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Population Zero (video game)

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Population Zero
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Developer(s) Russia Enplex Games
Publisher(s) Russia Enplex Games
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EngineUnity
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Steam
ReleaseMay 5th. 2020
Genre(s)Exploration, Survival, MMO. Action RPG, Simulator
Mode(s)PvE, PvP
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Population Zero is a Multiplayer Exploration Survival game developed for Microsoft Windows by а Russian independent studio Enplex Games. The game will release on Steam Early Access on May 5th.[1]

Objective[edit]

The objective of the game is to survive against all odds in an alien world of Kepler-438b. The player will have to gather resources, craft gear, interact with NPCs, complete quests, build shelters and settlements, as well as hunt alien beasts. Additionally, players will have to manage the levels of stamina, toxicity, mutation, hunger, hydration, and temperature.

According to the developer, world exploration is key to progress in Population Zero as it affects the narrative and character development. By exploring the seamless world players are able to develop their colonists in their own way. In their journey across different biomes, players will acquire new technologies that open up crafting recipes and unlock perks that give stat bonuses.[2]

Release[edit]

Initially, Population Zero was meant to be a free-to-play game but in February 2020, Enplex Games announced the change of business model, the shift to buy-to-play and release on Steam Early Access. On top of that, the studio reported the addition of the 7-day game cycles and account progression. Cycles’ completion rewards players with experience points needed to gain new account levels. Each new level gives access to new modes, for expample, PvP, or mechanics (Building, personal respawn point) as well as regalia and cosmetic items.[3]

At the start of Early Access, players will be able to engage in several PvE and PvP game modes.

Plot[edit]

Distant future. Earth. One of the leading mega-corporations starts enlisting volunteers for Kepler’s colonization. Overpopulation, constant financial and political turmoils, job shortages, and unfavorable ecological situation are among the reasons to escape Earth according to corporate promoters. Those who seek a fresh start can sign up for the mission.

Having levied enough recruits, the company sends them away to the Lyra constellation onboard Artemis. When the space ship reaches Kepler’s orbit, it crashes under mysterious circumstances. Fortunately, most of the crew and colonists survive the shipwreck. Shortly after the critical breakdown, the ship’s AI sends people to the planet’s surface in the hibernation pods.

The player takes control over an unnamed colonist that regains consciousness after anabiosis. Soon, colonists learn that their future on Kepler is under threat. They have only 168 hours before the mysterious radiation turns them into unworldly beast devoid of free will and with the only task - human extermination.[4]

Gameplay[edit]

The very first game cycle will start in the Drop Zone - a special instanced tutorial level that will teach the player the basics of survival on Kepler.[5] Kepler is divided into several regions with a distinctive look, set of resources, flora, and fauna. Every location in the game is handcrafted. The game does not use procedural generation. Players will meet various animals along the course of the playthrough, both harmless herbivores and dangerous predators.

The Main Hub is the key location on Kepler. Here, players will respawn, accept quests, interact with NPCs, and socialize with other players. In PvP mode, The Hub is the only safe zone: hunger and thirst are disabled and players are not able to inflict damage to each other in PvP modes.

Population Zero uses on a non-target battle system that utilizes melee and hand-carried weapons like swords, battle axes, mallets, and spears. Players can chain attacks into combos, use an aerial attack, block, and side-dash. Every weapon type has its own moveset and battle animations. During fights, players will have to manage their stamina bar.[6]

Character development is reliant on Tech-tree and Perks. The former is necessary to get new crafting recipes while the latter system gives immediate stat bonuses. Every time the players do a certain action, they have a chance of getting a perk that increases the character’s efficiency. Any acquired perk can be activated permanently allowing to keep it even after death.[7]

There are four ways to finish a 7-day cycle:

  • complete the main objective and survive;
  • fail to make it in time and die;
  • turn into a monster and die (frequent respawns increase the mutation level resulting in the player becoming an overpowered alien creature; in PvP modes, the monster has only one life);
  • purposefully abort the cycle. 

Whatever the case, the player gets experience points according to the number of completed tasks within a cycle.[8]

References[edit]

  1. Chalk, Andy (2020-02-21). "Sci-fi MMO Population Zero is headed to Steam in May". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  2. Population Zero: Gameplay Explainer #1 - Tech and Perks - IGN, retrieved 2020-03-31
  3. Royce, Bree. "Interview: Population Zero devs on the May Steam launch, buy-to-play, and PvP philosophy | Massively Overpowered". Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  4. "Population Zero Interview Dungeons Survival World and More". MMORPG.com. Retrieved 2020-03-31. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. "168-hour Cycles and Account Progression". Population Zero. 2020-03-12. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  6. "Wer im Survival-MMO Population Zero zu oft stirbt, wird zum Über-Alien". Mein-MMO.de (in Deutsch). 2020-02-21. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  7. "'Population Zero' Details Technology and Perks - Trailer". WorthPlaying. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  8. "Population Zero Shares the 168-Hour Cycle, Account Progression". MMORPG.com. Retrieved 2020-03-31. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)



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