The Total War and Alien Isolation developer is trying its hand at something different, and we've seen a good look at it.
When you think Creative Assembly, you think Total War, Warhammer, grand strategy, and similar kinds of names and keywords. Generally speaking, you don’t associate the British developer with first-person, team-based multiplayer shooters. But then again, this was a similar case heading up until the launch of Alien Isolation, and look how that turned out in the end. The point is, CA is working on a game called Hyenas, which is about as far away from the typical sorts of projects the developer often undertakes, and as part of our time on the ground in Cologne, we got a first-hand look at this very title, where Sega showed us an extensive hands-off look at the game.
For those wondering what exactly Hyenas is all about, this game is a sci-fi team-based shooter, where squads of players compete against one another with the aim of stealing valuable (often Sega related) merchandise that is being protected in vaults around the map. There are heist elements involved, in the sense that you have to travel around the map and beat other players to important items, and then proceed to escape with them to earn a win. Of course, as this is a multiplayer project, other teams will be looking to beat you to the punch, and often even cause you some grief as you go about your business.
The gameplay itself seems to be quite fast-paced, with movement and gunplay more akin to what Respawn offers in Apex Legends. As Hyenas is set in space, on a space station to be exact, there are also elements that reflect this, such as zero-gravity locations, and ways to switch on/off the artificial gravity systems. And for those wondering how the loadout system work, there is looting involved in Hyenas as well, meaning you will need to forage for chests to get better gear and other items to aid in combat and battles.
As for combat itself and how that works, it all depends on the characters you and your team take into battle, and likewise who you face in opposition. For example, the character Prima can use her 1Up anti-gravity ability to better navigate zero-G zones with ease turning fights here in her favour, whereas Galaxia can use a deflective shield to better protect herself from danger or to turn the tide of a fight. While Creative Assembly only showed us a look at a few of the Hyenas that will be on offer, variety was clearly a strong point.
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On the topic of variety, the actual station that the game is set on also seems to excel here. As I mentioned earlier, it is in a lot of ways a Sega and pop culture heaven, as you can find various nods to the iconic game company and retro culture as a whole everywhere you turn. From arcade machines, to giant Rubik’s Cubes, to Sonic the Hedgehog, and even retro home console systems, it’s all there (often defining each room), and a lot of it you can steal as part of your heisting efforts.
You may be wondering at this point how a match of Hyenas is actually won. The idea is to acquire merchandise, which will then increase your level of Clout Points in a game. Once you have a specific amount you can exfiltrate from the station and bank your winnings, but as you grow your Clout levels, so does the target on your back, meaning other teams will see you as a walking opportunity to get a quick hit of merchandise. And since your team will not respawn if you are all eliminated, death is the last thing you want to be greeted by.
Otherwise, it’s worth being aware that Hyenas isn’t actually a strictly PvP game, as there are NPC enemies that litter the level. These individuals will protect merchandise and make your life all the more challenging, but not to the degree that other players will. What Sharkmob has done with Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt’s NPC factions seems like a good comparison point.
While I’d like to tell you how all of these features feel in actual gameplay, unfortunately that’s something I cannot add, as I didn’t get a chance to play any matches of Hyenas during the press meeting. Still, the many different concepts and fluid-looking action did leave me quite impressed, to the point where I’m excited to see what this talented team can do in the FPS space.