Many people fell in love with the survival mechanics DayZ employed to make the post-apocalyptic genre far more engaging: DayZ was as much about surviving zombies as it was surviving the humans who were playing with you in that world. The developers at Phosphor Games Studios were also fans of DayZ, but wanted to create their own experience: enter Nether.
The world of Nether is one where the remnants of some great cataclysm live on, wandering the ruins of once-great cities, scavenging anything they can to survive, and trying to stay away from the Nether: teleporting, horribly aggressive foes that will hunting you down until one of you is dead.
On the Nether, creative director Chip Sineni told PC Gamer that they “wanted it to be where even one creature is something to be terrified about if you don’t have the gear.” Referencing the movie Alien, he said “In some ways, it’s a multiplayer horror game, where there’s something out there.”
As opposed to DayZ, Nether, is being designed to be far more vertical, for two reasons: to capitalize on the structure of cities, and to make run-ins with the Nether even more terrifying.
On cities, Sineni said: “The city being so vertical and three-dimensional and dense really is a very different gameplay experience. A lot of our guys were big fans of DayZ early on… but they’re very complementary kinds of games. It’s not like one kind of game is necessarily better than another, they’re just very different kinds of experiences.” In fact, Nether‘s urban destiny will force players to unexpectedly run into each other far more, since players looting in a city could be within yards of each other and not know it, if one is in an apartment above, and another creeping along a street below.
This is in high contrast to DayZ, where players are separated by vast fields, binoculars, and sniper rifles, allowing for isolation. Nether will encourage far more interactions, trying to balance environments with the right amount of players, which at the moment will include 64 players on a single server. “There’s just so much foliage and rubble and debris that we’re trying to figure out how we make it work. It’s very easy in a dense city to just hide,” Sineni said. “In our game it’s very easy for someone to be very close to you, but you’re behind some garbage so they can’t see you.”
As far as the Nether are concerned, vertical, dense environments make it easier to hunt you, since they can leap high into the air and teleport to chase you. “You can outrun a creature if you make some kind of bee line and just keep running and running and don’t look back; there’s a chance you’ll get away,” Sineni said. “But if you turn to engage it, one of you is going to die: you or him.”
With all of this in mind, Phosphor want to make Nether all about player-driven stories in a persistent open-world environment. Players can team with strangers to make alliances, or leave interactions to trade or theft. Voice chat support will be built into the game so that players can greet (or threaten) each other while figuring out how they’ll go about engaging the other. Players can choose to clear out a building or floor, and create something like an abandoned townhouse into an encampment. Like in DayZ, players will log in to find themselves in the same place they logged out, as long as they have good security.
Nether is still being shaped, with Phosphor trying to decide what features are most important in creating a strong community. Dedicated servers are planned with the “hardcore” option of permadeath, while default settings will only remove your equipment. There may be RPG elements coming, but these are still being discussed. Phosphor will be getting feedback from the community once the closed beta releases this fall. “Something we really want to see is, rather than keep focusing on features that players may not care about, we really want to get it out there early and then have the community guide us,” Sineni said. “Maybe what we think is going to be a really big feature is something that you don’t care about, and you’d rather us focus on this other thing.”
Nether is currently accepting beta registrations on their website; for a closer look at the game, check out the gameplay video and screenshots below.
Source: PC Gamer