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'Hyper Scape' brings fresh ideas to a crowded battle royale arena

Ubisoft hopes Twitch integration and elimination perks will set it apart.
Kris Holt, @krisholt
July 2, 2020
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Hyper Scape
Ubisoft

Ubisoft is jumping into the battle royale arena with Hyper Scape, its futuristic, first-person take on the genre. You can try it on PC today as part of a technical test, as long as you’re lucky enough to receive a Twitch Drop (more on that in a bit). It’ll be available on PS4 and Xbox One at a later date.

You can play solo (in a limited-time mode) or in teams of three, and there’ll be up to 100 players in each match. You can revive your teammates by taking out other players -- a respawn beacon will appear by a downed enemy. If you’re eliminated, you can still play an active role in your squad’s success. You’ll go into an echo form, in which you’ll be able to scout ahead and ping things of interest for your teammates.

All the core battle royale genre hallmarks are here. Matches start with players dropping into the virtual city of Neo-Arcadia, and scavenging for gear and weapons. The play area shrinks over time as map sectors deteriorate, forcing players closer together until one team is left standing.

What helps make Hyper Scape a little different is that there’s another way to win. Towards the end of a match, the Hyper Scape crown pops up somewhere on the map. You can claim victory if you pick up and hang onto it for 45 seconds.

If you find a gun you already have, you can fuse them to upgrade your weapon. You’ll find shotguns, pistols, grenade launchers, machine guns and sniper rifles, and you can carry two of them at a time.

There's a lot of focus on movement and verticality in Hyper Scape, which is free to play. Players can double jump and climb up structures, and there’s no fall damage.

“Hacks” will help you get around, and you’ll have inventory slots for two abilities. For instance, you can build a wall wherever you like to gain height quickly (or shield yourself from enemies), teleport, become invisible or turn into a bouncing ball. Other hacks include heat-sensitive mines, an option to reveal nearby enemy locations and armor. The latter negates all damage, but you can’t use your weapons while it’s active. You can swap out and upgrade your hacks during a round.

If you want to try out Hyper Scape as soon as possible, your best bet is to connect your Twitch and Ubisoft accounts, and watch streamers who have drops enabled on their channels. Riot adopted a similar launch strategy with Valorant, which peaked at 1.7 million concurrent viewers on Twitch on its first day. Within 30 minutes or so of people starting to stream Hyper Scape, it drew in nearly half a million viewers.

If you’re watching an eligible stream and you’re fortunate enough, you’ll gain access to the Hyper Scape technical test on PC. Players in the following countries are eligible to join the test: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the US.

Ubisoft Montreal actually developed the game in partnership with Twitch, and viewers can get in on the action in other ways. They can impact the game directly if streamers are using the Crowncast extension. Streamers can use that to share details about their loadouts and in-game stats, and viewers can vote for events that affect all players in a match, such as enabling low gravity, granting infinite ammo or revealing player locations.

The Hyper Scape Twitch extension
Ubisoft

"What makes Twitch so unique is the real-time engagement between our streamers and their fans. While traditionally this kind of interaction has been about commenting on gameplay, Hyper Scape transports viewers into the game themselves, to serve as active participants,” Sharmeen Browarek Chapp, vice president of community product at Twitch, said in a statement. “The fact that fans can now directly impact what’s happening in the game creates an entirely new experience.”

The technical test runs through July 7th. The trios (or Crown Rush mode) is available now, and players will get to try the Dark Haze solo mode before the end of the test. There’ll also be a free 10-tier battle pass, and all of your progress and items you earn will carry forward through future tests and betas through to the full launch of Hyper Scape.

Update 7/2 2:45 PM ET: Added more details from Twitch and Ubisoft.

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