Midwinter Entertainment revealed their first game this morning, Scavengers. Midwinter Founder Josh Holmes, former Creative Director and Executive Producer for Halo 5, is heading the new company and project. Described as a multiplayer survival shooter, Midwinter want to make a game that creates a bond between teammates. The term they coined is “co-opetition”, using the battle between two teams to bring players closer with their own team. It takes place in the near future, in which an asteroid has destroyed the moon, throwning Earth into an ice age. A new disease has infected all life across the planet, giving the game a PvE element. Players will simultaneously battle each other as well as the elements. The announcement came via a new announcement trailer, detailing the studio’s ambitions.
Who is Midwinter Entertainment?
The announcement trailer gives some detail about Midwinter and their goals as a new company. Midwinter Entertainment was founded in 2016 as a development studio falling between independent and AAA. Founder Daryl Anselmo describes them as an “Independant with a capital I”. The super team aim to create a workspace with the experience of a big AAA studio but the creative freedom of the independents. This definitely shows with their first game and ambitious new IP, Scavengers. With a team of around 20 people, Midwinter features an all-star lineup of highly experienced developers.
At the head of the Scavengers project is Josh Holmes, former Studio Head at 343i during the development of Halo 4 and 5. Holmes brought many colleagues from 343i, including Peter Burzynski and David Tuft in engineering and Justin Lippert in design. Their art department has worked on games like Battlefield, with Risa Taneda coming from DICE, Call of Duty: WWII, with Jack McKelvie from Sledgehammer, and Gears of War, with Clinton Crumpler from Coalition. Together the studio has also worked on games like Star Wars: Battlefront, CounterStrike and NBA Street Jam.
Is it worth getting hyped for?
From the trailer the one word that comes to mind is ambitious. The team aims to combine a huge open world with PvE survival elements and competitive team based PvP, all within a multiplayer game. While games are supposed to last around 45 minutes, the studio claims they are pacing each game like a thriller, with lots of downtime. Holmes describes the large dystopian open-world as Halo 5’s warzone mode without the “limitations”. This comes through in their new SpatialOS system. Instead of simulating every aspect of the entire world in one play session, SpatialOS divides up the world up simulating different aspects over the top of each other. This results in better AI, more dynamic environments and a richer world.
If Midwinter can combine the thrill of exploring an open world, fighting AI with teammates, and competitive PvP action, Scavengers will leave a mark on the gaming world. However, this is extremely ambitious and without any gameplay it is hard to determine if it works. While ex-Halo developers have failed to deliver on their hype, namely Bungie’s Destiny, the smaller team might pull it off. With experience from Battlefield, Gears of War, Halo and Call of Duty, gameplay will at least be technically sound. Furthermore, as Holmes was the creative for the Halo franchise, the dystopian world should be deep and rich.
While the announcement trailer was light on any more details, Scavengers is definitely on the watchlist for 2018. What do you think of Scavengers? Has the new studio bitten off more than it can chew with such an ambitious project? Or are we looking at the next big multiplayer game?