It has been, as ever, a very Ubisoft reveal. You know the details well before the official embargo is up: Ubisoft Montreal, along with a flotilla of other Ubisoft studios, is working on a triple-A, free-to-play battle royale. You know the name as well, and you may, like me, still be struggling to get your head around it. Hype Escape? So that’s what you call it when another big Ubisoft title leaks ahead of time. Oh, Hyper Scape? Yeah, I’m still not feeling it I’m afraid.
I’m happy to say that, having had a deep dive into the thinking behind Hyper Scape and a handful of matches, there’s some real promise here, though, and more than a handful of smart ideas it’s bringing to the table. First, the details – Hyper Scape is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC later this summer, with a tech test that’s effectively a closed beta starting on PC today. The premise takes us to the not-so-distant future of 2054, with Hyper Scape’s fiction like William Gibson on happy pills. It’s a world which gets all its entertainment from the internet and where the virtual space is used for an all-out Battle Royale which keeps people occupied (actually, typing it out, it’s not so much a fiction as a mirror of our current world, but there you go).
There’s plenty more that’s familiar about Hyper Scape, too. You’ll start matches by soaring in over New Arcadia – the heavily built-up map which Hyper Scape will be offering from launch – and picking a spot to land. There’ll be a slowly shrinking map, too, with the twist here being that areas glitch out. It’s down to the last person standing, too, with the final showdown being decided in either a free-for-all fight or Crown Rush, in which players or teams must hold onto a crown for some 45 seconds (the frenetic game of tag that results reminds me, quite happily, of Mario Kart’s Shine Thief mode).