Procedural Cyberpunk CorpWars: Hollowpoint

Hollowpoint is a cooperative shooter (supporting solo play or up to 4 teamchums) set in a future where everything has gone horribly wrong. First there’s life extension. That sounds like a good thing but it’s only for the rich. Throw AI and advanced robotics into the mix, and the poor end up with no jobs, no security and lives that are nastier, more brutish and shorter than ever (relatively speaking). Then there’s a big old war, a bunch of smaller civil wars, a whole load of destructive storms and – BAM! Megacorps rule the world. Tale as old as time.

You’ll build a team of operatives who work for those Megacorps, performing dynamic missions in procedurally generated levels. Control is third person on a 2d plane, shooting into the screen. There’s a story trailer below, with some in-game footage at the end.

The developers are Dundee-based Ruffian Games, made up of former Realtime Worlds staff. You may remember Realtime for APB and the rather lovely Crackdown. Ruffian were responsible for Crackdown 2 and Hollowpoint will be their first original release.

I saw it in action at the Paradox Convention earlier this year (Paradox are publishing) but decided to hold off saying too much until I’d had a chance to play it for myself. While I’m still waiting for a hands-on opportunity, seeing this new trailer spurred me into writing, mostly because the video doesn’t really capture the game’s appeal. I’m not having a pop at the video, let’s be clear, but it’s a voiceover and some fabulous pictures of destruction and future-cities.

What I saw of the game reminded me of the action in Shadow Complex. The players can use cover at the front of the screen but every area has depth that they can’t move into – that’s where the enemies live. They’ll use cover and have various forms of attack. They come in different shapes and sizes as well, from regular footsoldiers to mech-like menaces.

Levels are stitched together from a huge number of pre-built rooms and missions are randomised to an extent. You might have to move through a series of rooms to collect something, mapping the area as you go, or be asked to kill a specific number of a certain enemy type. Success translates into experience and skill points that can be used to enhance your operatives experience and skillsets. Ruffian reckon there’s plenty of scope for long-term progression – there are no classes so there’s room for experimentation but it will be best to specialise.

And that’s where the co-op comes in. While you can play alone, switching between operatives to access their weaponry and abilities, the difficulty will increase as you go. Eventually, it’ll be tough to continue without human allies. The game’s coming to PC (Steam only as far as I know) and PS4, and while I’m not sure if there’ll be any cross-platform play, you’ll be able to team up with people online rather than piling them around your monitor. What I saw of Hollowpoint made it seem well-suited to local play since its levels appear to be short bursts, but it should be easy enough to play with strangers since minimal communication is required.

I don’t expect it to set the world alight but it’s definitely possible to make a squad of garishly attired cybermercs with preposterously large rocket launchers and neon pink rifles. That might be enough.

13 Comments

  1. kosch says:

    Hmm kinda sounds like Global Agenda from HighRez?

  2. trooperwally says:

    Life extension for the rich? Poor suffering with rubbish jobs? Megacorps rule the world? Doesn’t sound like their narrative team stretched those creative muscles very much – sounds like they just added a few robots to modern Britain. Maybe this is an intentional artistic statement?

    Anyway, politics aside, it doesn’t look particularly lovely but I’m always on the lookout for some good coop shooty fun.

    • MrUnimport says:

      I’m getting awfully sick of the word ‘megacorp’ but somehow that trailer managed to revitalize the concept ever so slightly, perhaps by invoking so many disasters that it seems downright reasonable for there to be nobody left but massive corporations.

      Not terribly keen on the gameplay snippet though, and procedurally-generated levels made of prefab 2D rooms makes me awfully antsy.

      • brokeTM says:

        “Megacorp” is essential to the Cyberpunk theme. Cyberpunk is just one of serveral dystopion sci-fi ideas. But it mostly revolves around Huge worldwide corporations that have taken control of the populace over from governments. Most these Cyberpunk stories/games revolve around crime, like Blade Runner. So if they veered away from Megacorporations, it wouldn’t really be Cyberpunk.

        Anyhow, I’m waiting on a great 3rd or 1st person Cyberpunk game, Maybe the next Deus Ex or Cyberpunk 2077. This however, looks like any other wave-based co-op shooter but with Cyberpunk flair.

  3. Kollega says:

    Oh, what wouldn’t I give for a cyberpunk game where some enterprising hackers accidentially discover the collected works of Karl Marx in some old abandoned bunker they’ve decided to make their base, where the objective is to overthrow the dictatorship of megacorps by any means neccesary, and where The Big Question is not “how are we going to survive in a corporate-run computerized hellscape?” but “how far are we willing to go to destroy and replace it before we become just as bad as our profit-driven overlords?” Surely that wouldn’t be very cyberpunk, but I would argue that this is the entire point. Even if, looking at the similarity of cyberpunk “business runs government” and Marxist “government runs business”, this particular point rings a little hollow.

    • Geebs says:

      Metrophage by Richard Kardey is full of Marxists/Anarchists and is pretty good. The Star Fraction by Ken Wossname is full of Marxists and is a bunch of boring wank.

  4. Canisa says:

    In between Satellite Reign, Invisible Inc, *Two simultaneous Shadowrun game franchises* and now this? Colour me a very happy little Cyberpunk!

  5. manny says:

    Hollowpoints is a lame name for elite megacorp soldiers. Should have called them penetrators but I guess that would have been too ‘phallicly oppressive’.

    • Corb says:

      …yeah, but the comparison of the soldiers to hollow-point ammunition was pretty good and spot on…except for the part about being cheap. Ammo isn’t cheap.

      • manny says:

        Well that’s even more lame, being called after a type of ammunition, plus out of a rifle fragmentation fmj ammo is superior, so they wouldn’t even be using that. Not to mention it’s the future, I doubt they’d be still using crappier than fmj hollowpoint ammo. They’d be using something with a time delayed explosive in it, like in Ghost in the Shell.

  6. manny says:

    This is what happens when you let liberal socialist douches write for a game about elite megacorp soldiering lol. The latest call of duty has the right view of elite mercenary/pmc outfits.