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The Darwin Project is a new survival game launching exclusively on Xbox One

Asymmetrical multiplayer combat in a cold, cartoony wasteland

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The Darwin Project is a new multiplayer survival game from Scavengers Studio launching exclusively on Xbox One and also coming to Windows PC platforms.

Taking place in the Canadian Rockies, it is an asymmetrical combat game described as “half science experiment and half live-entertainment.” The trailer, showed live on stage at this year’s pre-E3 Microsoft press conference, showed players with different sets of powers hunting each other in the snow with primitive melee and projectile weapons.

One of the players was able to cloak themselves and had a kind of heat-vision that allowed them to see others through walls. Another player was able to protect themselves for a moment by throwing up a powerful energy shield and appeared to be able to fly short distances.

During the trailer a shoutcaster narrated the action as viewed from an in-game drone, part of its Show Director mode.

“The director dashboard contains a suite of tools, unlocked through a progression system, with the potential to influence the outcome of the match,” Microsoft said in a press release issued today. “The show director can choose to give the underdog an unforeseen edge or turn the tables on a particularly bloodthirsty contestant by restricting zones, calling in airstrikes, or even triggering a manhunt — which reveals a player’s position for a few seconds.”

Microsoft stated that the game would launch first on Xbox One, and would benefit from the increased power of the new Xbox One X console. It will also feature some kind of interactivity through Microsoft’s Mixer streaming platform.

The next level of puzzles.

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