After years of coasting on Dr Disrespect's fame, it's hard to imagine a happy ending for Midnight Society

(Image credit: Midnight Society)

It's a hectic time for those in the orbit of Guy Beahm, the streamer better known as Dr Disrespect who last week admitted to being banned from Twitch for inappropriately messaging a minor.

Friends, brands, and a professional football team have cut ties with the streamer, though the separation most personal to Beahm was his firing from Midnight Society, the game studio he co-founded in 2021. For almost three years Beahm was the face of Midnight Society and its debut game Deadrop, a "vertical extraction shooter."

"Face" is actually an understatement: Deadrop wasn't just Dr Disrespect's game, it was the Dr Disrespect game. The shooter's art style matches Beahm's dark cyberpunk stream graphics and merchandise. Deadrop's core extraction mode was inspired by Beahm's love of Escape From Tarkov. The Deadrop assault rifle has two firing modes: "Yaya" and "Yayayaya," a reference to the disgraced streamer's catchphrase.

In the week since Beahm's firing Midnight Society has made efforts to scrub the Doc from its official channels—Beahm is no longer mentioned in the studio's Twitter bio and its About Us page has gone offline. Only scarce mentions of the streamer remain in its FAQ and branding guidelines. Midnight Society might never fully disentangle itself from its co-founder, though even if it could, I seriously question what Deadrop is without its load-bearing hype man. Because I can tell you what Deadrop is not right now: a good, or even particularly promising game.

Day zero

Deadrop is not a normal videogame. That's the way the Midnight Society founding quartet of Beahm, Robert Bowling (former Call of Duty creative lead), Quinn DelHoyo (former Halo Infinite designer), and entrepreneur Sumit Gupta like to talk about Deadrop—as a never-before-seen project that "turns tables upside down" on the game industry. At the center of that mission is what the studio has coined its "Day Zero" development, where early adopters vote on features and give feedback.

Months before Deadrop had a name or we even knew what kind of game it was, Midnight Society started selling $50 Founders Passes, NFTs that granted owners unique, procedurally generated Midnight Society avatars usable in-game.

It didn't take long for Midnight Society to demonstrate why developers usually wait a few years to put their games in front of players.

The studio's embracing of NFTs and decentralization, as trendy as it was in 2021, alienated PC gamers already exasperated by Web3 startups proclaiming that the future of gaming is a stock market. The decision also instantly associated Deadrop with the shallow, cynical, and scam-prone Web3 gaming space. But those detractions were a blip against the huge audience of eager Beahm supporters. All 10,000 Founder Passes sold out shortly after going on sale. That $50 buy-in got them a digital trinket they could sell later, but the real prize was access to future Deadrop test builds called "Snapshots," Midnight Society's other self-proclaimed development innovation.


Deadrop has been in pre-alpha for two years. Every map looks like this. (Image credit: Midnight Society)

Deadrop is essentially an early access game like any other, but with earlier access, and a promise to deliver a new playable Snapshot every six weeks. I was one of the skeptics who questioned how Midnight Society would pull off releasing a new build of Deadrop every 42 days when it was starting from scratch. What could a studio even accomplish at that pace?

It didn't take long for Midnight Society to demonstrate why developers usually wait a few years to put their games in front of players. The much-hyped Snapshot 1, released in July 2022, turned out to have three rooms, firing ranges, and a single gun. Midnight Society called it an experience, but it was a tech demo at best. It wouldn't be until Snapshot 2 in September, which missed its six-week deadline by two weeks, that Deadrop would get the basis of its multiplayer extraction mode, a map, and a few other weapons. After the first few snapshots, Midnight Society started selling non-NFT access to the game for $25. That's the version I bought.


(Image credit: Midnight Society)

Deadrop is a state of mind

From a development standpoint, each snapshot served its function as a playable proof of concept, but it was clear from all the placeholder assets, buggy animations, and generally poor performance that Deadrop was years from becoming a game people would actually like to play.

That's not the impression you'd get from watching content creators play Deadrop, most of whom are proud Founders Pass holders. Pretty much everything about Deadrop is impressive to its earliest adopters: its stiff movement, small weapon variety, squishy gun sounds, barebones animations, graybox maps, and its nonexistent progression systems. 

This is what I find so fascinating about Deadrop: Midnight Society has a group of followers who staunchly believe Deadrop will be a massive hit and aren't especially critical about what it is right now.

Midnight Society has a group of followers who staunchly believe Deadrop will be a massive hit and aren't especially critical about what it is right now.

It's a special kind of reality-distorting spell that influencers cast over their audiences—the same magic that manifested Logan Paul's energy drink Prime, which tastes like expired Gatorade, into a bestseller—that can convince crowds of fans that something with no objective merit is actually a big deal. If Midnight Society had never been associated with a major streamer and had released Deadrop into early access on Steam in its current form, it would've quickly earned a 'Mostly Negative' tag and been dismissed as random store fodder.

