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Ex-Ubisoft devs are recreating the entire planet using drones

For its upcoming "survival action RPG" ReRoll.

Ex-Assassin's Creed and Far Cry devs Julien Cuny and Louis-Pierre Pharand have founded a new studio Pixyul, where the pair is developing a "survival action RPG" that uses drones to map out the entire real world. No, really.

"Using small civilian drones, like the eBee mini-drone developed by senseFly, a partner of Pixyul, our intention is to drone source and recreate the entire planet one square kilometer at a time," the wildly ambitious new indie outfit explained. "These autonomous drones are equipped with small digital HD cameras and they map out the environment by taking thousands of pictures. These pictures are processed with existing 3D software to reconstructs the actual environment as 3D objects. This data and these 3D objects will generate the game's environment or in video game terms, the level design."

If that wasn't crazy enough, the developer wants players' in-game avatars to experience the live weather conditions in that locale. "The world of ReRoll is also deeply connected to reality. The Reality System Sync (RSS) connects the real world to ReRoll," Pixyul added. "Days are 24 hours with day & night cycles, with time set to where your character is in the world. Real life weather systems are connected to the game universe... if it's freezing & snowing for real where your character is... it will in the game."

Cover image for YouTube videoReROLL Announcement video

Pixyul is adamant that recreating a virtual rendition of earth is a thing that people not from the future can do, but it won't start out that huge. Since it's such a mammoth undertaking, the developer is hoping to release a few square miles in an early build called Brick 1, and even that isn't due until mid 2015.

Fly away little drone, and don't come back until you've made some levels.

While Pixyul would like to replicate all of earth into a game, it's aware that it will need to take some creative liberties with the project. "Not everything deserved to be scanned and some areas will never be accessible for various reasons (military bases, restricting laws...)," the developer noted in its FAQ. "The oceans cover approximately 71 per cent of earth's surface. It doesn't make any sense to try to accurately recreate this huge mass of water. This is going to be procedural."

As far as the actual gameplay is concerned, ReRoll will revolve around exploration, fighting and crafting. "To subsist, you need to eat, rest, exercise, learn, fight but most of all find all the different ways to survive," Pixyul explained.

Unlike what you might think, ReRoll isn't planned as an MMO and competitive multiplayer isn't even part of the plan yet. Instead it will be a primarily single-player affair with an option for co-op.

Sending out drones to reconstruct the planet can't be cheap, and as such Pixyul is crowdfunding the project on its official site. Oddly, none of the backing options come with early access, and instead they're all tied to bonus content in-game like character models, weapons, and vehicles.

So far ReRoll is only planned for a PC release, but the developers are hoping to expand it to other platforms as well. "If opportunities arise, be assured we will look into them," Pixyul stated.