Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive has revealed its next game: Meet Your Maker.
It's a first-person building and raiding game that takes place in a hellish, post-apocalyptic wasteland, with players building towering industrial outposts filled with traps to protect genetic material - and then infiltrating the outposts of others to steal the precious resource.
It certainly feels like a departure from the popular horror multiplayer game, both in its genre and its aesthetic. But there are more similarities than you might think.
To begin with, Meet Your Maker has a certain horror undertone to it - albeit now in science fiction. It's set in a desolate world filled with imposing, brutalist structures and genetically mutated guards - a bleak future that could reflect our own, ravaged by disease and global warming.
But really, it's the asynchronous multiplayer aspect of Meet Your Maker that feels so inherently Behaviour. Gameplay is split in two halves, with players both building their own outposts for others to raid and raiding outposts themselves. Both can be done in co-op with friends.
Let's start with building. This is done in first person, flying or walking around structures and placing large blocks on a grid system.
At the centre of each outpost is the genetic material, or genmat as Behaviour calls it, and there's a little harvester robot that must always have a path to the genmat from the outside. Players must fortify this route, creating whatever structures they desire and covering it with attachments (visual, sometimes animated, props) and decals (essentially paint).
Then comes filling the structure with traps: arrow traps, incinerators, cubes of caustic waste, bomb ejectors, and more. Various guards can also be placed and their patrol routes recorded directly by the player, both for grounded guards and flying units. Of course, this all has limits to retain some balance.
When all is done, players can test and then upload their creations for others to attempt to infiltrate. Behaviour stresses that building is an iterative process, which means watching videos (first and third-person) of players raiding your outposts to then edit and rebuild later, making them deadlier over time.
Behaviour ensures that moderation will be in place to ensure nothing untoward is built. Players can give feedback on builds and flag for removal, something the team will be hands-on with at first.
The flip-side is raiding others. This works much like other first person shooters, with two weapons available (a harpoon gun with limited ammo that must be regained, and a melee weapon), consumable grenades, and a grappling hook for extra manoeuvrability. Players must grab the genmat and make it out alive. One hit and you're dead.
You can try as many times as you like, though. And with knowledge comes speed. Just don't get cocky - the game is already designed to be challenging, notwithstanding the likely brutal creations of players.
Both building and raiding will reward players with resources they can bring back to their Chimera - a "living experiment created as a last resort to save life on Earth". Providing your Chimera with genmat back in your sanctuary will allow you to level up your advisors - essentially boosting the abilities of your traps, guards, weapons, and their associated mods and perks, thereby improving your chances of thwarting raiders and successfully infiltrating outposts. You're encouraged to try both for the maximum resource rewards.
And so the loop continues. UGC is at the core of Meet Your Maker, but it's meant to be a social experience too.
Not only can you play the game in co-op, you can share creations with friends (though Behaviour insists friends won't be able to circumvent the game's resource economy with their builds), follow your favourite creators, send screenshots of failed attempts to friends, and award accolades following each raid: fun, brutal, ingenious, artistic.
Behaviour has Twitch in mind too. Dead by Daylight has become a sensation on the streaming platform, and the developer is hoping for a similar outcome with Meet Your Maker. It may not have been designed for Twitch specifically, but it's been in the team's design thinking since the start, enhancing the social aspects of the game.
It's also intended to be another long-term project. Players will earn resources and experience to progress as they play, plus Behaviour has plans for post-launch content: new block types, traps, weapons, guards, armours, and more. These will slot into existing systems and affect both building and raiding equally, requiring new strategies for both.
Meet Your Maker certainly has the potential to be the next viral sensation, a game of brains versus skill. It should appease fans of both building and shooting games, with a core loop that could prove irresistible.
The community will likely be quick to compare it to Dead by Daylight. Yet it's hard not to compare it to so many other games in a bid to capture interest. There's Minecraft in its building mechanics; Doom and Quake in its aesthetic; LittleBigPlanet in its social interactions; and countless FPS games in its shooting.
These could be the building blocks to something special, as long as it can capture a spark of originality.
Meet Your Maker is set for release in 2023 across PC (Steam), PlayStation 4 and 5, and Xbox One and Series X/S. An initial playtest will be live from 23rd August for around two months, sign up on the game's website.