Wintry battle royale game Darwin Project is holding an open beta weekend

Darwin Project, the multiplayer survival game set in the great white north of the Canadian Rockies where the weather will kill you only slightly more slowly than a bullet, will kick off open beta testing with a weekend event set to get underway today at 12 pm PT/3 pm ET. 

During the beta, developer Scavengers Studio will host a series of matches on Mixer in order to test the new "Live Spectator Interactions" feature. Spectators will have the ability to place bets on competitors and help the Show Director, a player who monitors the action from above and hands out "unique, arena-shaping" bonuses and punishments to players it deems deserving, decide which of the combatants is deserving of special attention. 

"You haven't lived until you've seen a whole server of players stop what they're doing to hunt down the poor sap you just revealed on their minimaps," Scavenger Studio said. "Classic." 

That might sound a little harsh, but the developers said in November that one of their priorities is ensuring that players stay focused on fighting, rather than hiding while the herd thins itself out. Fires must be crafted in order to avoid freezing to death but they'll also alert anyone nearby to your presence, while footprints in the snow make you easy to follow. Even crafting items will leave behind clues that can help other players track you down and kill you dead. 

The Darwin Project client is downloadable now from Steam, and in case there's any question, it is free. The open beta weekend will run until 9 pm PT/12 am ET on January 21.   

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.