District 9 director's game is a battle royale where 150 players fight on a constantly evolving map

District 9 director Neill Blomkamp—the brains behind Chappie, Elysium and the great District 9—has been working on something with developer Gunzilla Games. The project now has a name and a debut trailer: it's called Off the Grid, and bills itself as a "next-generation battle royale with strong focus on narrative progression."

The game is thirdperson and Blomkamp's role is as 'chief visionary officer' (please) and co-writer alongside Richard K. Morgan (Altered Carbon, Crysis). The basic setup is that up to 150 players fight across the same map in both PvP and PvE storyline missions: with that map changing in realtime as certain things happen.

"Players have the freedom to control how the hard-boiled story unfolds, with each decision made directly impacting everyone’s gameplay" says the press bumpf. The proof will be in the pudding with that one. Players can also craft, customise and trade items in-game.

"With OTG, our ambition is not only to create the Battle Royale 2.0 by adding deep player progression," says Blomkamp, "but to build an evolving world designed to take on a life of its own, changing in unexpected ways each time a player rejoins the game. With an innovative approach to the Battle Royale core session flow and a deep narrative experience, we add purpose to each element of the game, allowing players to revisit the OTG world repeatedly where there is always something new to find and explore, and for us to expand upon."

A dude walking through some trees in Off the Grid.

(Image credit: Gunzilla Games.)

It's pretty big talk, but the trailer doesn't really do much to get one excited about this. It's dark, some military-looking bloke walks up to a city taking fire from a distance, and shows off his wrist-sword. Looks like he has cyberpunk-y body mods too. Off the Grid may well turn out great but, as first looks go, this is too much of a tease.

It should be said that Gunzilla’s got some serious back-end talent aside from Blomkamp, and may well be able to deliver on some of those highfalutin' ideas. Its chief technology officer is Timur Davidenko, who led the development of CryEngine and was at Crytek for almost 20 years before this, while art director Jussi Keteli's previously worked on the Gears of War series, Star Citizen and (the superb) Hunt: Showdown.

Off the Grid is due to release on PC in 2023.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."