Extopia is a Fresh Take on the Battle Royale Genre
In our endless searching for hot new titles with innovative takes on existing genres, Extopia stands out above a sea of battle royale clones. It's so much more than just another battle royale game. It features a level editor, PvE cooperative modes and all the PvP modes you've come to enjoy in the FPS genre. Players will be able to drive vehicles, build barriers, create traps, destroy environments and customize their weapons.
On the story side of Extopia, you play a new recruit in the Oasis, a so called paradise that is all that stands from the old world. There are 5 major factions that control the Oasis. You will choose to forge an alliance with "Prime Productions", "Aqua Corps", "Serpent Labs", "Lotus Sector", or the "Lion's League". But by doing so, it comes at a cost. Choosing where you stake your claim affects who likes you and who down right wants to murder you.
You might be wondering, factions, choices, battle royale, how does this all fit together? Well that's what we're going to talk about today. I've arranged to discuss these very things with Mitchell A. of WickedInteractive.
Thank you so much for agreeing to meet with us and discuss Extopia. Before we get started can you tell us a little about yourself and your role at WickedInteractive?
For sure! Well as mentioned before, my name is Mitchell, I went to college for Art, then into Game Programming, and I’ve been with WickedInteractive for nearly 3 years now. I am the Social Media Lead, Artist, Programmer, and dabble a bit into other fields when necessary. We’re “All Hands On Deck” for Extopia currently, so everyone helps out where they can!
How large is the team behind Extopia and do you work from a physical office or a virtual one? Where is your home base located?
The development team for Extopia is at approximately 250 employees. WickedInteractive’s HQ is located in North York, Ontario, and is indeed a physical office. We work in an open concept style, and enjoy board games after hours before we head home.
Let's dive right in. We've seen Extopia mentioned as a FPS, a Cooperative game, a PvP Game, and a Battle Royale game. Can you outline what modes this game has and how they interact with each other?
In the upcoming beta, you will have access to essentially 2 gamemodes: the BR mode, and a PvE survival horde mode (nazi-zombies style).
In the full launch, the PvE systems will expand, and all the other PvP modes will be available. This includes all the regular FPS modes you would expect in an FPS (Team deathmatch, FFA, Search and Destroy, etc), as well as some "campaign"-esque PvE content which will be short single player missions.
In addition to these default modes, Extopia comes with a very in-depth level editor, which can be used to make custom game modes using triggers and checkpoints in a mock unreal-engine sandbox. Previously, we have had a lot of unique game modes utilizing this system such as gun-game, parkour races, horror maps, etc
The BR mode, Regular PvP modes, and PvE modes are kept separate from each other in terms of rankings. And you could theoretically go the entire game without ever touching one of the modes. We have them, quite simply, as available options for the players to tailor their gameplay experience, and based on popularity, we intend to add new features to popular game modes, or revamp unpopular ones.
How do the factions play into these modes? What types of things will you gain or lose access to by choosing a faction over another?
As stated in the opener, there are 5 factions a player has to choose from. In lore, these factions are all different manufacturers, trying to gain a monopoly through trade and military prowess. At any time, a player may only represent a single faction, and by playing nearly any gamemode, your faction rank will increase and you will unlock exclusive weapons and items.
You may change your faction freely, however by doing so, you may lose access to unlockables from the previous factions, and would need to get your rank increased from scratch.
Each faction focuses on a specific style of equipment: “Lion’s League” focuses on raw firepower, “Aqua Corps” focuses on ammo capacity, “Serpent Labs” on accuracy, “Lotus Sector” on mobility, and “Prime Productions” on balance. Each faction has their own selection of weaponry to choose from, typically in the field of their preferred style, for example Serpent Labs has the best selection of Sniper Rifles available. Many weapons available from these factions are shared among each other, such as an AK47, however they will take traits from the faction you buy it from, as a Lion’s League AK47 will do more damage than others, but lose accuracy and/or ammo count as a result.
I understand there is a flexible level editor built into the game. Am I to understand that players will be able to create their own Battle Royale maps and engage others on them?
That is absolutely correct! Extopia is powered by Unreal Engine 4, and as mentioned a couple questions ago, our level editor is very similar to Unreal Engine itself, a sort of “Mock” unreal-engine sandbox. Players can choose a gamemode, such as Battle Royale, Team Deathmatch, etc, and create a map using a large amount of premade structures, or go really in-depth with simple assets such as walls, floor tiles, doors, and much much more to make the entire map by hand.
In the case of custom BR maps, players can create nearly everything except the terrain, but even then there are multiple terrains to choose from. After one is chosen, they can populate the 8x8km island with buildings (this is when the premade builds are useful), place random (or static) item spawn points, vehicle spawn points, and much more. After the map is created, they can choose how the map works, such as the time between the safe zones shrinking, how much they shrink per phase, how much damage you take if you're caught by one, as well as some more crazy things if you so choose, to really make it your own; such as teleportation pads to send you across the map, death zones that force parkour. Players even have the ability to modify Post-Processing settings within the map, to make the map pitch black, and force players to navigate using lights that the creator has sprinkled about, or some other creative use of the tool.
