This past week, Paris-based game studio Novaquark announced that they are currently developing a sandbox Sci-fi MMORPG that they promise will be set in a continuous single-shard universe. Stating that “players can freely edit the world and build any constructions they like with no size restrictions, from space ships to cities to giant space stations” we can expect a truly massive sandbox.
Novaquark describes this as a “boundless MMO” relying on their innovative server technology called CSSC (continuous single-shard cluster) which essentially will allow players to play in the same world and the same time, without instances or loading zones! The world is also completely modifiable which will allow players to build together or compete against each other. It’s as if Rust and Eve Online had a baby and this is the result… Only larger!
Aside from the boundless play, entirely editable world, Dual Universe boasts a realistic in-game economy, and scriptable constructions. By using LUA, players can build and pilot their own ships via AI or automate their factories. Novaquark also states that as players explore upward and outward they will find other procedurally generated planets, keeping in line with their claim that this universe is literally endless.
With former members from teams like Ubisoft, Sony, Apple, and Alderbaran Robotics, it’s hard not to get excited about such a massive undertaking. The climate for sandbox games has never been better, especially if they go above and beyond what we expect. Novaquark is literally on the cusp of a major breakthrough in traditional MMO’s by creating a unique modifiable universe that the player has complete control over. If executed properly it could be 10x larger than Minecraft ever was.
Ultimately it’s going to come down to how intuitive the game play is, and whether there is that “addicting factor”. With games like No Man’s Sky releasing at the end of June, this may be a great opportunity for Novaquark to get an understanding of whether the boundless universe is “enough” to make a game, a “good” game. Personally I am excited to see a game of this caliber in development purely for the fact that this was bound to happen; it always was. Someone has to take the first step into creating a truly moldable universe, something that mimics ours, except that gives us all the power. If done correctly the implementations of this type of technology are endless! Here’s to hoping Novaquark takes advantage of Virtual Reality.
An alpha version of the basic planetary engine and preliminary set of gameplay features is most likely to be available at the beginning of 2017. They have mentioned that this game will be for PC, but no mention of other platforms.
– The Noticed One