Hyper Scape is a free-to-play, fast-paced, sci-fi, multiplayer shooter set in a virtual world of the same name. Ninety-nine players descend onto the map of Neo-Arcadia, either solo or in teams of three, to compete in Crown Rush, the most popular game in the Hyper Scape. The game’s Technical Test is live on PC, meaning that you can tune in to watch Founders livestreams right now. Founders are streamers and content creators granted access to the test, and watching their streams makes you eligible to earn drops and have a chance to participate in the Hyper Scape Technical Test yourself.
Hyper Scape introduces a number of new features to the battle royale genre, and it all starts with the dense, entirely urban map of Neo-Arcadia. Speed and verticality are crucial in the streets, courtyards, and multi-story buildings of Hyper Scape, and you’ll have to stay on your toes and make smart use of your weapons and unique abilities. These abilities, called Hacks, can dramatically alter your playstyle by allowing you to do things like teleport; turn invisible; heal yourself and your allies; leap into the air to come crashing down on enemies; and so much more. As matches progress, you’ll upgrade your weapons and Hacks by picking up duplicate copies and fusing them into more powerful iterations.
In Hyper Scape, death is not the end of the game. Players who are eliminated become Echoes, active participants who can still move throughout the map to ping enemies, weapons, and locations for their surviving teammates. Eliminating enemy players creates a Restore point at the location they went down, so if you want to bring back a teammate, you’ll have to take out an opposing player, or find a spot where someone else already did. Survive long enough to be one of the last squads standing, and you’ll enter the Showdown phase. At this point, a crown spawns somewhere on the map, and players can win the match in one of two ways: eliminate all other players, or capture the crown and hold onto it for 45 seconds. But keep in mind that when you’re holding the crown, your location is revealed to all players.
Thanks to a partnership with Twitch, Hyper Scape features a brand-new Twitch extension called Crowncast. Crowncast allows viewers to impact matches in real time by voting on in-game events that affect all players, like turning on low gravity or giving everyone the ability to triple-jump for a limited time. Viewers can also earn in-game rewards just by watching, and streamers can invite viewers to party up with them, all through Crowncast.
To learn even more about Hyper Scape, we spoke with Senior Producer Graeme Jennings.
What separates Hyper Scape from other games in the genre?
Graeme Jennings: We built Hyper Scape around three key pillars: The first one is the urban setting and verticality. We really wanted to build a playground that felt different than any other battle royale. Second is the flavor, and how we mix up the rules. So you have the weapons you can find and fuse. If you have a shotgun and find another shotgun, you can fuse them and improve it. On top of that, we have the Hacks. We wanted to give players the ability to build the playstyle they like. So if you’re defensive, you can use the Wall to defend yourself, or you can use the Ball to bounce away. If you’re more offensive, you can pair a Teleport with a shotgun and get up-close and personal. That really changes the flavor and pace for how the game is played.
Third, we wanted to bring viewers and streamers really close together. We took the idea of viewing from a passive experience to an active one. Viewers are able to directly impact a streamer’s game by triggering events like the low-gravity event, health-pack event, or triple-jump event. We also wanted streamers to be able to engage with their audiences more closely than ever before. With the Streamer Invite feature, streamers can pop-up an invitation on their screen, and instantly invite viewers to play with them. It’s a seamless experience that’s not been done before.
Speaking of those Twitch integrations, how early on in the development process did that become part of Hyper Scape?
GJ: We were thinking about games-as-a-spectacle as a key thing. How do we bring viewers and streamers closer together? That was one of the principles behind the project. We iterated on it many times, and this is where we arrived. We did various streamer workshops here in Montreal, and we spoke with Twitch out in San Francisco, too, to get feedback on our plans, and figure out what would be cool, and build it out together with Twitch and streamers to make sure we had a really cohesive experience for everyone.
You spoke about the importance of verticality and the urban setting. Was that always a tenet of Hyper Scape?
GJ: We knew early on, with the prototypes we built, that we wanted something more urban-based. We wanted high jumps and fast maneuvering on rooftops. We wanted something that looked different and played different, and urban was a good fit for that. That, paired with the Hacks, means that you can launch yourself into the air on a jump pad and teleport to the next roof, and travel great distances in the air. These were all things that came together early on.
How did you conceive of Hacks, and how did you decide what types of Hacks to include?
GJ: I think the game design team had some initial ideas. We always have a little flash of something that we think could be cool, and then we take that and prototype it. Is it around offense or defense? Health is obviously purely defense, because it’s there to heal you and your team. That helps give a role to players; I like to heal my team. Teleport, on the other hand, can be both defensive and offensive; I can be shot and teleport away, or I can teleport towards someone. There are Hacks that are defensive, some that are offensive, and some that can be used as both. It’s really the combination of the two Hacks you choose and the two weapons you choose that builds your playstyle. Because no characters have a character class, you can switch things mid-game. You can go super-offensive in the first half, and very defensive in the second half.
Have you encountered moments when someone used a Hack in a way you weren’t expecting?
GJ: Yes, definitely. So we have the Wall Hack. I think in most people’s minds, when you introduce a wall, it feels very defensive – but we’ve seen it used offensively as well. Someone is running away from you, and then you throw up a Wall and block their retreat. Or someone is in a corner; put a Wall up and trap them there, and they’re stuck. The thing that I thought was really interesting that I hadn’t seen before happened when a player was on the ground and placed the Wall underneath themselves, which catapulted them on top of the Wall and trapped an enemy below. Then they just started raining Skybreaker shots on the trapped person down below.
