All Hyper Scape’s burning questions answered by Game Designer Chris Pope

Hyper Scape was today (officially, cause the leak doesn’t count) confirmed by Ubisoft and Ubisoft Montreal. Stevivor had the opportunity to speak with Game Designer, Chris Pope, about all the aspects of the new battle royale that came to mind.

Below, you’ll find detailed answers on everything from Hacks, Twitch integration, weapons and even why Australia wasn’t included in the game’s upcoming Technical Trial.

Steve Wright, Stevivor: As the concept of a battle royale is familiar to most gamers by this point, I’d really like to drill down into the points that make it stand out from other offerings. Can you speak to the design process that’s led to unique hero characters without unique skills, and how the hack system plays to that?

Chris Pope, Game Designer on Hyper Scape: We strongly think that we bring a fresh experience to the genre, which will grab the attention of BR fans and newcomers alike. From the ground up Hyper Scape has been developed based on 3 innovative creative pillars that make it different from anything else on the market:

  • Neo Arcadia, a 100% urban and futuristic playground that fosters intense and vertical close-quarters combat
  • A unique take on the BR formula with innovations such as Hacks, equipment Fusion, the sector Decay, the climactic Showdown phase and the innovative revive mechanics that make Hyper Scape a Battle Royale like no others
  • Hyper Scape Crowncast, a next-generation Twitch extension that rewards and entertain viewers while allowing viewers to impact the game in real time and creating unprecedented interaction opportunities between streamers and their fans.

With regards to the design of Hacks (our powerful lootable abilities), we wanted to unleash the creative potential of players to find new and clever combinations of hacks and weapons, so that’s why we allow any character to use any combinations of 2 hacks and 2 weapons at a time. The freedom to swap abilities at any time allows players to adapt their strategy on the fly and answer to the ever-shifting landscape of a match.

Stevivor: I think another real game-changer is the weapon fusion system. If I understand correctly, it means you can upgrade your weaponry without some form of in-game currency while at the same time removing a weapon from the battlefield that could potentially have been used by someone else. Have I got the gist of it, are there other benefits/advantages the system offers players and can you take me through the process of its design as well?

Pope: You got most of it spot on! Fusion is an innovative feature of Hyper Scape, which makes the way contenders upgrade their arsenal very straightforward. We designed it so gearing up for battle is simple and exciting for the entirety of a match.

When you have a gun or a Hack equipped in your inventory you can fuse it with another sample of the same gun or Hack that you come across, permanently upgrading your hack or weapon in the process (and destroying the duplicate as you mentioned). Fusion increases damage and magazine size for weapons. For Hacks, Fusion upgrades things such as the area of effect size and/or decreases the cooldown before it can be re-activated. Every Hack and weapon has 5 levels of power, and the final upgrade gives a major bump in power that makes it well worth your effort if you want the ultimate edge.

Stevivor: Can I get a taste of what types of weapons to expect?

Pope: Hyperscape features a variety of different weapons. For Technical Test there will be 9 weapons and 9 hacks, and each season will see these numbers grow. The weapons are all designed to make Hypserscape the most intense, fast paced battle royale out there.

Some examples of our weapons are:

  • Skybreaker – a heavy Energy based weapon that shoots a single, very powerful projectile. Upon impact with a surface the energy ball bursts, damaging and knocking back all nearby enemies.
  • Ripper [shown below] – a classic assault-rifle delivering accurate damage at medium to long ranges.

  • D-Tap – a small automatic pistol that locks onto a target, dealing a stream of minimal but continuous damage
  • Riot One – a deadly single-shot revolver. High damage but requires accuracy, great as a finisher and at medium ranges.
  • Protocol V Sniper Rifle – ultra long range, large damage, lets you dominate from the rooftops
  • Mammoth Shotgun – a perfect weapon for close-quarters combat and clearing building interiors.

I’ll leave the last 3 for you to discover and enjoy once the Technical Test begins.

Stevivor: I’d love more information about the revive mechanic — does the Echo player have to ping an opponent and then have teammates kill that person to then be revived? Or is it merely a teammate’s killing of an opponent the trigger? If the ping’s essentially, does the kill have to be within a certain period of time from the ping, etc?

Pope: It’s simple! To be revived as an Echo, you need to find a Restore Point, lock on, and wait for your teammates to interact with it to bring you back. A Revive Point is dropped wherever an enemy has fallen.  The enemy could have been eliminated by your team or by other enemies, it doesn’t matter, as long as the Restore Point is there you can use it! But watch out… other enemy echos will be looking to use the same Restore Point!

In addition to the revival loop, Echos have a great tactical advantage as well, because they can see and ping enemies while being hidden themselves! So when you’re down, you’re still part of the battle and can contribute to your team.

This system creates lots of emergent mini-stories and contested areas on the map, as very often several teams will try to secure the same enemy Restore Point to revive their own downed squadmates. And what better revenge than getting revived using the Restore Point of the one who downed you…

Stevivor: I’ve got similar questions about the crown — can I get specifics on when it will appear in a game, how many players need to be eliminated, how long a player has to wear it and survive to win, etc?

Pope: The Showdown is the climactic phase that ends every game in Hyper Scape and it’s one of the key ways that we’re twisting the BR formula. After the Decay has reduced the map to a single remaining sector, the Showdown begins and the Crown is announced and then spawns shortly after. Players will know the exact location of the Crown about 20 seconds before it appears, so the tactical maneuvering and preparation begins immediately.

