I know exactly what you are thinking: “not another zombie game.” This isn’t ‘just another zombie game’. This is Fractured Veil. So now that the initial concern is out of the way, let’s get on with it!
Paddle Creek Games (PCG) has managed to take an otherwise crowded theme and mold it into a work of art that brings lots of excitement back into the zombie survival spotlight with features that set itself apart from the norm. Yes, it has hordes of zombies. Yes, it is survival. What if I told you that the survival and MMO genres have collided like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object? What if I told you it has dungeons to conquer and lots of exploration? What if I told you while base building, crafting, and farming to survive against zombie horde attacks – thirsty players will be coming to beat down your walls? WHAT IF I told you that there will be a drone spying on you and streaming encounters live on Twitch or Youtube for all the world to see as you progress and conquer objectives? Well, folks, this is exactly what I am telling you, and it sounds absolutely like a fun-packed adventure of mayhem and surprises!
I will never do the insurmountable lore and vivid story they have created justice, but I will attempt to simplify it without butchery (for more, check out the stories section of their webpage; it is an astounding read for a game in development – hype anyone?). The futuristic gameplay is set in Maui. You are locked into the 2120s. A teleportation company called Veilcorp had started a teleportation system in 2050 like we have all theorized about so that people could travel from one place to another conveniently and efficiently. The system is known as the Veil. As great technology often goes, the system did not pan out as planned. Instead of a neat transportation device to help you get to Thanksgiving dinner more efficiently, it began sending users to other versions of the world, known as fractures. (Marvel multiverse vibes anyone?) Now you are a forgotten backup of a person residing in a database within an otherwise fractured world in the year 2120.
This system has brought diseases, mutants and who knows what else through the veil. The results? Chaos and destruction creating an environment in which an unfit society is trying to thrive. As a player, you start out as a human being restored from a backup file whose identity and DNA were zapped into non-existence as a result of a system failure when the fracture occurred. You are a backup of no one. This is where you start your adventurous survival gameplay. Lost in an unknown version of your world, without identity and, of course, naked. Every gamer’s dream, right? A dystopian world? Check. Monsters to slay? Check. Bases to build? Check. Worlds to traverse? Check. But wait, there’s more…
Fractured Veil offers a crafting system that is constantly improving and a full base-building system, much like survival folks are used to. With these things in place, you will also have plenty of things to wack, shoot, explode and maybe burn your enemies to oblivion. There will be interactive NPCs, quests, dungeons, loot, and lore combined with things trying to end you lurking in every shadow. With this recipe – we have the proper chemistry of two genres colliding: MMORPG and Survival – MMOSRPG? I don’t know, we may need a more creative acronym.
I was fortunate enough to interview Ryan Wiancko, the Product Director of PCG and learn what is different/exciting with their product. The vision of this game is to take the MMO world (World of Warcraft, Black Desert Online, Guild Wars) and mix it with the survival world (Ark, 7 Days to Die, Rust). Ryan shared that the game has been in development for 4 years. As critics and seasoned gamers themselves, they are just now starting to lift the veil (pun intended). They wanted to share this product as their visionary dream rather than the false hope of another concept. The team is made of professionals who game and have heaps of knowledge/experience within the industry. If you have played many early access games over the past few years, you understand why that alone is a breath of fresh air.
How many players will be allowed on teams?
Right now teams are ten players. We have not settled on anything or etched anything in stone just yet. Just about eight months ago we started reaching out to various known communities who assured us they can drop 300+ players on a server with no questions asked, but we don’t want to overdo it and run off, you know, everyone else. So we are toying around with some system that wont isolate the players, and yet still potentially allows some room for bigger teams. We want those large teams to be able to function, but not at the price you have seen in other games where the little guy is left out, so they cannot enjoy or experience the game. We do not want parts of our playerbase alienated.
How many players will a server hold?
We are working with the idea of between 500 and 1000 per server. This is our goal. The servers will then be connected with the other servers where there are different iterations of the map – fractures of the multiverse. This creates the sort of world that you are used to in MMORPGs with different zones to explore outside of the one you reside in.
