PvEvP shooter The Cycle begins weekly open alpha playtests on Friday

The Cycle is a squad-based PvEvP "competitive quest game" in development at Yager in which players work together and against one another to collect resources from a planet in the dangerous outer reaches of the galaxy and then get away before some form of horrific interstellar death comes a-callin'. It bears a resemblance to battle royale, but there's more to it than that, and in fact we said in our March preview that it's Yager's attempt at predicting, and capitalizing on, whatever Big Gaming Thing comes after battle royale has faded. 

If you'd like to see how that effort is coming along, you can sign up to take part in weekly alpha playtests that will get under on April 12.  Yager said it's opening the alpha test sessions because some of the feedback it's received from earlier, closed alpha sessions was based on outdated builds of the game. Under this system, the plan is to give players access to a current build on Fridays, collect and assemble feedback over the weekend, and then have a "roundtable" discussion with players on Wednesday. 

"The team at Yager is committed to an open, community-driven development environment, and is looking to give players a recurring chance to try the game and offer feedback on new features, content and ongoing developments, as well as input on what they would like to see from the game in the future," the studio said. 

The drawback to this approach is that the open alpha builds might be buggier or less stable than a conventional alpha because they haven't gone through "hardening," executive producer Jonathan Lindsey explained. "There's going to be more bugs, there's going to be more crashes, and there's going to be things that are more experimental that you might love, or you might not." 

It's not perfectly clear on the website but the studio clarified that playtest keys will be sent out "regularly" and everyone who signs up will get one, but there might be a bit of a wait before it arrives. Progress will carry over from one session to the next, and there's no NDA on the alpha, so you can stream and talk about it all you want. The one potential knock is the timing: Yager is based in Germany, so the test sessions will begin at 5 pm CEST, which is 8 am PT/11 am ET, not exactly the most convenient time possible for players in North America on a weekday. 

Signups for The Cycle alpha tests are open now at thecyclegame.com. It's expected to move into closed beta testing later this spring. 

Andy Chalk

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.