Fortnite has the colors, the style, the instant pick-up-and-play appeal, whereas Escape from Tarkov, the brutal extraction shooter, has the heavyweight mechanics and tactical play. If you push them both together, and throw in some of the hard-fought PvP battles of Hunt Showdown, you get Hawked, a new multiplayer game which will soon be available to play as part of a free, open beta coming to Steam.
The premise is simple. Teams of three compete against one another to locate ‘Artifacts’ and successfully extract them from a secluded and highly treacherous location called X-Isle. Naturally, you’re battling with one another, and the first team to get all of the Artifacts out wins. But there are a few twists.
First of all, it’s not just other players you’re up against – there are PvE elements as well. Some Artifacts can only be claimed by defeating monsters, so, like Hunt, you need to coordinate tactics and customize your squad loadout to take down the AI baddies. But that’s not all. There are also environmental puzzles to solve and dozens of hidden booby traps, so, as well as brawn, you and your team will have to use brains to get to the Artifacts first.
Once you’ve found an Artifact, it can be equipped to offer passive bonuses like transforming into a bush when crouched, for extra camouflage of course, or giving you the ability to detect and see enemies from a much greater range. You can also combine the Artifacts – there are 21 individual types, and different mixes produce some highly strange and powerful results.
There are also dynamic in-game events. Each match drops you into a different part of X-Isle, with each area offering distinctive puzzles, traps, and enemies. Occasionally, similar to Battlefield’s ‘levolution’ events, a gigantic boss will appear carrying an Artifact as well as a range of smaller treasures that can be used to acquire character upgrades. It’s like the best parts of the biggest multiplayer shooters all bundled into one.
And soon you’ll be able to play it for yourself, for free. The Hawked open beta runs from Thursday, August 3 to Thursday, August 17. Joining the beta will grant you some free, exclusive cosmetics, and also mark the beginning of the very first chapter, or ‘issue,’ of Hawked. Check it out on Steam right here.