Snowy battle royale game Darwin Project sweeps into Early Access

Ten-player battle royale game Darwin Project has arrived on Steam Early Access, and developer Scavengers Studio plans to have the final game ready to go for the summer. The game, which is set in a snowy Canadian arena, leans heavily on social features, including a "show director" that watches over each match and can intervene on the action, along with ways for people watching on Twitch or Mixer to influence what's going on.

Unlike in PUBG or Fortnite, you can actively track the movements of your competitors. As I wrote in November, players leave footsteps in the snow, and if you stay on the trail long enough you'll see an outline of the person that made it, so you'll know where to go. When you craft, you leave clues behind that will give away your current location if anyone stumbles on them, while wooden huts will house real-time maps showing you where everybody is.

On the show director role, one person watches over each game, and can speak to all the participants, giving them instructions or—perhaps—messing with them. They can close off zones of the map in an instant, drop a nuclear bomb, hand out heals, and start gravity storms. 

The game will have spectator tools built into both Twitch and Mixer, with viewers able to vote on what the show director should do next, as well as bet on who's going to win the game. The idea is to make it a "performance" as much as a competition. It won't be for everyone, but it's certainly different.

Apparently, if you played any of the beta or alpha versions of the game on Steam then you'll get the full version for free, which is a nice surprise. For everyone else, it's $15/£11.39, and that price won't change after full release. Scavengers Studio plans to add "new features, game modes, tools, show director powers, and more" during Early Access, it said.

Here's a few highlights from the most recent beta, in case you still need help making your mind up:

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play.