The literal battle royale currently in play between various existent and emerging battle royale games now faces some newly introduced and alarming competition: the upcoming Mavericks: Proving Grounds, featured on PC Gamer's E3 2018 PC Gaming Show, will provide gamers with 1,000 concurrent players pitted against each other in squads of five. Set to launch in the summer, the new battle royale game by UK studio Automaton looks to combine MMO aspects, socialization, dynamic weather and time effects, and those aforementioned servers, where the action will reportedly play out on a 16km x 16km map.
Battle royale game modes entered the zeitgeist with PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and, later, Epic Games' crowd-favorite Fortnite. Since then, more and more games have touted their own explorations of this style of play, including the recent announcement by Treyarch that the battle royale mode Blackout will be featured in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Mavericks: Proving Grounds is able to reach its high player cap by utilizing some ground-breaking cloud-based architecture for their servers. The game appears to have been in the works for a while, but details began to emerge of Automaton's ambitious intentions earlier in the year. Originally, the game’s cap looked to top out at 400 concurrent players, so this new announcement and gameplay engine trailer came as a surprise to E3 viewers.
In addition to that player cap, Mavericks: Proving Grounds is trying to ensure additional attention to the area players see before the actual game starts, comparing it to the social hubs employed in tradition MMORPGs. Automaton CEO James Thompson believes that a more involved and interactive starting area, "makes for a much richer MMO experience."
Considering that battle royale game structures tend towards a simplistic lobby experience, filler zones which are usually little more than open spaces to wander while waiting for the upcoming match to start, this approach targets a detail that games like PUBG outright ignore. Additionally, the enormous map keeps pace with the scale of the player cap, and Thompson explains that pursuing and tracking players - for instance, finding footprints and environmental evidence to determine where they may have recently passed - will be a mechanic crucial to success in the game. And then there are the other environmental effects which seem to set Mavericks: Proving Grounds apart from comparable games in the genre, including weather changes, dynamic wildlife, terrain deformation, and even a burning environment, the latter of which made an appearance in the E3 trailer.
For now, gamers who are interested to check out the beta can attempt to sign up on the website for a first look, but the beta list is limited to 100,000 players, and the Mavericks: Proving Ground site quickly crashed from visitor traffic following its E3 announcement. Beta players will get to join 400-player servers, but the full game will feature the touted 1,000 player mode, as well as a kind of persistent open world to play in - the first such world of its kind in a battle royale game.
Mavericks: Proving Ground is set for a PC/Windows early access period in the summer of 2018, and a full release in 2019.