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S.T.A.L.K.E.R.Y. battle royale Fear The Wolves hits early access July 18th

Bad dog, no biscuit

Battle royale FPS Fear The Wolves is the latest game to adopt the aesthetic and modern mythology of the nuclear-ravaged city of Chernobyl. In this case, using it as the backdrop for last man standing multiplayer fun.

Developed by Vostok Games (a team including some ex-S.T.A.L.K.E.R. folk, though their previous free-to-play FPS Survarium is a bit wonky), Fear The Wolves adds roaming packs of mutant animals and some deadly reality-warping anomalies into the otherwise familiar formula, and it's hitting early access in just under two weeks.

While the E3 trailer below is far too dramatised, it looks like S.T.A.L.K.E.R., even if the pacing is more frantic. The anomalies in particular look even more menacing, although also a bit more visible and easier to avoid stumbling into. I was hoping for barely-visible shimmers in the air that cause the enemy flanking you to explode into a cloud of confused offal, but I guess that's not very esports.

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There is a bit more to Fear The Wolves than being Plunkbat: Chernobyl. According to Vostok, weather plays a major part, as explained in this developer forum post, with extremes affecting visibility, bullet trajectories, healing effectiveness and car handling. The way the play-space narrows sounds more complex than other battle royales, as detailed here. It's not just a clean-cut shrinking circle and it's not immediately lethal either, with threats such as anomalies and wolf-packs ramping up before the radiation turns damaging.

The initial early access release of the game will contain a single map, with more content already in the pipeline. Among the stuff promised soon-ish after launch is a second map, a new playmode, some new gameplay features such as leaning and crawling, worryingly not included in the release build. Plus the usual new guns to shoot, items to scavenge, mutants to run from you and weather to get rained on by.

Fear The Wolves will be launching as early access on July 18th, and you can wishlist it on Steam here. If nothing else it may help pass the very, very long time until S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 surfaces. Or if you're feeling more solitary, S.T.A.L.K.E.R's mod scene has you covered.

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