survival game all about lies and betrayal, leaves Early Access soon

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At a glance, Project Winter is reminiscent of The Long Dark, but surviving its low-poly snow fields is only half the battle. At the beginning of a game, two of the eight players are designated as traitors. They each know who the other traitor is, and are tasked with preventing the group from escaping. The non-traitors must suss them out before being shot in the back.

It's a fun-sounding idea, though a tough design challenge. Playing the similar party game Mafia (or Werewolf) is always a good time, but I've never been all that attracted to digital versions of the game, because lying directly to your friends' faces is where the fun's at. In that respect, Project Winter provides multiple communication avenues: "proximity-based voice chat, private voice chat radio channels, text chat, and emotes."

A lot of Project Winter's success will hinge on the effectiveness of those tools and the quality of the playerbase. It's a game that's easy to ruin, since it relies on everyone committing to acting.

Right now, reviews are mixed on the Early Access version, but it seems like many of the complaints are simply that there aren't enough players in the game, not that Project Winter fails in its execution, which is promising.

Recent reviews are more positive. When Project Winter releases in 1.0 form on May 23, maybe it'll get a little boost in player count. We'll plan to check it out then to see how it's come along since its Early Access launch.

Tyler Wilde
Tyler Wilde

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.