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Darwin Project debuts on Steam Early Access next week

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Darwin Project, the Hunger Games-styled battle royale/survival romp through the Canadian north, will hit Steam Early Access on March 9, developer Scavengers Studio announced today. The Early Access launch marks "the next stage of development," and all the features that were seen in the most recent beta test are now permanent elements of the game. 

At the top of that list are Spectator Interactions, which enable viewers on Twitch and Mixer to influence the Show Director's decisions, and thus what happens on the battlefield: Show Directors have the ability to introduce elements to the game that can help or hinder players as they see fit.   

As the video below makes clear (with some NSFW language), it's a feature of the game that's obviously open to abuse—but that's also kind of the point. Darwin Project is clearly a game that's designed as much to be watched as played, and good Game Directors will manipulate the action in ways that will engage (and, no doubt, occasionally enrage) their audiences, without alienating them. In a genre that's already dominated by PUBG and Fortnite, it should make for an important element of differentiation. 

Darwin Project will go for $15 on Early Access. The developers are currently holding an AMA that you can dive into on Reddit

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.