Battle royale is everywhere. Game investor and former Microsoft gaming bigwig Eric Fries joked Wednesday during our GamesBeat Summit that he got through the Game Developers Conference without a single battle royale pitch.
But we haven’t seen many sci-fi takes on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or Fortnite. NetEase could see Cyber Hunter stand out with its futuristic gear, parkour movement, and laser beams. The Chinese company is launching the free-to-play battle royale game today on iOS and Android worldwide (well, expect China, though it plans to bring it there at some point). Netease already has the thriving Rules of Survival, one of the five most popular battle royales on mobile, and it’s hoping Cyber Hunter can carve out a niche in the ultra-competitive market where the top five games have a combined 908 million downloads (stats from analyst firm Sensor Tower).
- PUBG Mobile: 373 million
- Garena Free Fire: 289 million
- Fortnite: 93 million
- Rules of Survival: 86 million
- Knives Out: 67 million
Cyber Hunter will monetize off in-game transactions.
You play a Wanderer, and like with other battle royales, 100 players drop on a map. This one is 6-by-6 square kilometers. As you “wander,” you look for weapons, other helpful items, and vehicles. But here is where Cyber Hunter stands out — you can grab abilities as you level up that you use to detect your foes’ signals, become invisible, or build barricades. You can tear apart buildings, too, and use the energy to power spy drones.
Weapons offer customization options via upgrades. A shotgun can heal your teammates. You can turn that grenade launcher into a bunker buster. The alterations enable you to tweak your weapons to complement how you play the game (which for me in a battle royale means either standing off in the distance and sniping away at my foes or blowing everyone around me to bits).
“Beyond bringing BR to a new futuristic setting, Cyber Hunter really pushes the limit of wacky weapons and added abilities in game. Players can turn invisible, gain the ability to see enemy signals, or deconstruct buildings around them,” a NetEase spokesperson said over email. “The weapons include a shotgun that heals allies in friendly fire and a grenade launcher that is made especially to demolish buildings. The vehicles get even crazier. For example, the Cerberus can transform into a battle mecha, the Windrider can transform into a plane, while the Dawnbreaker has a destroyer wheel. All together this adds a level of customization and mayhem to the battle royale experience that we believe fans will really enjoy.
And some vehicles that can carry up to five passengers, another sign that Cyber Hunter could encourage team gameplay.
The soundtrack also contains work from compsers such as Keichi Okabe (Drakengard 3, Nier: Automata, and Fate/Extella) along with the anime Yuki Yuna is a Hero.