Will there be a cash shop?
The long term plan is to have a shop but purely aesthetic. No pay-to-win type purchases.
Will there be seasons/scheduled wipe dates or do you want the world to be persistent?
In the beginning, we may have to wipe from time to time due to development changes, but the goal is for the world to persist.
Is there offline protection?
Right now there are combat windows for bases of 2 hours during the week and 4 hours on weekends. Also there are shields that you can upgrade, and as you expand your buildable territory – more upgrades to make it harder for destruction. As far as offline protection outside of this, yes. We have a bank system that functions like most MMOs where it is accessible anywhere and everywhere. That is secure so that you can store some materials and things safely that are only obtainable for those with authorized access. We are also still looking at other ways to ensure that if you get wiped out, you can continue to play the game and pick up the pieces without starting over from zero.
How are you going to mix the sweaty nerds from Survival (think of the Rust community) who are often over the top toxic with the MMO community? Are you going to let things happen naturally or will there be checks and balances to prevent that stuff from getting out of hand?
There will definitely be checks and balances. This is often a cautionary tale for developers and for community managers. We do not want people to cross lines while still allowing some freedom for the banter. Some things that you are used to in some games, there will be zero tolerance for.
So back to gameplay, what is your overall vision on how the drone system will impact gameplay?
Something that can have a negative impact on gameplay is things like stream snipes. We want to make this more of a positive spin and not just be for stream sniping. As you play there are four types of zones. These zones vary and change in the way your base protections work or the difficulty of the area may ramp up. There will be less NPCs and things supporting you, making it more of a hardcore experience. While you are out exploring and moving around, with your reputation going into a database and such, there will be bounty systems and something like a most wanted list. So with all of this, if you are out constantly causing ruckus for a sustained period of time or griefing and giving players a hard time, you will be getting policed by this drone so that other people can step in and disrupt your process. This also makes people have to weigh the consequences of what the drone might do or how you might approach an attack a little more sneakily. It’s not that we want to make it impossible, just to put more weight on this kind of behavior so you have to be thoughtful and not just barbaric.
Can you capture zombies to use for your advantage or hire NPCs or something?
Yes and no. We are looking into some uses for NPCS such as guards or robots to help carry things. More for like quality of life and support than just exploitable gameplay.
What about transportation? Is it all on foot or will there be vehicles?
Right now it is all on foot, but we are working on our first vehicle which is kind of a post-apocalyptic golf cart. Maui is all about traveling in golf carts, so we wanted to incorporate this as something that is just slightly faster than running on foot. We want travel to be available but not game-breaking fast, so it is definitely a work in progressand other options will come.
Will the water around the island be incorporated in the gameplay?
We had a big talk about this with communities and our testing group. The general consensus was to focus really on the base building and land encounters and forgo the water world sort of area for now. It is definitely something we want to explore and develop, just not at the current stage of the game.
How can people get closed testing access?
We often do giveaways in our Discord to active people in the community who are engaging in the day to day or the sort of round table conversations. We also let the community know of opportunities through our newsletter that you can opt into at our website. So the best ways to have opportunity is to simply join our Discord/subscribe to our newsletter and participate in the growing community.
When will it be available for purchase/early access?
We are looking to do a Kickstarter in September and then an early access release plan aiming for the middle of next year (2022).
Time to check out the teaser!
This was a great opportunity to meet with someone from the team at Paddle Creek, and it was a pleasure speaking with Ryan. I have played many kickstarter/early access games and gotten burned – this does not feel anything like that. These guys are gamers with knowledge, a great idea, and a dream coming to fruition. I will definitely be along for the ride and hope to see many of you there! We will keep our eyes glued to their updates and let you know as the project blossoms into what seems to be a proper masterpiece.
Now the fun stuff, a giveaway! Ryan granted us two keys to give away to our community. Follow DVS on social media then share/retweet this article (Facebook/Twitter), join the DVS Discord, join the Fractured VeilDiscord, and later this week, we will give the keys away within the DVS community. This is a great opportunity to get in early on the action! Meanwhile, here is a gallery of some art and action we were provided: