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Exoborne takes The Division’s Dark Zone to a grand, post-apocalyptic scale

Sharkmob’s new game is revealed at The Game Awards

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Key developers behind Tom Clancy’s The Division are taking the extraction-shooter mechanics of that game’s Dark Zone and building a brand-new post-apocalyptic shooter around that idea. Their new game is called Exoborne, and it was revealed Thursday at The Game Awards.

Developed by Sharkmob, Exoborne is described by its creators as a tactical, open-world extraction shooter set in a world “ripped apart by apocalyptic forces of nature.” Mother Nature makes herself known in various forms: tornadoes and lightning storms, and in the landslides and earthquakes that have devastated the southeastern U.S., where Exoborne is set.

Players will take on the role of Reborn: human survivors who have been outfitted with special implants that let them control powerful suits of armor, called Exo-Rigs. “You are what you carry,” said Petter Mannerfelt, creative director on Exoborne and former game director of The Division during his tenure at Ubisoft.

In a press preview of Sharkmob’s new game, Mannerfelt said that players will drop into locations across the fictional area of Colton County, scavenging for resources and technology; fighting roaming bandits and other players; and trying to survive with their haul until they reach an extraction point. But it’s not a looter-shooter, Mannerfelt stressed, as Exoborne does not have RPG-style progression or mechanics. It’s all about the gear in your loadout.

Artwork from Exoborne, showing a collapsed canyon and weather-altering STRATOS towers. Multiple scavengers are heading toward a piece of loot on foot and in gliders.
A look at Colton County’s destruction and the STRATOS towers that were designed to stop a climate disaster
Image: Sharkmob/Level Infinite

That gear includes weapons and upgrades for a player’s Exo-Rig. Each Exo-Rig will have its own strengths and weaknesses, with synergies between allied groups in multiplayer. Exo-Rigs are not only key to surviving combat and the deadly elements, but for traversal. Verticality and rapid movement are enabled by those suits, thanks to built-in grappling hooks and gliders. Players can also move through Colton County using zip lines and vehicles scattered throughout the game’s maps.

While Exoborne has multiplayer elements, including PvP and public events, developers stressed that it can be played solo, too. Sharkmob also promises a “thrilling, evolving story” that will be told through game updates.

Exoborne will be a premium paid game with live-service and content updates; it’s not free-to-play, reflecting a growing trend of game publishers moving away from that model for live-service games. Exoborne will also face increased competition in the extraction shooter space in the years to come, with Embark Studios’ ARC Raiders, Bungie’s Marathon, and PUBG maker Krafton’s Project BlackBudget promising similar thrills. Where Exoborne hopes to set itself apart is in its environments; developers promised that you can throw your opponent into a tornado if your gunfight isn’t going so well.

Exoborne is coming to PC and consoles sometime in 2024.

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