We recently had a chance to take an updated look at the PC version of Huxley, the sci-fi massively multiplayer shooter from developer Webzen. The game will take place on a futuristic Earth split between two factions, the sapiens (the futuristic version of humans) and the alternatives, both of which face threats from hybrids (monstrous crossbreeds between the two races). You'll play as a futuristic soldier belonging to either the sapiens or alternatives factions and will win victories for your nation in real-time first-person shooter battles.
In the game, you'll play as one of three character types, or "battle styles": the enforcer, the game's heavily armored, close-range profession; the avenger, the game's medium-armor assault class; or the phantom, the lightly armored sniper-and-scout class. These professions will determine which types of armor and weapons you can use from Huxley's nine different weapon classes, which will include machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles, and rocket launchers, as well as more esoteric weapon classes like the ballistic "flinger" and the energy-based optical rifle. Producer Kijong Kim suggests that the action in the game will be a bit closer to the arcade-style action of the Quake series than the methodical pacing of the team-based Counter-Strike, though Huxley will have elements of both games.
To go with all those weapons and armor pieces, Huxley will use a paper-doll inventory system that shows which piece of armor is equipped on which body part on your character. In addition, each armor piece your character finds or buys can be slotted with an upgrade that grants an additional skill to your character. The game will apparently have more than 100 skills at launch; these skills represent the kind of powerful advantages you'd expect to pick up as a bonus item in a competitive first-person shooter, such as the ability to sprint quickly, to cloak yourself by turning invisible, to double-jump, to tackle enemies with a melee attack, and some unusual skills, such as becoming immune to headshots (highly damaging, direct weapon hits to your character's noggin) and automatically detonating your corpse as a blinding flash grenade when you fall in battle. Therefore, the game will have a strategic element as you swap different skill-infused armor slots into your character's inventory to prepare for different battles in which, depending on the situation, you may need to be stronger, faster, or sneakier than your adversaries.
While you'll likely start your life in a safe city, which is also where the game's weapon and item crafting will take place, you'll eventually find yourself on a battlefield, duking it out against computer-controlled hybrid monsters or players from the opposing faction. Currently, the game is planned to launch with two major cities (one for each faction) and eight smaller cities, along with about 80 battlefields, each of which can house up to 200 players at once. We were shown numerous concept-art images that depict battlefields based on ruined real-world locations, such as waterlogged harbors and half-destroyed skyscraper complexes. We also had a chance to see a prototype battlefield in action, which resembled a craggy series of foothills at night, crawling with sharp-toothed, multi-eyed hybrids.
For much of the game, you'll spend your time either fighting actively in competitive battles or performing the game's many quests, which will take the form of story-based tasks, field quests, and large-scale "raid" quests with large groups of other players. The developers at Webzen plan to encourage players to play together by letting them form small squads of up to four players each, larger platoons with five squads each, and finally, companies, which include five platoons (with a total of up to 100 players in each).
Groups will also be able to fight battles on the game's battlefields, either in traditional shooter modes such as freeform deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag, as well as the game's radar domination and part pickup modes. Radar domination requires two opposing teams to try to capture and hold various radar towers throughout the map by holding the area nearby, similar to the Battlefield series' conquest mode. Part pickup requires teams to scavenge various robot parts on the battlefield in a competitive race to see which team can assemble a gigantic mech first. When you pick up and carry a part, you'll act much like the flag carrier in a CTF game--if you're taken down, you'll drop the part and give the enemy a chance to recover it.
Apparently, battlefields where players fight against the monstrous hybrids will allow up to 64 players at once, while competitive battlefields will allow up to 200. Certain battlefields will allow only player-versus-monsters battles, while some may allow monster hunting and competitive play at once. Both quests and multiplayer battles may take place in battlefields with various multiperson vehicles--these vehicles will spawn in and out of the game, similar to the vehicles in the Battlefield series, though opposing teams can hack one another's vehicles to steal them away.
Though the game still has many months to go before launch, it already looks quite impressive thanks to the powerful Unreal 3 technology under its hood. The early prebeta version of the game we saw in action featured expansive outdoor areas for cities with highly detailed character models for players wearing bulky power armor and carrying futuristic guns. The battlefield environments we saw were also quite huge and had varied layouts, such as the quest area we saw that lay just below the ruins of a massive city, split by a river that could be forded only by blasting a ruined train car from above to collapse down into the water to form a bridge. Huxley looks very promising and highly distinctive, and the game should launch sometime later this year for the PC and Xbox 360.