Ubisoft Montreal’s futuristic battle royale Hyperscape is slowly but surely dying, and its decline may very well share a pattern with other free-to-play games.
Battle royales have been the go-to for many a gamer since 2017. PUBG and Fortnite quickly captured our hearts and minds with an “every-man for himself” mentality mixed with 100 players and a huge map. They took the world by storm, managing to have an untold number of esports tourneys centered around them; since then, PUBG has slowly shifted to a more mobile stand-point and Fortnite still pulls in millions of viewers.
Hyperscape was a fresh take on the battle royale genre, but fans knew it missed its intended mark even in beta. However, in good ‘ole Ubisoft fashion, the company didn’t really listen to their community after the beta phase had passed. Players were frustrated with everything from the lack of decent gun-play to the “horrid” voice acting that steered them away from the characters. The game’s views on Twitch dropped significantly and showed very little signs of stabilizing again. Even though a lack of twitch views doesn’t mean the game is dead (or dying), a lack of people to connect within a server is a sure-fire sign that Hyperscape’s 15 minutes of fame is well on its way to being finished.
This may be a problem stemming from the battle royale trend, where every game company is scrambling to pump out the next Fortnite or PUBG but is completely unaware as to what makes these games fun in the first place. Not only that, but these games are starting to be marketed like they are the next huge esports game and not just another really fun, free-to-play game.
Take Fortnite as an example. Did Epic Games think/know that Fortnite would take the world by storm with its battle royale mode? It’s hard now to even think of Fortnite without thinking of its battle royale mode, even though its campaign was the actual game in the first place. Epic did not have the intention of becoming a huge esport right off the bat, everything just fell in place perfectly enough for the market to love it so much that huge sponsors didn’t want to miss out.
Hyperscape isn’t inherently a bad game, it is just severely lacking in areas that are going to guarantee longevity for the game. What’s more, the devs showed they cared little about the community response. We’re now living in an age where every gaming company is starting to push games for a smaller percentage of the gaming market, namely, pro gamers. This hyper-focus on a very small group is what inevitably damages the game’s success in the first place, prohibiting similar games from being enjoyed en masse.