In more recent play sessions, I’ve seen players take the Mine Hack, place the Mine, and switch out for a different Hack. That way, they now have two different Hacks, but still have an active mine out in the world. You can switch Hacks wherever you find them, and use even more than two at once.
Hyper Scape has a very unique death mechanic. When players die, they aren’t just passive observers; they become Echoes in the world and can still move about it freely and ping things for their teammates. Where did this idea come from?
GJ: Playing in a squad-based battle royale, there can be levels of frustration where if you die, you’re dead, and you have to watch your friend until the end. There’s no gamification of that; you just watch your friend’s camera until they die. We wanted to make sure players can still contribute. So when you become an Echo, you still have active gameplay. You can say, “Hey, there’s an enemy over here! Hey, there’s a weapon or box over here!”
Secondly, you’ll see that in other games, people will start to camp respawn points, because they’re static. Because in Hyper Scape, you can only restore allies at the location that someone else died, so it’s much more dynamic, and they’re never in the same place twice. It keeps the game going; as the battle moves around the map, the restore points move with it.
We’ve even seen situations when an Echo will scout for their teammates and help identify players who are on their own. That way, the team can take out the solo player and get a restore point to bring back their teammate, and immediately have all the weapons and Hacks the recently killed player dropped.
When playing the squad-based Crown Rush mode, there’s a unique win mechanic: Once it’s down to the final teams, a crown spawns in the world, and if you can pick it up and hold onto it for 45 seconds, you win. Where did that idea come from, and what makes it a good fit for Hyper Scape?
GJ: We wanted to make sure the game was accessible across three tiers. So, it’s accessible in that it runs on low-end machines; if your PC isn’t great, you can still play Hyper Scape. It’s accessible in the fact that it’s rated T for Teen and PEGI 12, so it’s not overly violent. Lastly, it’s accessible in that you don’t need to be the best sharpshooter to be successful. You don’t have to be a crack shot; you can win by using Hacks, maneuvering throughout the world, grabbing the crown, and then evading the other players.
We also wanted to drive action, to a point. There are other games that end with two teams camped in two separate buildings, and everyone sits until the issue is forced. In this case, if you refuse to leave your spot, the other team can just grab the crown and make you do something.
Many battle royale games let you upgrade your weapons with attachments, or have you pick up better versions later in the match. What was the reasoning behind the fuse mechanic in Hyper Scape?
GJ: We didn’t want you to be able to just pick up a weapon right away and be done. Fusing allows you to upgrade your weapon or Hack every time you pick up another version of it, and encourages you to move throughout the map. Sometimes, you may pick up a fully fused weapon or Hack at the beginning, but as the game progresses and situations change, it might not always be the best one for the job, and players will have to choose whether to switch it out or stay the course.
After playing for a few hours, I realized I was often still using pistols at the end of matches, depending on the circumstances. Did you plan to make early game weapons and late game weapons?
GJ: We don’t have a group of six assault rifles; we have one, the Ripper. We have the Hexfire minigun. The Hexfire has a much bigger clip, but isn’t as accurate from long range, so there’s always a tradeoff no matter what weapon you’re using. It’s all about your playstyle and the Hacks you’re using. If you want to go invisible and sneak around inside buildings, then the shotgun is perfect. If you want to stick to the rooftops, then the sniper rifle is great.
I usually like to stick to the rooftops with my Skybreaker, land some big shots since it does area of effect damage, and then jump down with my Hexfire and finish them off.
Hyper Scape has solo modes as well: solo Crown Rush and a different mode called Dark Haze. What can you tell us about Dark Haze?
GJ: There’s a fog all throughout the map in Dark Haze. It was a unique flavor we wanted to add to the game mode. You have less vision, so you need to utilize your ears to hear players move. There are fewer Hacks and guns in Dark Haze as well, because it’s typically mid- to close-range. You’re not going to get sniped from the rooftops, most likely. You need to pay a lot of attention in Dark Haze; it’s a very different feel.
What can you tell us about the lore and world of Hyper Scape?
GJ: It’s set in 2054 on Earth, and everyone’s been crammed into these mega-cities. The world’s far from perfect. This company, Prisma Dimensions, invented something called the B-Link, which is essentially the smallest-sized VR headset in the world at this point. Using the B-Link, you connect to the Hyper Scape, an all-new digital world. This is where you go shopping, watch movies – a bunch of different things. Crown Rush is a game within the Hyper Scape that plays out in a place called Neo-Arcadia.
The issue is, there’s something mysterious going on in the Hyper Scape. People are there as characters for different reasons. Some characters are there to compete and be the best at Crown Rush; others are there to investigate what’s really going on with Hyper Scape. There are layers and layers of different lore, and we’ll tell it throughout the seasons, and we’re excited to tell that story in different ways.
What sort of content can players expect with each new season?
GJ: Each new season has, at minimum, one new Hack and one new weapon. It also has three or four limited-time modes; Dark Haze is an example of that. There’s also one called Turbo Mode, in which all the weapons and Hacks are fully fused from the start.
Each season also features a new free Battle Pass and Premium Battle Pass, which is full of things like character, weapon, and pod skins, and a ton more. There’s also the shop, which gets refreshed daily and weekly. I really want players to find a character they like through the lore, play that character, and be able to advance that character from season to season. Lore and story are key parts. We don’t want to give hollow skins; we can offer characters and skins with flavor.
What are you most excited about, now that Hyper Scape is out in the wild?
GJ: I think actually being able to announce it, and having our Founders playing it right away. In this case, we’re actually showing it playable before we’re even announcing it. We’re not just talking and showing stuff; we’re able to say, “Here’s our game, and here’s a whole lot of streamers playing it.”