In this strange age of Battle Royale shooters drawing crowds of millions, it's hard for other multiplayer action games to find their footing, even if they do have an interesting hook like last-man-standing survival sandbox Darwin Project, which spices up its 10-player battles with Twitch audience integration, and a human 'director', able to skew the match for the audience's amusement. In order to draw more people into its world of tactical public spectacle, Scavengers Studio have made their game free-to-play.
Yesterday, Darwin Project carried a £11.39/$14.99/€14.99 price-tag. Today, early adopters who bought in at the asking price are being given a bag of (presumably) cosmetic goodies early next week. To be precise:
If you own Darwin Project, you’ll receive the Founder’s Pack containing 2 Legendary sets, 3 Legendary Axes, 3 Legendary Bows, a full jumpsuit collection, and 5 Fan Gifts. It will be added to your inventory on Tuesday, April 24.
Scavengers Studio promise that they won't sell any mechanical advantages to the game, so presumably everything you can buy or unlock will be cosmetic in nature, as is the done thing for free-to-play competitive games these days. Plus, fancy outfits make more sense in a game which is so heavily geared towards public streaming.
The game is still in Early Access, but Fraser went and took a look it just last month, and found himself enjoying the pseudo-spectator experience despite some initial disinterest in the concept. The game is definitely closer in style to The Culling than Fortnite, and commits significantly more to the virtual gameshow concept than either (or, for that matter, the recent Radical Heights).
I must admit that after some rather ham-fisted early marketing, I'd overlooked the game, but now that I have the bandwidth to stream again, I'm tempted to give this a spin, especially as there's no financial barrier to entry anymore.
You can pick up Darwin Project here on Steam for the much more palatable price of Nada.