In what looks to be competition to Sony Online Entertainment's PlanetSide, Korean publisher Webzen is looking to dive into the fledgling massively multiplayer first-person-shooter genre with Huxley, an upcoming Xbox 360 and PC game. So what exactly is a massively multiplayer first-person shooter? It's essentially a shooter set in a persistent online world, and Webzen says that Huxley will combine the intense action of an online shooter with the vast scale and social aspects of a traditional online role-playing game.
The game is set in a postapocalyptic world where humanity has evolved into two rival races: the sapiens and the alternative. These two races battle for the critical resource called lunarites, which is an energy source. You'll create a character based on one of the two races and take on quests that will help your side. In addition, your actions will have far-reaching repercussions, as everything you do can be linked to the survival of your race. And like an online role-playing game, your character can grow over time. You can learn new skills, obtain exotic weapons, and adopt different gameplay styles.
Huxley will feature large-scale battles, of course, and you can expect to participate to see plenty of player-versus-player action. Webzen says that the game is designed so that servers can accommodate "millions of users engaged in fast-paced, large-scale combat." Battles won't just be a test of reflexes, as you'll need to cooperate with your teammates and use tactics and strategy to survive. And in addition to human opponents, Webzen says that there will be computer opponents in the game with advanced artificial intelligence to give them cunning.
When not battling, you can relax, socialize, and go about your business in a huge virtual city. The environments in the game, and the graphics at large, are fairly impressive, and Huxley is being designed to take advantage of the hardware on both a PC and the Xbox 360. The screenshots released for E3 show a game that's roughly on par with some of the latest shooters. There's a large amount of bump-mapping and graphical effects at work, not to mention lots of detail due to the high polygon counts. Huxley certainly looks good, and it will be interesting to see if the shooter aspects of the game work as intended. Unfortunately, it appears that we'll have to wait until fall of 2006 for the game to launch.