Phosphor – who kicked up a few dust tornadoes with superpowered open-worlder Project Awakened – is forging on from the weeping ruins of a failed Kickstarter. With Awakened “on the backburner” for now, the team of former Midway standouts has turned its attention to massively multiplayer sandbox survival with Nether. The short version? Think DayZ, but in a delicately crafted post-apocalyptic cityscape instead of a re-appropriated Arma island and with the promise of community involvement from top-to-bottom. For better or worse, Phosphor claims that this riff on that Z-iest of days will be at the whims of its fans from day one. For now, however, it’s already decently far along, so go below for two tense PVP scenarios and a video interview with creative director Chip Sineni in which explains why Nether’s not just another DayZ clone. First up, here’s a video interview that introduces the game, setting, and monsters, and fields potential complaints of DayZ cloneliness (which is not next to godliness). Apologies for the utterly heinous glare. I’ll get a real camera soon! I promise!
Next, we have two PVP videos provided by Phosphor. First up is a potential scenario that might unfold via the game’s emphasis on capture and maintenance of safe zones.
And lastly, evidence that – as with DayZ – perhaps Nether’s biggest villains are still other people. Watch as a group of players gangs up on another group, attracting nearby monsters and causing murderous shenanigans to ensue. Oh human nature, you so crazy.
Finally, it’s worth noting that all of this is absolutely subject to change. For one, as you almost certainly noticed, Nether is extremely early (hello enemies who’ve managed to achieve my dream of melding the Moonwalk and what goes on in my head every time I hear “Walk The Dinosaur”), and Phosphor wants its community’s wishes to drive development above all else.
“Something we’re trying to do with this game that a lot of teams only give lip service to is letting the community help decide the direction of where this goes,” said Sineni. “We’re not just talking about balance or loot drops or enemy difficulty. We mean literal feature driving. Like, are vehicles a high priority or not? Is crafting a high priority? Should more survival be a critical thing? Should you have to, say, fix a leg wound with a splint?”
“Or maybe people will want server options – like the ability to turn off all creatures in the world. Then it becomes a rogue simulator. Can you live in that world? In that case, it’s a much more subtle game. If some guy has a big backpack and a gun, then you might spend all day tracking him, waiting for him to make a wrong turn so you can kill him or stab him in the back.”
“There’s so many ways we can take this game. Right now it’s just a framework. Where it goes from there is really up to the people playing it. Because they’re ultimately the people who are going to decide if it’s a success or not.”