Mavericks: Proving Grounds is an ambitious take on battle royale, with player counts quadrupling the genre standard and highly detailed, CryEngine-powered graphics. Despite the increased fidelity and expanded features, the developers plan to keep updating the game at a frequent pace – just as frequently as Epic with Fortnite, and maybe even quicker.
“What Epic is doing with Fortnite is definitely setting a good starting point there. They’ve been quite impressive with keeping content going up fast,” James Thompson, CEO of developer Automaton Games, tells us. “That’s our baseline. Yes we have a game that’s more high fidelity in a way, so because of the kind of game you’d expect it to be slower to iterate, and we’ve seen other battle games have been super slow to iterate compared to Fortnite.
Mavericks could be a strong contender among the best battle royale games.
“But for us, with the technology we have, we’ve set out saying no, we’ll be at least as fast as iterating as Fortnite, we’ll be at least if not more informed about what our players are doing, and we will be able to deliver that with higher fidelity. That’s our goal with the project, that’s what we’ll be demonstrating as we go through beta and beyond. We take that very seriously.”
Mavericks is built on CryEngine, as well as SpatialOS, which is a cloud-based server platform designed so that games can “go beyond the design limitations of traditional server architectures.” That includes the ability to quickly introduce new updates.
Automaton prides itself on its multiplayer tech, and Thompson says part of the game with that tech is responding to what players want. “We want to be able to respond to feedback. We want to be able to measure what people are doing accurately and understand the game, because this to us is what making a modern massively multiplayer game is all about.”
You’ll likely associate CryEngine’s rendering abilities with high-fidelity, highly detailed, and demanding games – there’s a reason for the “can it run Crysis” meme, after all – and all that graphical muscle means more effects and art for the developers to work with. But Thompson says the game is built in such a way that that even with those graphical features, updates and changes can come quickly.
“We’re not limited by saying ‘yes we have a great realistic game,’ but we have to wait hours for light baking and then we have to go through some pipeline to get everything in. We can literally edit the level real time. Everything is real-time in our workflow engine, which is very rare for high-fidelity games. That’s been a big part of our technology focus as well, to make sure we can not only have high fidelity graphics, but we don’t really allow things in our pipeline that require waiting to build.”
Thompson admires what Epic has accomplished with the massive battle royale, but thinks there’s room to improve. “Fortnite has done a good job, but also they kind of happened upon battle royale. To be honest all battle royale games right now are just another game that has been modded into battle royale.” With Mavericks built on more specialized technology, there’s plenty of room for its ambition to flourish.