Game show battle royale The Culling 2 is out tomorrow

The Culling 2

It feels like only a month ago that The Culling 2 was announced – sequel to Xaviant’s early Battle Royale/Hunger Games inspired multiplayer FPS. Oh, wait, it was less than that. Three weeks and change to be specific. The developers are really not messing around on this one, as not only are they bypassing any kind of early access launch, but the game is will be available in just 16 hours, according to Steam’s store-page countdown.

Judging by the gameplay trailer below, The Culling 2’s design is perhaps a little more conservative than the more Hunger Games-inspired original. 50 players are now competing for fame, glory and not getting murdered, and there seems to be a much greater focus on ranged combat. Given that we’ve already got the two genre mega-juggernauts that are Plunkbat and Fortnite trading blows, it seems very risky to put out a shooter without an immediately distinct hook of its own.

The developers are keen to stress that melee combat is still viable in The Culling 2, especially if you pick perks to get you into stabbing range a little faster. I personally believe there’s a lot of interesting things that could be done within the battle royale shooter formula, especially in terms of weapons used, but audiences seem to have decided that semi-realistic assault rifles are order of the day and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Sad, given that Xaviant’s first game, Lichdom: Battlemage, was all about creative and esoteric magic weaponry. I want a wizard battle royale!

It’s not just the big-boys that The Culling 2 is going up against either. Sci-fi themed battle royale Islands of Nyne is due out just two days later on July 12th, and for all its fancy Crysis-style suits and futuristic weapon skins, it looks to be very much another pseudo-tactical, semi-realistic shooter where a scoped assault rifle is your go-to weapon of choice in 95% of encounters.

The Culling 2 is out tomorrow, July 10th, and will cost $20. You can find it on Steam here.


  1. Freud says:

    They didn’t manage to hold on to the audience they had with the first one, due to some bad balance decisions.

    Now they are trying to get into a market dominated by two giants. Probably not going to end up well for them.

    • strych9 says:

      I Had my eye on the first one, but like you said, after them making bad design changes then just dumping the game. I never ended up getting it(glad i didnt). now coming back so soon with a second, it seems like they are trying for a quick cash grab. big warning flag to me, Im definitely going to pass. their track record is already tarnished. my guess is this game will flop again.
      my suggestion to anyone interested in this game, read what happened in the first.

  2. shrieki says:

    gawd its ugly

  3. Spacewalk says:

    That gym instructor isn’t hiding very well behind that wall.

  4. racccoon says:

    There is a problem with mass hysteria, in this case battle royale craze, these new (sorry couldn’t lower font on new to tiny) games, keep rolling out one after the other, eventually they start to cripple the originals.

    • Rindan says:

      Why is that a problem? The originals kind of suck. Yes, keep iterating. Maybe someone will make something good.

      I’m personally itching for a game with actually good feeling movement, a game with vastly more interesting and dense landscape, and I want the weapons to be a lot more primitive and interesting. Honestly, I’d simply take the Hunger Games. Why the fuck hasn’t one of these battle royal games captured the simple feeling of running through a dense forest being chased by hatched wielding dudes? Why haven’t I played a game where I get an arrow through my ankle and now need to limp to safety?

      This current generation needs to die in their own timidity and unoriginality.

    • Bl1ndVe says:

      It is just a new Shooter game mode thats all, i wanna see new things made with the battle royale game mode there are so many options, but this cheap ass copies of the same formula is just pathetic

  5. Carakav says:

    Back in the day, I used to work at Xaviant. I never worked on the Culling games, but I’m glad to see that they’re still chugging along. I wish them all the best!

    As for Lichdom, although it got decent coverage, very few people actually bought it, which contributed to the mass lay-offs that happened there shortly after its release. It’s a shame, because although the game certainly did have its flaws, I stand by it as a unique experiment that had a great deal of potential, had we been given a second chance.

    But that’s the business for you!

    • gabrielonuris says:

      Did you work in Lichdom then? That game was my child’s dream, seriously, to drop and craft my own spells? Not even the Elder Scrolls mage’s guild hit the right spot for me, but Lichdom nailed it perfectly.

