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1000-player battle royale Mavericks has been canned

1000 players is a lot of people. At least a small-ish town. Imagine trying to get all your neighbours to take time out of their day to hide in bushes shoot each other. If you’re one of the lucky multiplayer games that break big, it’s easy to forget just how big a thousand is. I’ve played games that would kill for even half of those in concurrent players. You don’t understand the things I’d do to get even 50 people playing Hawken again.

Mavericks: Proving Grounds dreamed of 1000 player brawls. To outdo Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds tenfold. But that dream dies this week alongside developers Automaton Games.

You remember Mavericks, right? Back when the battle royale craze peaked, Automaton was flaunting development of a competitor that would quadruple PUBG’s 100-player cap. That 400 soon rose to 1000, with an ambitious MMO-like structure with quests, vendors and a permanent open world. Powered by the seemingly-impressive cloud tech platform SpatialOS, it was too good to be true.

No, really, it was.

An absolute shock, then, that Mavericks never saw the light of day. Automaton quietly announced that they entered administration proceedings yesterday. While they’ll try and keep their previous game, Deceit, running through a license transfer, the unreleased battle royale hasn’t fared so well.

“Paul Cooper and Paul Appleton were appointed joint administrators of Automaton Games Limited on 30th July 2019. They are managing the affairs, business and property of the company. Please be advised that due to insufficient funding, the development of the Mavericks: Proving Grounds game has now ceased.”

Selling thousand-player matches presumes a certain level of success. Plunkbat, Fortnite and Apex might have found a crowd, but dozens of imitators failed to find an audience to support even 100-player drops. You want to up that cap to support player counts that would make even the big dogs tremble? Get on yer bike.

As ever, it’s never great when a studio closes its doors. I sincerely hope everyone at Automaton lands on their feet.

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Natalie Clayton

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