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New multiplayer shooter in the midst of natural disasters New multiplayer shooter in the midst of natural disasters: Exoborne could strike like a bolt of lightningrdisasters: Exoborne could strike like lightning

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In Exoborne, you fight against other players while being sucked in and spat out by a tornado. We spoke to the former Division makers behind the game

After years of environmental pollution, the earth is now taking its toll. Several natural disasters are ravaging our planet, destroying everything and everyone who cannot afford adequate protection. And even those who can brave the storms only walk around with weapons and do not hesitate to use them.

I’m not talking about the summarized world news from the last two years, but about Exoborne – the new shooter from former The Division makers.

Since the studio Sharkmob was founded in 2017, it has been working on new shooter trends with that certain something. Last year saw the release of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt a battle royale with bloodsuckers, and now the extraction shooter Exoborne with natural disasters has been announced.

I was able to check out a few gameplay scenes in advance and chat with the co-founder and creative director of Exoborne, Petter Mannerfeldt. And to give you my first impression in one sentence: This game could take the shooter market by storm.

Natural disasters as a game element

While we’re on the subject of storms, let’s stay there – after all, it’s one of the most exciting features of Exoborne! Apart from the tornado, Petter didn’t want to tell me what other natural disasters are in store for you – but even these windy representatives have a lot to offer.

While the average player with a reasonably clear mind will stay away from such extreme storms, in Exoborne you’ll be drawn to the eyes of every hurricane – that’s where the best loot is to be found! But where the strong resources are, there are also the most players. And no matter how stormy it gets: The other players are and remain the real danger, Petter Mannerfeldt assures me.

Although there are also PvE elements and AI opponents, the focus is on PvP battles. Incidentally, battles are always fought in teams of three – if you want to play solo, you have to break away from your teammates at the start of the match and go your own way

Gaining distance quickly shouldn’t be a problem for you either, after all, there are several ways to get around. Cars and grappling hooks are self-explanatory, but you can even use the dangerous whirlwind itself to get around:

The natural disasters not only have an impact on the visuals of the game, but also on the gameplay. For example, the wind is a concept of the game to get to distant places with the parachute.

Petter Mannerfeldt

In Exoborne, the dangers approach you not only from the ground, but also from above and below. This should allow more tactical freedom in how a battle is approached. The wide variety of decisions is intended to increase the overall strategic part of Exoborne  – starting with the right equipment.

Armor and weapons

If you want to take a step outside the door in the world of Exoborne and not be directly dismembered by enemies and storms, you need a Exorig This is a cutting-edge piece of technology on the player’s body that allows them to defy even the harshest natural disasters. In a nutshell: It’s an exo-skeleton with a cool name.

(Your Exorig can be customized in many ways.)
(Your Exorig can be customized in many ways.)

But the Exorig can do even more – what exactly depends on the individual player. Instead of finding ready-made suits in the world, you craft an Exorig from different materials. Both active and passive abilities can be unlocked. For example, you can decide whether you want to have more health points and take on the role of a tank or whether you prefer to be nimble and agile but die quickly.

It is not yet clear whether the weapons will also have so many customization options. Most of the weapons in Exoborne will be contemporary  shooting irons – Petter Mannerfeldt doesn’t want to reveal any more here.

What is already certain: Gunplay does not take the more realistic approach as in Escape from Tarkov or Hunt: Showdown. In this respect, Exoborne should play like a classic shooter.

No fear of death

Even with the best equipment, you will probably die sooner or later in Exoborne. As is the case with extraction shooters, you will not only lose the match, but also all the equipment you had with you. The improved Exorig, your favorite weapon and certainly other items are all gone after you die.

The punishment sounds a bit harsher than it actually is,&nbspbut Petter Mannerfeldt gives the all-clear. You’ll walk away with a bunch of stuff if you successfully leave the map. It’s not bad, you get used to dying.

(You lose a lot of items when you die, but according to the developers it's not really bad.)
(You lose a lot of items when you die, but according to the developers it’s not really bad.)

Incidentally, if you want to play alone and break away from your group, your chances of survival are not automatically worse – at least according to the creative director. Alone you can sneak much more effectively and grab the good loot secretly or attack from ambush – but in open combat against a full team you will most likely lose out and find yourself in the lobby.

There you can not only assemble the next Exorig, but also talk to NPCs and accept missions. The AI companions won’t just be soulless characters: The idea is to tell a real story here, with cutscenes and all the trimmings.

It remains to be seen how strong the narrative focus will really be in the end: Even in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt, last year’s title from the developers, there are side characters standing around in the lobby. They also assign missions and more or less tell a story that can be safely ignored. It is therefore doubtful that Exoborne will be a story highlight, despite its laudable ambitions.

Regular new content

Exoborne should remain appealing in the long term – given the genre, it’s no wonder that a season model is being used. However, it is not yet clear at what intervals they will start and what exactly they will contain. The classics would of course be new equipment and weapons, but additional maps are also not unlikely

After all, several battlefields will be available at the time of release. We want to offer different experiences on different maps, says Petter. How many maps there will be, how big they will be, what makes them different and how many players will be in a match – all this is still being kept secret. Petter answers the latter question with a laugh: ‘A bunch’ is the definition so far.

A release window is also still missing for Exoborne, even the platforms have not yet been fully communicated. So far, there is talk of PC and consoles but whether this includes both the old generation (PS4 and Xbox One) and the Nintendo Switch is not revealed. With all the information still missing, however, it seems very likely that Exoborne will be a while yet.

Editor’s verdict

I just can’t stop playing Exoborne in my head all the time. I imagine it to be like Just Cause 4 as a PvP shooter – and what I’ve seen so far looks exactly like that. Flying along the tornado with a parachute and grappling hook, but this time I’m shooting at players and not at big explosive barrels and NPCs.

But what makes me even more curious are the things I don’t know yet: What other natural disasters await us in Exoborne? Tsunamis? Forest fires? Volcanic eruptions? Is the natural disaster dependent on the map? What influence do they have on the game? The possibilities are huge and could be so cool that I ask myself: Why hasn’t anyone done this before?

However, I’m still skeptical about how much strategy there really is in this tactical shooter. Just because the bullets can now also come from above and there are equipment customizations doesn’t speak for too much tactical finesse – Fortnite and Apex Legends aren’t tactical battle royales either.

I find it hard to imagine whether the ongoing story will remain exciting and strongly staged over several seasons – especially when I look at Bloodhunt. But ultimately, for me personally and probably also for the majority of the target group, this is absolutely secondary – if the gameplay is great, then I can easily overlook a half-hearted story. The potential is definitely there!

Age: 31 Origin: Sweden Hobbies: gaming, football, skiing Profession: Online editor, entertainer


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