SCUM, the survival game that tracks how many teeth you have, hits Early Access this month

SCUM is an open-world multiplayer survival game that distinguishes itself from the crowd through extreme attention to detail. As Tyler explained in his April preview, it tracks—among other things—individual vitamin and mineral levels, body temperature, muscle mass, stomach volume, and even the number of teeth remaining in your face. It's unusual, to say the least. And it's coming to Steam Early Access on August 29. 

Aspects of numerous previous survival and battle royale games appear to come together in SCUM. There's obviously a PUBG-style competitive element to it, and it's presented as a voyeuristic near-future game show, similar to SOS or the late Radical Heights. But the Steam listing says "knowledge and skills are the ultimate weapons for long-term survival," which includes combat proficiency but also security system hacking and other "knowledge-based skills." Do well and you'll receive life-extending gifts from your corporate sponsors; do poorly and you'll die, but you might come back with all those skills intact—as a zombie, apparently, and yes, they're in the game too (though they're called 'puppets'). 

The big question about SCUM is whether the ability to monitor your vitamin K intake proves to be a small piece of a large, engaging puzzle, or just a weird novelty that wears off after five minutes. Open-world survival is a tough biz to break into at any time, and making the survival element more akin to actual survival is a risky move: Most of us, if dropped in the wilderness with nothing but a spot of helpful advice about scrupulously monitoring our calorie intake and workout regimen, would just keel over and die. But if nothing else, it should be a nice break from banging a rock against a tree to make an assault rifle. 

SCUM was the first game featured in Devolver Digital's incredible E3 2018 show, embedded below. I would strongly encourage you to watch the whole thing, but the relevant bit (with maybe a spot or two of possibly NSFW language) begins at 4:56.

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.