You slowly begin to awaken and you are incredibly disoriented. The sun is beating down on your half-naked body as you pick yourself up and take a survey of your surroundings. You are immersed in tropical plant life and can hear the sound of waves breaking in the distance. You’re wearing a hella-cool fanny pack and also notice a hatchet lying near where you woke up. The unsettling peacefulness is quickly broken as a disgusting humanoid figure lunges at you from some bushes and you break open its face with the hatchet. What the hell was that? What is this place? Why the fanny pack?
What is Fracture Veil?
While survival games have been around long enough to be considered old hat, the open-ended nature of their design still allows for some of the best emergent gameplay around. The team at Paddle Creek Games has been hard at work for more than two years on bringing their vision for the genre to life in the form of Fractured Veil. It mixes common survival game tropes within the structure of an MMO while adding in some dashes of survival horror and wackiness. The closest match I can think of would be Conan Exiles, though Fractured Veil is about as far as you could get from the mythical lands of Hyboria.
The events of Fractured Veil take place a hundred years into the future following some cataclysmic global events that originated from projects operated by a company known as VeilCorp. VeilCorp had developed a working teleportation system sometime in the 2050s. Predictably, the process experienced some hiccups and the Veil, as the device was known, began sending people into alternate dimensions, rather than from one spot to another. These alternate dimensions became known as fractures.
As luck would have it, things in these fractures weren’t as chill as one would hope. The world as we know it was virtually wiped out by entities and diseases from the fractures. It always seems like it’s scientists who get us into these apocalyptic pickles when they play with power they don't fully understand.
Those who hop into Fractured Veil will occupy a body that has been generated by a contraption known as a Newuskin Booth. This thing can build a person from a DNA backup (and serves as a convenient vessel to allow dead players to return to the action). Once dumped into a fractured future Maui, players must navigate the picturesque island while avoiding the terrors that resulted from cross-fracture contamination.
The basic mechanics are much like traditional survival games where you craft basic tools and weapons. Building shelter is also critical for protection from the elements and possibly packs of intra-dimensional mutants. Visually, Fractured Veil has a lot going on for it. Powered by Unreal Engine, the environment detail is really strong and overemphasized vibrance to the color palette works well to give off a vibe that feels both relaxing and just a bit unsettling.
The action on the ground will get more wild as additional players drop into the fracture. AI-controlled drones patrol the island, providing coverage of the chaos that calls back to movies like Battle Royale or The Condemned. Paddle Creek has even offered livestreams on their YouTube page that offer folks the opportunity to get the drone perspective. Right now, most of the activities lean towards the PvP side of the gameplay spectrum, though Paddle Creek says they are planning to expand into more PvE-focused content as the project moves toward an early access release next year.
If you think your life could use a discount trip to Hawaii (or you just like the idea of being chased by mutants), Fractured Veil could be up your alley. The team plans to launch into early access sometime in 2022 and are also making plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help with funding the project. As a fanny pack aficionado, I’ll be counting the days until I’m reborn in a Newuskin booth.