Exoborne was a nice little surprise revealed at The Game Awards 2023. Ex-Division developers are working on a modern extraction shooter with some meaningful weather effects. At its core, it’s similar to Escape from Tarkov or Hunt: Showdown where players will need to extract loot at certain points or they will risk loosing stuff if they die.
While talking to Edge Magazine (Issue #394), IP Director Hultberg and Game Director Peter Mannerfelt (also 2 of 5 co-founding members of Sharkmob) shared some interesting details about the game, including how weather effects will impact the overall gameplay tone. Weather effects in Exoborne aren’t there for aesthetic purposes, as they will also have tactical implications. Hultberg tried to explain it with an example:
Say you’re in the middle of a firefight and you’re about to win when the storm comes in. All of a sudden, the guy you were dominating because you had a sniper rifle and he had a shotgun can now move up on you.
So, environmental effects will play a crucial strategic role in combat. It’s like mastering the apocalypse than surviving it. According to Mannerfelt:
I try to hunt storms, because I find that kind of gameplay is really fun. I have had many battles where there are two team in the air at the same time trying to snipe each other :).
While we can’t visualize how exactly that will work as we haven’t seen it in action, it does sound exciting. It will also introduce verticality into the mix, so players will also need to look upwards and even downwards sometimes to spot enemies. Climbing gear and grapple hooks will also play an important role is securing good spots to hunt down enemies.
All of these elements have seen players “being flung across the map” so we can expect some crazy things to happen. Balancing all this stuff from a competitive point of view will definitely be a challenge, and the team is aware of that.
Peter Mannefelt also shared how Sharkmob is planning to evolve Exoborne. They want it to improve it based on fan feedback. That’s not all though, they will be using stats like user behavior and heatmaps to understand and improve user experience as they don’t want to rely on 2% of total player base’s feedback. According to Hultberg:
For us, the game has two different journeys. One is done before we release the game, then another begins together with people who play it.
It sounds boring to say that you have a data-driven approach, but data can give you a good understanding of behavior. Sometimes you end up just listening to the best two percent of the players, and that’s not really the game we want to make.
While Exoborne can be played Solo and Solo players will have a lower risk of loosing the loot, the developers says that the game will always encourage you to team up and go for that lucrative loot which obviously would be challenging and extract other players too. Players will have to evaluate each encounter and decide if they want to flee or face the opponents, just like it was in The Division’s Dark Zone.
Exoborne doesn’t have the traditional RPG like progression, and it will be your weapons and Exo-rigs that will matter the most. So if you collect a gear and you loose it, it will be e great loss as XP or money you gained won’t be there to solace you. Players will be able to customize their exo-rigs but functionally and aesthetically.
Sharkmob’s Exoborne has already surpassed 50k Wishlists on Steam but we don’t have a release window for the game, not even an early access release. Hopefully we will see or hear more about this exciting project soon.