PAX EAST First Impressions – Project Cyber

As best I can describe, Project Cyber is a sports game that borrows a bit from Soccer (Football for those across the pond) and a bit from, well, Monday Night Combat. Developed by Spearhead Games, Project Cyber wants to seamlessly integrate into the e-sports genre by offering a sporting event that is just as fun to watch as it is to play. The work-in-progress was shown off at PAX East for the first time, where they debuted the worldwide playtest in addition to an onsite tournament.

Players are put inside a 3v3 arena and tasked with scoring the most points within a set time limit. Scoring is accomplished by taking the energy disc that appears on the field and shooting it into the opponent’s goal post. Every player has a primary action, which simply pushes the ball forward directly in front of them. But, each of the three characters also has a specific class-based ability: There’s the defensive class, which allows the player to throw up a barrier for a limited time to block incoming shots, effectively encouraging this character to play goalkeeper. There’s a mid-range class that can freeze the “ball” in place to help control the flow of the match, either by stopping the competition’s momentum or by keeping the ball locked in an advantageous area of the field until some teammates arrive to mount an attack. The final class represents more of a striker, an offensive character who can launch an energy fist that goes through the other character’s secondary abilities and, when aimed correctly, can push the ball while carving a straight and narrow path of destruction. Teams sport the familiar Red vs Blue color scheme, so it’s easy to keep track of who’s who.

Environment_Concept_Art

Concept art for the Arena environment

Project Cyber is fast, fun, and a bit frantic. What’s most impressive about the game is that everything done so far was completed by the small team in just 12 weeks. Even more intriguing is the team’s hope to turn the game into a bonafide e-sport, and the Twitch integration they’re building into the game to make that vision a reality. For now, the community can participate in streams as the Spearhead Games team tests the game live on Twitch, and offer real time feedback which the devs say has been crucial up to this point. Long-term though, they want to implement a system that gives the audience a bit of control over how official tournaments play out. One of their early conceptual ideas at the moment is to allow the Twitch audience to vote for the stages upcoming matches will be played on by participating in chat, similar to how Twitch Plays Pokemon works. The developers imagine a scenario where fans can help their favorite tournament teams by choosing stages the team generally prefers, giving them a slight advantage in some cases.

Only 12 weeks into development, Project Cyber already looks like one to watch. We’ll keep an eye on the game as development progresses, so be sure to stay tuned to IGM for follow up coverage.