      I know it isn’t much, but I bought your game, and I wish to say thanks; if I could, I would buy you a beer for your hard work.

      I sincerely hope all of you ex Xaviant developers found a good place to work afterwards, good talent doesn’t deserve to go wasted.

      • Carakav says:


        Lichdom did a few things well, and I’ll still go back to it from time to time. Its original vision wasn’t even remotely close to what it ended up being, but the combat system developed naturally out of years of play-testing and iteration. We struggled with communicating some of the more exotic concepts, but where we landed was very different than what anyone else was doing, and I always felt like the arcane and fiddly depth of the system was more of a feature than a bug… kind of like how Paradox grand strategy games have these intimidating learning curves that make you feel like a boss when you finally master them!

        What was missing was more attention to our story and narrative. We spent so much time trying to nail the combat, that we neglected all of the other stuff that typically goes into making a game of that sort.

        As for the devs, we definitely landed in better places! I don’t keep as close a track on them as I’d like, but we’re scattered around working at companies like Ubisoft, Obsidian, and Bioware: Austin. Lichdom might not have been a best seller, but it’s certainly worth putting on a resume, especially for those of us on the art team!

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          Lichdom seemed very much like a tech demo, but in a good way (very pretty, story unimportant next to the “kill it with fire! Or ice or…”-gameplay). I prefer Crysis when it comes to tech demo games, but Lichdom had very cool features and gave the player lots of options of how to kill the enemies.

          I should get back to it some day, never got far because I switched computers while still only a few hours in and I didn’t feel like doing it all over again.

        • gabrielonuris says:

          But the arcane and fiddly depth of the system was exactly my favorite feature! In most looting games, everything revolves around stats and/or percentages that increase with level and persistance; in Lichdom, even the stats could be achieved with certain combinations, and goes a long way of simply “changing the weapon’s color”; you guys actually made different animations for them all, each spell has its own post processing eye candies, sounds and situation to be used. You’re right, the sensation is very akin to Paradox grand strategy games, where learning the systems is actually fun (not that Lichdom didn’t have a great tutorial system, because it did).

          There were occasions when I started the game just to create and fiddle with the system, just to see what I would get just with what I already had in the inventory. It was a therapy. An arcane therapy.

          You said the original vision for this game was different from what we got, it makes me wonder what other ideas you had for Lichdom…

          • Carakav says:

            It was originally envisioned to be an open-world GTA style game, where you played as Roth (the mystery guy at the beginning), and instead of jacking cars, you’d jack bodies… because you were a particular type of Lich, hence the name: Lichdom. Turns out that CyEngine isn’t as easy to wrangle for that sort of game as we thought, and there was shuffling in upper management, so we ended up narrowing the focus to a spell-combat crafting sim whose first iteration looked a bit more like Borderlands, but that then morphed into what you see today.

            I’m also impressed that you picked up on the little fiddly FX we made. That’s one of my prides of having worked on it: we put a ton of effort into the effects for every spell core, and at one point we even had a whole system that would dynamically scale the effects based on the strength of the spell’s various stats that you crafted! Some of that system still made it in, but we had to switch from a smooth scaling system to a tiered visual system, because it was decided that the discrete changes between one spell and the next weren’t impactful enough (it was also a lot harder to rapidly iterate on when we wanted to make changes). There was also a constant fight with the games lighting all the way up until the end, which is why the effects look great on some levels and washed-out in others.

            The game also suffered from performance issues. As the release date closed in, we simply ran out of time, which I think had a huge impact on how the game was ultimately received. We started work on Lichdom 2 shortly after, but only made it a couple of months into development before the layoffs happened. The sequel was going to focus a lot more on expanding the world, and making the game feel more like a traditional RPG. I haven’t kept in touch with the folks at Xavient since then, but I know for sure that they don’t have the resources for something that ambitious now.

          • gabrielonuris says:

            Thank you for the insightful replies, Carakav; it’s great to know that much about Lichdom’s development, it makes me love the game even more!

