The developers of The Darwin Project (opens in new tab), the upcoming battle royale game, want to make combat as frequent as possible. "In other games, the most fun part of the experience is when you're fighting other players, but this represents less than 10% of the match," they point out in the video above. To change that formula the game will have multiple features aimed at making it easier to spot and track other players, including footstep trails and fires that you can see for miles around.
Temperature is an issue in the North Canadian Rockies: go too long in the cold and you'll freeze to death. That means you have to stop and craft fires periodically, and those fires will be visible to anyone in the surrounding area, signalling your position.
Footsteps will leave a trail in the snow, so you'll know which direction another player is heading. From the video, it looks like if you stay on a footstep trail long enough you'll see an outline of the player you're tracking on screen through walls, allowing you to get the drop on them.
When a player crafts an item they'll leave 'clues' behind, which pop up on-screen when you're in range. Pick one up and their outline will show up temporarily. Lastly, certain cabins sprinkled around the map will contain holographic maps that show other players' locations in real-time, encouraging you to make a beeline for them.
All of those features will definitely lead to more combat, but I think the developers need to ensure it's not too easy to find other players. Part of what makes combat fun in PUBG, for instance, is that it is infrequent: the downtime helps build up tension. Let's see if they get the balance right.
Head to the game's website (opens in new tab) to sign up for an alpha key—this weekend is the first closed alpha test.