Once the Crown appears, there are 2 paths to victory: eliminate all remaining opposition or go for the Crown – if you or one of your Squadmates manages to pick up and keep the Crown long enough, you will win the match! Thanks to the Crown, you can really win the match without firing a single shot if you’re sneaky and fast.

Stevivor: How frequently will Twitch events will be incorporated into a game through the integration, and can I get some examples of the types of changes that could result?

Pope: We want viewers of Hyper Scape matches to be both entertained and rewarded. As it’s the case for streamers, we are developing many features that we will release progressively while we get closer to our Season 1 launch.

One feature that is available right from Technical Test is the Vote on Events that gives viewers the opportunity to have a real-time impact on the battle. Several times per match (the exact number of times will depend on the match duration), our Game Master AI will ask viewers to vote on game Events that affect all Contenders, such as “Low Gravity” that decreases the gravity everywhere on the map. The event that has been chosen by the majority of all viewers of this match will then be triggered, affecting all Contenders in real-time. In matches without streamers & viewers, these events will be randomly chosen by the AI Game Master.

Examples of events:

  • Low Gravity
  • All contenders revealed
  • Infinite Ammo

There will be 7 events available in Technical Test, and each season will see the introduction of new events for viewers to vote on and for contenders to enjoy.

Stevivor: Do players have the option to play ‘vanilla’ games without the Twitch integration?

Pope: Events have been designed to be a central part of the Hyper Scape experience, so they are occurring several times in a typical match, even if there are no viewers/streamers at all. The AI Game Master is running the show here and every few minutes she will trigger an event. It is not possible for players to opt out of these events, as its part of the rules of Crown Rush. The benefit for non-streaming contenders to having streamers in a match is that the events triggered by Twitch voters are unique to those triggered when no streamers are present; so by having a streamer in your match you get to experience new events and feel the crowd!

Stevivor: Does the Twitch integration mean you’ll need to (or you think you’ll need to) take additional steps in an effort to curb stream sniping? And if so, what’s being done?

Pope: Hyper Scape Crowncast is the exclusive Twitch extension developed for Hyper Scape. Our goal with Crowncast is to deliver a never- before -seen level of engagement, interaction and value for both streamers and their viewers. We are not concerned about stream sniping via the Crowncast extension, however we are going to be adding more streamer-specific features, such as name anonymization, in the near future.

Stevivor: There’s seemingly a lot of Ready Player One and The Hunger Games in Hyper Scape‘s DNA — can you speak to other influences and the general atmosphere Ubisoft Montreal is hoping to create in Neo-Arcadia?

As gamers ourselves, we have always been excited by imagining how video-games could evolve in the near future and how that evolution would shape the players’ life – Hyper Scape is our vision of that future. We have a wide-ranging cast of characters who are all trying to find a path for themselves in the challenging world of 2054.

Some see the Hyper Scape as a chance to rise out of poverty or misfortune. Others are looking for a quick win, a shot at fame, a chance to fight the system, or a way to help a loved one. Their goals will push them together, and force them apart, as they navigate the threats and dangers of a world ruled by megacorporations.

Stevivor: There looks to be of lore built up around the virtual arena and combatants themselves – are there plans to offer looks into the game’s extended universe/character backstories both in and out of game?

Pope: With Hyper Scape, our goal is not only to create an intense and innovative Battle Royale experience. On top of the game, Hyper Scape is a unique and rich universe with strong characters, each with their own motivation to fight in Neo-Arcadia. Players will get to know more about those characters and the global story of Hyper Scape season after season, not only in-game but also in transmedia creations such as comics.

As a very high level summary of the story so far: “In 2054, the world has turned darker, meaner, more desperate. Technology helps people survive the day-to-day grind – from neural networks to cybernetic augmentations to burgeoning AIs – but for the bottom 90%, living is tough. Many work for megacorporations to survive – these are the lucky ones. One of the few ways to improve your lot in life is to compete in an intense urban battle royale called Crown Rush that unfolds in the virtual world of the Hyper Scape. Become a champion, or a fan favorite streamer, and see your life change in ways you could only dream of!”

Stevivor: Can you confirm in-game costs for the Battle Pass? Or for skins and other cosmetics?

Pope: It’s too early to say the exact cost of our Premium Battle Pass but it will be in line with the global practices of the industry.

Stevivor: Can you speak to why regions like Australia have been omitted from the upcoming beta? Will Aussies have a chance to play ahead of release?

Pope: With this first Technical Test of Hyper Scape, we want to test our core experience and our online infrastructure in the best possible manner. Hyper Scape is a brand new kind of Battle Royale, the first to gather up to 100 players in a urban-only environment and while we’re confident with what we built to make it possible, it’s crucial that we test it at a large scale and fine-tune what need be.

We are excited to be opening up the doors of Hyper Scape to get players’ first impressions, Because of the data center locations for this Technical Test, it’s restricted to specific countries to make sure participants have the best possible experience.

Finally, rest assured that when the game officially launches, we will have servers in all major regions and countries. Hyper Scape being a fast-paced First Person Shooter, we know it is key to ensure that players have a good ping and a lag-free experience if they have an adequate Internet connection.

The Technical Test for PC will start on July 3rd in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the USA.

Many thanks to Chris Pope for his valuable time.

Hyper Scape heads to Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4 in this, the Australian winter. We’ll keep you informed as we learn more about the game and Aussie opportunities to play.

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About the author

Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.