Canadian game investor Execution Labs said today it is partnering with indie developer Robot Loves Kitty on the Upsilon Circuit streamed video game show.
Together, the two companies will produce Upsilon Circuit, a game that is like a combination of The Price is Right game show and The Hunger Games movie.
In Upsilon Circuit, eight players compete online in a dungeon to fight monsters, unlock new areas, defeat bosses, and earn points for their team. But in a video game show, the audience members — not the players themselves — are the main focus of the game.
And while the game world is persistent, the focus of each of the game’s seasons will be on a limited number of set broadcasts. When watching the game on a streaming platform such as Twitch, audience members manipulate the game in real time. They collectively pick contestants’ skills, drop in helpful items, and generally have the ability to save or destroy the competitors.
Execution Labs cofounder Keith Katz said in a statement, “We view Upsilon Circuit as a natural progression in how consumers currently play and watch games. In a very short window we’ve seen massive numbers of gamers spend more and more time spectating games, and we’ve seen esports viewership spike. Building a cross-platform game that is not just optimized for streaming, but built around the notion that the spectators are the game, is the perfect way for a talented independent developer like RLK to cut through the noise and create something truly scalable.”
Skilled players may be able to survive for weeks or even months, but once they’re dead, they’re dead for good. Audience members will then step in to take their place.
“The Stream First approach to development is continuing to flourish with a lot of variation in design approaches for Twitch,” said Brooke Van Dusen, Twitch’s Director of Game Developer Success, in a statement. “This is perfectly illustrated with Upsilon Circuit. Robot Loves Kitty and Execution Labs are creating a new genre by leveraging the power of spectators in a way that’s never been attempted. By building the next generation of interactive entertainment with the Twitch community in mind, RLK is among the leaders of this new game design renaissance that is exciting to watch unfold.”
Execution Labs is based in Montreal. It recently converted from a game accelerator to a publisher-investor, as it is working on larger projects that it hopes can have more impact. Katz said that Execution Labas has invested in Robot Loves Kitty, and it is deploying its team to work alongside Robot Loves Kitty. For instance, Execution Labs is providing an executive producer, a business intelligence director, a community manager, and user experience and interface expert.
Katz said, “This is not just a game; it’s a platform. Yes it is a ‘streamed game show’ but it’s also about all the other things around it. Think more like the NFL when the games are played on Sundays, but on Mondays everyone is replaying the highlights, on Tuesday the podcasts go up, and by Wednesday people are taking about the next game. There are enabling mechanisms that have to sit on top of all this, inclusion a robust spectator client, and all of these things are rolled into what we are building.”
Robot Loves Kitty is a husband and wife founded game studio based in New Hampshire.