Fortnite may have become the gold standard of Battle Royale as a free-to-play title with loot boxes. The smaller, 10-person battle arena Darwin Project is following suit.
Indie Canadian studio Scavengers Studio has officially shifted Darwin Project from a standard pay-once model into free-to-play, supported by cosmetic items. Darwin Project is available on PC (Steam), as well as Xbox One. Xbox version will become free to play sometime later this week.
Here’s the full statement from Creative Director Simon Darveau:
“We’ve said from the start that we’re committed to creating a fresh and exciting experience for Darwin Project players and viewers. With features like the Show Director who serves as a master of ceremonies, Spectator Interactions that let viewers directly interact with streams, and an emphasis on tracking that ensures players are always within arm’s reach of a tense confrontation, we still believe Darwin Project offers a quality experience unlike any other battle royale game out there.
“We’ve been fortunate to have a core community of players join us at a very early stage, with many still supporting us during Early Access, and the last thing we want to do is let those passionate players down.
“Lately, members of our community have reported longer queue times and difficulty finding matches in lesser populated servers. To bring in new players and maintain a level of activity that ensures players are able to get the most of out Darwin Project, we’ve decided to make it more accessible by removing the price tag.
“We’re aware that it’s a big change, and we want to reiterate that we’re remaining true to Darwin Project’s vision as we move forward.”
Players who previously purchased Darwin Project will receive the Founder’s Pack, containing a bunch of unique loot, on April 24. Those who would rather get a refund will have to go through Steam. Due to the shift in payment model, Steam is waiving the normal two-week time restriction on refunds.
Darwin Project launched earlier this year on March 9 via Steam Early Access and Xbox Games Preview. It has not yet been rated by the ESRB.
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Indie Canadian developer Scavengers Studio has officially added two player co-op to their Battle Royale survival game, Darwin Project. Darwin Project is still in Early Access on Steam and Xbox Games Preview. Duo Mode has been added to PC, but still forthcoming on Xbox.
Darwin Project has seen a number of updates since its Early Access launch last month. Most recently is skill-based matchmaking, which should hopefully make for higher quality matches and not pit newbies against veterans.
“Players just starting out in the arena should still have a fighting chance, especially on Steam where some inmates have been practicing since the Closed Alpha days and have reached brutal levels of skill,” writes Simon Darveau, creative director, in a blog post. “It’s important for us that Darwin Project be as welcoming as possible, and to motivate new players to continue improving and refining their techniques, we want to avoid placing them in the same match as highly experienced players when possible.”
The update is live on both PC and Xbox, and Scavengers Studio explains it’s an algorithm system that will improve over time.
The special egg hunt Easter event is also going on this week, ending Friday, April 6. Players can find decorated eggs scattered around the arena. Collect enough and they can unlock frighteningly garish egg and rabbit-themed hats.
Darwin Project launched in March via Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview. It features a 10-person arena, with a Show Director helping or hindering players, and unique live-streaming integration. It’s due to officially launch later this year.
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Scavengers Studio has announced the Early Access release date for Darwin Project: March 9. It will be available via Steam Early Access and Xbox Games Preview. The price was also revealed: $14.99.
March 9 will be the first time Darwin Project will be playable on the Xbox One. All the familiar features present in the PC betas will be available to Xbox players, including all the latest changes and updates that arrived in the most recent open beta.
Spectator Interactions were a big hit during the beta last weekend. They allow for viewers on Twitch and Mixer to vote on choices and influence the Show Director. The Show Director ultimately decides whom to bestow buffs upon and which zones to nuke, creating a dynamic Battle Royale battlefield.
In addition to the Show Interactions, the latest 1.7 patch added a rating system for Show Directors, private matches, map fixes, and general gameplay improvements.
For insight into recent developer progress and beta feedback, check out the Darwin Project Reddit AMA thread.
Darwin Project will be available via Steam Early Access and Xbox Games Preview on March 9. It has not yet been rated but should fall somewhere around T for Teen, not including the colorful interactions provided by online multiplayer.