These features mentioned work as well for most of the other game modes chosen, and players can opt to create their own gamemode instead of using the preset choices. In this case, they can change settings such as player HP, jump height, damage, speed, as well as “win condition” and “lose condition” using a fairly complex but straightforward system of triggers and checkpoints.
After all is said and done, any map created can be hosted publicly and played with anyone. Created levels can also be posted so others can play it themselves.
Let's talk about weapons for a bit. I noticed that you are able to customize your weapons quite a bit. Can you outline what type of customization options we'll be working with?
Extopia’s weapon customization is in the form of weapon skins. So, firstly, we do not sell weapon skins. All weapon skins available in the game are player made. Any player can create their own weapon skins using a layer system with basic shapes, gradients, patterns and more. A new player has a moderately limited selection of shapes, and may only use up to 48 layers (though this is still far more than needed typically), but by publishing skins, as well as commenting, rating, and liking (or disliking) other player’s skins; your creator grade goes up. Once you break a certain threshold, you unlock a much larger variety of features and tools.
Any skin, once created, can be listed publicly. If your creator grade is under the previously mentioned threshold, your skin then goes into a voting system, where the top 25 skins each week become available to purchase by players for the next month. This means that at any time there are at least 100 skins available for purchase.
The weapon customization (and level editor) are my personal favorite aspects of the game, and some example of the weapon editor system can be found on our discord channel.
Once you either make, or buy, a skin; it is usable anytime you get that specific gun. In the case of Battle Royales, say you pick up an AK47 off the ground, it will immediately gain your AK47 weapon skin. If you then die, or drop it, the next player who comes along will pick up the weapon with your skin on it, allowing your design to be shared (until they die).
At anytime you are holding a weapon, you are able to change the skin on it. So if you pick up someones weapon and don’t like it, you can replace it with your own. Or if you personally have multiple skins for the same gun, you can swap between them.
Regarding the PvE side of the game, I didn't find a whole lot of information. Can you tell us a little about the types of gameplay we'll be experiencing for those who enjoy cooperative gaming rather than PvP?
Currently the main form of PvE is in the form of a Nazi-zombies style horde survival, utilizing Extopia’s simple building mechanics to setup fortifications, as opposed to premade barricades on windows, or other preexisting things.
Up to 4 players will work cooperatively to survive increasing difficulty waves until eventually several boss waves. Assuming they are successful, they will be rewarded with stamps, which can be redeemed for exclusive items, as well as a large chunk of money, exp, and faction rep.
On a similar note as well, all PvP game modes can be played against bots. Either used as placeholders while waiting for real players to join, or as a real match in which you will gain regular rewards (in case you want an easier time, or just as practice).
Will there be a clan system in game? If so, what features can we expect from clans?
Yes, absolutely. Though it will not be available during Beta, once we fully launch, players will be able to create their own clans. Clan’s have all sorts of functions ranging from as simple as just being a community chat network, to something more complex or competitive and Clan Vs Clan matches. Top ranked Clans each week are given rewards based on this system.
What is one feature of Extopia that you feel makes the game different from the others in your genre?
I fully believe that the weapon and level editor is the biggest thing that sets Extopia apart from everything else. It is an under appreciated feature in many games that could easily benefit from it.
Will this title be Buy-2-Play or Free-2-Play and what type of items will we be able to purchase from the cash shop? What is your stance on Pay-2-Win items and loot boxes?
Extopia is fully Free-to-Play. Players will have the option of purchasing items in-game using real money, but it is by no means mandatory.
Our “premium” shop contains mostly cosmetic items only, in the form of outfits and parachute skins. We have tried our best to avoid Pay-to-Win, and in the case of the BR mode, we believe there is none.
In regards to lootboxes, players will receive an ample supply of them daily, by completing daily missions such as “Complete 2 Battle Royale matches”. While most lootboxes are also purchasable using real money, the items contained have an negligible effect on gameplay, and are primarily cosmetic.
Where can people learn more about Extopia?
We recommend that interested players join our Discord to talk to us directly and get any news as soon as it is posted. Aside from that, our Steam page and our Twitter are both valid locations to find more information.
And finally, Thanks so much choosing to interview us about this! We’re very excited, and hope everyone else is too.
About the Author
Benjamin "Foghladha" Foley
Benjamin founded the Gaiscioch Social Gaming Community in 2001 and has since been the founder & activities director for this well known community. His role has gone beyond just running the Gaming Community and now includes running the Athletics Program in Portland, Oregon, as well as acting as the Managing Editor of the Gaiscioch Magazine, and is the Lead Producer on the Gaiscioch Livestream Productions. Additionally he networks with game developers to form relationships between Gaiscioch and development studios.
His experience in publishing dates back to helping his Grandparents who operated a printing press for over 40 years. In high school and college Benjamin excelled in journalism and played an active part in the school newspaper. Benjamin currently works full time as the director of technology for a franchise trade publication & education company.
20XX. The world as you know it is gone. In its place spawned the land known as "Oasis", a so-called paradise in a world filled with chaos. Five major factions control the Oasis through manipulation of trade, military might, and tentative alliances; spurred on by the equipment and weaponry supplied by their global manufacturers.