GDC 09: Huxley is one part MMO, one part FPS

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A long time ago, Electronic Gaming Monthly had a giant cover story on a game called Huxley. The main thing I took away from EGM’s preview was that Huxley was going to be the first MMOFPS and have 100 vs 100 battles. Shortly after that cover story, Huxley dropped off the radar more or less.

I finally got to see Huxley in action yesterday and was happy with what I saw, although a little disappointed. At best, it’s going to be a 32 vs 32 game for the time being, far from the 100 vs 100 matches that was hyped in EGM. 

Hit the jump to find out what Huxley is all about.

Huxley takes place in the distant future where the people of Earth have gone through some rough times. The Moon collided with a swarm of Nuclearite clouds causing it to shatter into pieces and the fragments along with some of the radioactive Nuclearite clouds rained down upon the Earth. Lots of people die thus creating a horrible apocalyptic world. Plus, some humans have been mutated due to this event causing two new races to emerge.

First there are the Sapiens. They’re the regular unaffected humans and they’re always the blue side. Then you have the Alternatives that are the red side and they all still look like humans but have completely different DNA structures. Last, you have the Hybrids who all look like demons.

At the start of a new game, you’ll have the choice of picking between the Sapiens and Alternatives. Once you pick a side, you will then be given a character model that you can customize to your delight. You’ll be able to select the gender, hair style, tattoos, facial features and much more.

Once your character is created, it’s time to jump into one of the three modes. First, you have the City mode which is the game’s hub world. While in the city, everything will be in third-person view with the rest of the modes in First Person view. The cities contain stores where you’ll buy your weapons, armors and other things to beef up your character. You can also trade stuff with other players and go to auction houses.

There are also NPCs that give out quests or tell you a little something about what’s going on within the world. The cities are pretty huge as they can fit 3,000 people from all around the world so there will be various modes of transportation to get your around such as hover bikes and trains.

Going on a quest felt like going through a quest in WoW, except it didn’t look anywhere near as boring or as ugly. Seriously, how do people enjoy playing WoW? Anyway, you and three friends can go on a quest together and this is where you’ll fight the Hybrids.

The second mode is the PVP Virtual mode. Here, you’ll play against people on your server or other servers in deathmatch settings. Losing or winning in the Virtual mode won’t have any kind of effect on your city’s health. That comes into play with the third mode, Battlegrounds.

The battles will really matter in Battlegrounds. If you’re on the blue side and your side win a lot, the blue city’s economy will start to do better. Prices will drop, resale values go up — everyone is happy. The opposite is happening on the red side. Prices start to go up, resale values decline — things aren’t so hot for them. It’s going to constantly be like this in the game, a constant back and forth struggle between each side.

As for the gameplay, imagine the Unreal Tournament games. The overall feel is very Unreal Tournament style, mostly because the game is using the Unreal Engine. I only saw about 12 people at best in the online mode so it remains to be seen how well a 32 vs 32 battle will play out. It at least looked fun and very fast paced. There are multiple maps of course, and all of the maps will increase/decrease in size depending on how many people are playing on a map.

As for the different classes:

  • Phantom Class: can create a decoy, only uses long range weapons like snipers and wears light armor.
  • Enforcer Class: can tackle people, only uses heavy and close weapons like rockets and shottys and wears heavy armor.
  • Avenger Class: Using medium weapons like assault rifles and wears medium armor.

Each class can also upgrade their suits so they can use features such as double jumping, cloaking, shields and much more.

Overall, I liked what I saw. The battles are fast paced and it seems like there will be a lot available to the player throughout the game. I was told that while there won’t be 100 vs 100 battles when Huxley launches later this year, we can expect to see the 32 vs 32 cap rise as the developers continue working on the game after it’s released. Maybe we will get the 200 man battles after all.


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