DrDisrespect's NEW Game DEADROP by Midnight Society - FIRST IMPRESSIONS! (Snapshot 1) - YouTube DrDisrespect's NEW Game DEADROP by Midnight Society - FIRST IMPRESSIONS! (Snapshot 1) - YouTube
Watch On

Part of the Deadrop magic has been effective theater. Midnight Society has created a culture of exclusivity through its liberal use of proper nouns, like "Day Zero Community," "VES," and "The Existence." Players who got in early aren't just players, they're "Variants." Lower-tier members of the community are "Claws." 

Throughout 2022 and 2023, Midnight Society put on huge live events from Los Angeles, Arlington, and Las Vegas to celebrate Snapshot releases. It's strange to watch Beahm, Bowling, and DelHoyo talk about standard FPS features like a (still unfinished) map, gun skins, and voice chat with the pomp and bravado of a Call of Duty unveiling. It's even stranger to watch a live crowd of hundreds pump their fists at an epic sizzle reel of textureless maps and hitchy gunfights. The unearned hype of everything Deadrop is enough to briefly convince you that we live in a topsy-turvy world where games don't need to be even passably good before they're crowned the next big thing.

But having played Deadrop and kept an eye on its community for a few years now, it's clear all that glitz and gusto has not amounted to active interest in Deadrop's current form. Because yes, despite its pre-alpha status, Deadrop is still a $15 game you can buy right now—though I don't recommend it, since nobody else is playing.

Deadrop 2024"

Deadrop in 2024

In early 2024, a few months after its big Snapshot 7 reveal event in Las Vegas, Midnight Society unceremoniously announced via its blog that 2024 would be a quiet year for Deadrop.

"We are going behind the curtain, which means we will be doing fewer major releases (like Snapshots) and focusing on the heavy lifting required to bring Deadrop to the finish line," the update read.

That finish line is another "early access" release, presumably different from the one it's already selling, on consoles and PC. It was an awkward read, considering Midnight Society was going back on its promise of making the community a constant participant with six-week Snapshots, but reading between the lines, I think most fans understood it was the best decision for actually finishing the game. The update did include a promise to still have "public releases" throughout 2024, but in the six months since, this hasn't happened. After talk of "redefining the industry" with a bold Day Zero strategy, today's Midnight Society operates like any other game studio.


(Image credit: Midnight Society)

Deadrop, meanwhile, is in stasis. The version for sale today is still Snapshot 7, released in October 2023, and despite my best efforts this past week, I haven't gotten into a match. The best I've managed is loading up an empty map and shooting some guns. Deadrop's guns are probably its best quality, but that's not saying much. They're generic, sound bad, and dip my framerate every time I shoot, but at least they're snappy.

As I wandered around one of Deadrop's big tower maps and imagined what it would be like with a dozen more people in the lobby, I started to question the point of Deadrop's signature verticality. Skyboxes full of megastructures do make for potentially pretty maps, but as far as I can tell, "vertical extraction shooter" basically means "Tarkov with a lot of elevators." The whole goal of the extraction mode is to reach the top of the tower, but since you don't have a jetpack or flying car, you have to go up the old fashioned way. Maybe it's just me, but I hate constantly climbing stairs, watching a ladder climbing animation, or holding E to activate an elevator. I don't think other shooters avoid this level of verticality because it's just too innovative—it's to ensure getting around isn't a pain in the neck.


(Image credit: Midnight Society)

Deadrop after Doc

I've given up trying to play Deadrop in recent days, as have lots of fans, by the look of things. It's been a dour few weeks to lurk in the Midnight Society Discord. Members closely followed the Dr Disrespect saga as it unfolded, with some immediately attempting to justify Beahm's behavior and others doubting they'd be able to support Midnight Society if the Doc stuck around.

The chat reached a fever pitch when Beahm was ousted on June 24. Almost immediately, dozens of founders dumped their Deadrop NFTs on Open Sea for half of what they'd been selling for the previous day. Hundreds of messages in support of Beahm flooded in—many adorned with Founders avatars—expressing disbelief that Midnight Society would "betray" its founder.

"I stand with Doc. Y'all are lame if you cut ties with someone before evening [sic] seeing proof," wrote BrokenJibz.

Others had more level-headed takes.

"I would love to think he didn't know her age but I think he would have led with that if he didn't," wrote WeaponX.


(Image credit: Midnight Society)

Now a week after his departure, Beahm still dominates conversation on the server, but the mood has shifted toward closing this chapter of Midnight Society and focusing on the game. Weekly Discord playdates are set to resume soon, so some people will at least be able to play the game occasionally. But it's fair to ask: What is Deadrop without Dr Disrespect to promote it?

It's an extraction shooter with a verticality gimmick, an NFT game that slowly backed away from NFTs, and a very rough early access experience. Midnight Society was right to dump the Doc, but in doing so, it also shed the layer of artificial importance it'd been hiding behind. Whatever Midnight Society has been cooking throughout 2024 is now way more crucial for the studio than it was a week ago. As a paying customer, I'm not holding my breath for much, but Deadrop does have a few cool ideas I'd love to see come to fruition—particularly its Halo-like custom game modes and map editor.

With the Doc dusted, now comes Midnight Society's true test: If Deadrop really is a massive hit in the making, it'll have to stand on its own two feet.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.