Unlike popular battle royale games such as Fortnite or PUBG, there's no shrinking map in Synced, and players start each round at designated spawn points, rather than dropping in at their whim. Meanwhile, the Haven adds a layer of social interaction, strategy and customization to the game -- it's a pre-match area where folks can hang out, organize their teams, and purchase accessories. This section of the game is being developed by English studio Gobo.
"We're not going to do pay-to-win."
Synced will have microtransactions, though developers haven't decided whether to offer the game for free or charge a fee upfront. Any monetization decisions will largely come down to player feedback, Yang said. The studio is planning to host a closed beta and early access period next year, and Synced is set to hit PC afterward. The particular storefront -- Steam or the Epic Games Store -- is still undecided, even though Next's parent company, Tencent, owns 40 percent of Epic Games.
"We're not going to do pay-to-win for sure," he said. "I hate those pay-to-win games. As long as it's fair for everyone, I think that's fine."
Synced has a rich pedigree. There are roughly 50 developers working on the game, and Yang himself is a veteran AAA level designer whose credits include Batman: Arkham Origins and Far Cry 5. Meanwhile, Synced's publisher, Tencent, is one of the richest companies in the world. Visually, the game reflects its roots -- it has smooth animations and sharp graphics, complete with ray-tracing.
Tencent is best known for releasing mobile titles with microtransactions, such as Honor of Kings, though it also owns League of Legends studio Riot Games, and it has a minority stake in Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft and other AAA companies. Synced represents a different kind of game for Tencent's development team at Next. It's a polished competitive and cooperative shooter built to compete with the top PC games of the day.
Yang takes it a step further, calling Synced a new type of game entirely.
"People can compare us with The Division or World War Z, and to us, actually it's something we're happy with," Yang said. "Because our bar is at that level. For the gameplay, people go, 'Oh, the UI looks like Division and the zombies like World War Z.' Fine, fair enough. But when we see this mechanic of controlling zombies, when we see that we have other players to fight with each other, the gameplay is actually hiding some big stuff. We don't see any of those mechanics in any other games."