The Biz – E3 2018 – Mavericks Proving Ground: PC E3 Recap

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As we all know, the battle royale genre is getting out of control. With the runaway success of games like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, it is not surprising that other studios are trying to cash in on the craze.

As a result I wasn’t shocked at all when the trailer for yet another stand-alone Battle Royal game called “Mavericks Proving Ground” was released at E3.

Mavericks Proving Ground Official Trailer – E3 2018

This game has been on the map for a little while, but for most people this was their likely their first exposure to the game. The presentation featured the CEO of Automaton Games who walked out on stage and explained some of the design philosophy behind MPG.

Mavericks Proving Ground PC E3 Presentation

I want to start off with the good here.

For starters it is worth mentioning that the trailer purports to be in-engine footage. Assuming this is true, the modeling looks competently done, and the shooting looks functional.

Secondly, the ambition is there. Supposedly Mavericks Proving Ground will support up to 1000 players in certain gameplay modes. Furthermore the CEO stated that there will be “more information” to process when playing vs competing games, citing footprints on the ground and displaced foliage as examples.

Thirdly, he is pushing in-game social interaction more than his competitors as well. He claims that the player hub of the world will draw from MMO concepts to make the experience richer than its competitors.

That all being said, I fully expect this game to fail.

G^G Punditry – Why This Game Will Fail

I could dig into the technical requirements of rendering 1000 players on a map. I could discuss how the infrastructure requirements to manage 1000 concurrent players would be enormous and expensive. However, all of that pales in comparison to the elephant in the room, by the time this game releases there will be no more room in the Battle Royale market.

Let’s assume for a moment that Automaton Games is able to overcome every technical hurdle the come across. Imagine that the game runs as smooth at the trailer implies, and players are able to connect and play without any issue.

By the time MPG is released the entire battle royale marketplace will have shifted. Even as we speak the first big entrant of the battle royale space Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds(PUBG) is starting to run into issues retaining its playerbase. Fortnite is currently top dog, and enjoying an incredible amount of success, but even that is going to end soon.

The reason these games have been able to succeed in the way they have is because they were the only ones in the market doing what they do. The problem is that we now have a couple of giants entering the field that are going to stir the pot up. With Call of Duty and Battlefield officially announcing their battle royale modes, the top-line of the battle royale genre has essentially been set.

I’m not going to bother discussing whether or not CoD’s or BF’s battle royale mode will be better. The issue is we know both of them will be very competently done, and as a result the long time fans of the franchise will unhook from Fortnite/PUBG, and go back to what they know. Once the players have settled into their respective games, if history is any indicator they won’t move until the sequel is released.

This concept of franchise inertia is ever present in other genres of gaming. The MMORPG space exploded in a similar way when World of Warcraft came out, and the trail of bodies left in its wake that tried cashing in on the trend was staggering. A similar thing happened in the MOBA space when League of Legends and Dota 2 rose to prominence.

The cold hard truth of the situation is that even if MPG is able to execute on their design and create a truly exceptional game, the battle lines will have already been set. Furthermore, the moment MPG gains even a little bit of traction with the differentiating mechanics, the giants in the ring will flex their muscles and spare no expense implement those mechanics in their titles.

Meanwhile, MPG will only be able to hold on for as long as it has funding. If they don’t make a splash right away, then I imagine most investors would not be eager to throw their money in the pot. At that point unless they can tap into another revenue stream, the clock will start to run out.

Now don’t get me wrong, I feel for the team creating MPG and hope they completely prove me wrong. However, unless the industry titans slip up in a major way, this will simply be another title that dreamed big, but was destined to fail from the start.

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