            It’s also great to know that a sequel was being made, althought I’m sad that it never saw the light of day; maybe someday, who knows!

    • Bl1ndVe says:

      Well my bro i have news, that company is going to get burnt to the ground thanks to this game, this is outrageous, i refunded this game in 10 mins, it is just WRONG this leaves Chinese games copying great titles like masterpieces. This is in another dimension of it is own when i comes to being crap. I cant believe the same guys that made The Culling 1 made this…

  6. pigy33 says:

    “The developers are really not messing around on this one, as not only are they bypassing any kind of early access launch”

    Xaviant -> English Translation: devs are skipping the first couple months where the game is awesome and going straight to The Crapping 2

  7. Caiman says:

    Got to get in while the Battle Royale iron is still hot, right?

    • mitrovarr says:

      It feels like a waste of effort unless it brings something new. There’s already a realistic battle royale, a semi-silly battle royale, and a fantasy battle royale. It doesn’t sound like this has a unique selling point from here. I mean, every second of that trailer looked like it could have come from PUBG.

      I mean, you know what looked like it lived up to its theme more, was free, and still failed miserably? Radical Heights.

    • Janichsan says:

      Technically, Xaviant already was in on the BR hype – with The Culling 1.

      And they are still earlier than CoD and Battlefield…

  8. Dewal says:

    For 30 years, shooters had four different mods only :
    – king of the hill
    – deathmatch (team or not)
    – search & destroy
    – capture the flag.
    and I don’t remember people complaining each time another shooter was published with the exact same game mods.

    Battle royale is popular now and people are iterating on it, good for us ?

    • Rindan says:

      I’d be with you, except that this isn’t an iteration forward. If I wasn’t paying attention for the handful of subtle differences, I would have thought that it was PUBG, right down to the floaty and shitty character animations and movement. Let’s move forward. Give me new setting, new combat style, new movement, new weapon styles, or new anything.

      There will be another big battle royal hit for sure, but it isn’t going to go to the company that makes some boringly slightly different clone of PUBG. It’s going to be the one that tries something new actually new. It’s like they don’t understand what makes battle royal games interesting, so they just decided to copy everything and glue a few extra bits on so it looks a little different.

      • Dewal says:

        I agree with you but because the problem here in my eyes is more “another realistic battle royal with real guns” than “another battle royale”.
        BR with floating islands and grappling hook, BR with spaceships, BR middle age, BR magic… there’s still some fun ways to explore the genre.

    • CmdrCrunchy says:

      Someone never played Unreal Tournament’s sublime Bombing Run and Assault modes…

      Ah, the amount of times I wistfully look back to those days!

  9. AbyssUK says:

    ” I want a wizard battle royale!”

    A Magika themed 3rd person battle royal would rock.

  10. macropickle says:

    I have so much to say.

    I LOVED the first Culling. They did some patches and added maps that ended up killing their small audience, but I still loved that game for the short time it had an active community.

    That said, it breaks my heart to see what they are doing with the second one. The Culling was unique because of its focus on melee fighting. Guns were rare, and if you heard one you were more likely to go “oh crap someone has a gun”. They also leaned into the gameshow “Running Man” sort of stuff hard, and I thought that was fun.

    So, it kills me to see them make a second that is clearly in a more PUBG style. Funnily enough, I think the stuff that made the first Culling good would make it stand out in this era of Battle Royale games. Instead the over-corrected to mimic that style, which is a shame.

  11. Bl1ndVe says:

    I bought the game and refunded the game in 15 minutes thats a new record, i cant believe how bad it is… Im pretty sure some amateur dev team can make something better in 1 week

  12. fish99 says:

    Pretty tragic what they’ve done with the sequel, it’s just a poor mans PUBG. No melee focus, no game-show presentation, no announcer. Everything that made The Culling cool and unique is gone.

  13. DatonKallandor says:

    Oh man these the Lichdom devs? Oh how the mighty have fallen. Lichdom was genuinely unqiue and interesting. And good too for large stretches. To go from that to Battle Royales is just plain sad.

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