April 16, 2014 8:30 AM | Anthony Swinnich
Permadeath is a pretty hot concept in gaming these days. Reloading a save to undo a mistake is something popular games like Spelunky and Minecraft in survival mode do not allow. Still, if you die you can always restart from the beginning. Legend of Dungeon developer RobotLovesKitty is taking that one step further. If you die in their upcoming MMO Upsilon Circuit, you will likely never, ever get the chance to play again. And it's one of the elements that makes the project sound so damn exciting.
Here's the deal: Upsilon Circuit is an eight-player, single-server MMO that broadcasts out to the world. That's not mistyped. Only eight people will be playing at a time. Ever. The players are randomly selected from the audience who are tuned into the broadcast through Twitch, or whichever service RobotLovesKitty decides to use once the game is ready to go.
These eight players will be dumped into a gigantic game world where they'll need to fight the creatures inside to survive. The world is going to be absolutely gigantic, so players meeting each other will be a rare and noteworthy occurrence (and yes, they can fight to the death). Should one of the eight die, an audience member is selected randomly and they'll then get their chance to play. The corpse of the deceased will remain in the world, items, weapons and all. Anyone who comes across it will be able to pick up and make use of whatever is left behind.
It's all set to the tune of an alternate future gameshow hosted by Ron Raygun, a mixture between Max Hedroom and former US President Ronald Reagan. Raygun will most likely be voiced through text-to-speech and will converse with the players, or contestants, as they go through the game. RobotLovesKitty is hoping to see special personalities emerge to the point that they'll become in-game celebrities. This, of course, allows players chance to catch the attention of the audience. The audience will determine how a player levels up or receives new equipment, so becoming a fan-favorite has its perks. It's a little bit like a mixture of The Hunger Games and The Running Man in this regard.
In order to ensure the eight players will be on at the same time, Upsilon Circuit is currently planned to be available to play for only a limited time each day, much like an episode of a television show. You'll have to tune in to watch, just as they'll have to tune in to play. The amount of time the game would be available each day and how often was not yet determined as of the game's PAX build.
The amount of time Upsilon Circuit will be played as a whole is undetermined as well, though. That's because it's up to the players to finish the game. How will finding the "Dream Tech Fragments" factor into resolving the as-of-now unrevealed mysterious overarching story? It could take a year to complete. It could take two. But once the game is over, there's a strong chance that it may never be played again, coming right back to the theme of permanence that Upsilon Circuit is so deeply tied to.
RobotLovesKitty told me that they hope the game will be done in six months but that the idea is "probably pretty optimistic", so it's likely we'll see the game at some point after that. They do have an Upsilon Circuit website set up, though, where interested parties can sign up to receive updates on the game.