Josh Holmes, formerly Studio Head and Creative Director for the Halo franchise at 343 Industries, today took the new game studio, Midwinter Entertainment, out of stealth with the announcement of its flagship game, Scavengers.
Midwinter also announced a partnership with Improbable, which will include both project funding to support the making of Scavengers and a deep technical relationship. Midwinter’s work will help to inform the future development of tools and workflows for SpatialOS, Improbable’s cloud-based platform for game development.
Scavengers will build on the game design principles that made Halo 5’s Warzone a revolutionary new mode for Halo players, by allowing teams of players to compete with one another while exploring a large game map populated with hundreds of free-roaming and highly sophisticated AI enemies, with distinct factions, weapons and behaviours.
The multiplayer “co-opetition” survival shooter will be built with Unreal Engine and powered by Improbable’s SpatialOS game development platform. With these technologies, Scavengers will provide endless emergent gameplay possibilities resulting from the interplay of human competitors and AI adversaries within a large, living world.
“We started Midwinter with the goal of creating innovative, shared experiences for millions of players around the world,” says Josh Holmes, CEO of Midwinter Entertainment. “When we introduced Warzone in Halo 5, it represented the pinnacle of blended PVE/PVP. Now with SpatialOS, we have the ability to push the boundaries of ‘co-opetition’ gameplay in Scavengers, with teams of players competing as armies of smart AI move intelligently across the map, hunting down players and each other.”
Massive-AI “Co-opetition” – Intense, team-based multiplayer in a dynamic, living world
Scavengers puts players in the role of young survivors fighting in a not-so-distant future, where cataclysmic events have triggered a new ice age. The game will combine exploration, survival and combat elements, while maintaining a focus on teamwork and cooperative game mechanics.
By dividing the action between multiple servers in the cloud, all of which contribute to building and running a seamless and consistent world, SpatialOS allows more sophisticated artificial intelligence, more AI entities and players occupying a seamless, shared environment, and a larger, more detailed and more deeply simulated game world than can be supported by the traditional client-server architecture used in online gaming.
Players will begin each game by equipping their scavenger, exploring the wilds, fighting and allying with other human players to complete objectives, gathering resources and battling against AI-controlled enemy factions. Large and unpredictable AI populations, combined with the balance of co-operation and competition between the human players, will create rich, repeatable gameplay.
A deep partnership with Improbable
Midwinter is the first studio to receive project funding from Improbable, which closed a $502m Series B investment round in May 2017. SpatialOS is free to download and access, and developers are already creating a range of games using the platform. However, this is the first partnership of this kind between Improbable and a game studio.
“We’re passionate about making the next generation of online games possible and we’re taking steps to help studios with outstanding teams and exciting visions make games that would have previously been impossible,” said Improbable CEO and co-founder Herman Narula. “Often, innovation comes from studios like Midwinter: talented, experienced designers and developers with a track record of delivery at major studios, who want to create something truly groundbreaking.”
“We chose to partner on Scavengers because we believe that Midwinter will produce a great game and a great demonstration of SpatialOS in action, and also help us to optimise our own tech and tools for this kind of action-packed, session-based gameplay. A partnership like this is designed not just to help a great game get made, but to make it easier for other studios to make great games.”
Midwinter Entertainment is an independent developer, founded by industry-leading talent united by a shared passion for making games. The studio has since grown to become a tight-knit collective of veteran game developers from around the world. Scavengers is Midwinter’s first title, an ambitious multiplayer survival “co-opetition” set in a near future, winterised world.
With Scavengers, Midwinter is building on the strengths and experience of the team to build a game that merges elements of PvE and PvP while encouraging a spirit of cooperation and togetherness during play.
Using SpatialOS, Scavengers will allow players to experience vast play spaces, densely populated with satisfying AI combatants and supported by rich simulation of the surrounding world.