Sega’s Hyenas Looks Like Another Tired Battle Royale Experience


Sega recently unveiled Hyenas, an upcoming 15-player PvEvP FPS rumored to be part of the “super game” project that emerged some time ago. The general consensus around the hyenas is that it probably shouldn’t have bothered. Great game? This thing barely looks like a good game. It feels like it was dreamed up in a focus group, with no artistic involvement, generated entirely by demographic preferences, spreadsheets, pie charts, and an insane desire to get started in a very profitable genre without thinking about how to succeed from it.


In IGN’s finished game reveal, it’s compared to Hunt: Showdown and Apex Legends. Creative director Charlie Bewsher compares it to Warzone and Fortnite. This all sounds more like Hyper Scape. IGN looked for the good in the game, trying to find a unique way to translate it to its readers – I get it. After watching the trailer, I felt like it stole the gameplay ideas from Prey, the humor from Saints Row, and the art style from XDefiant. It doesn’t do justice to either of the first two, and XDefiant…yes, that’s probably its level.

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The creative director, the person who should make sure the game is unique and compelling, should all be on our minds. Genre aside, Fortnite and Warzone are nothing alike. Fortnite is colorful, cross-dependent, bouncy, fast-paced, and more of an arcade shooter with sliding, lining, building, and dancing. Warzone is a lackluster and realistic military shooter focused on tactics and precision. The one thing that ties them together is that they both make a ton of metric money, and the comparison should be a huge telltale sign that Hyenas is built for profit. Luckily for fans of comeuppances, karma, and schadenfreude, the trailer looks like it was designed to crash so loudly they can hear it on Venus. The last game to try to be both Fortnite and Warzone was Battlefield 2042, and we all know how that turned out.

Let’s talk about the gameplay itself. We haven’t seen any.

Although it announced itself with a brilliant two-minute trailer filled with Sonic keychains (more on that later), high-octane action sequences, and what I assume are jokes, no gameplay was included. It’s an FPS game, and other than a single clip through a sniper’s sight, the whole thing was cinematic third-person. There’s also no release date beyond “2023”, so the timeline of when we might get gameplay is unclear. That’s not unusual – in fact, most games first appear via screenshots and cutscenes rather than gameplay. But if you’ve scaled up a great game, tell us it’ll take Fortnite and Warzone, and it’ll look like XDefiant, you have to understand no soul will believe you.

On this Sonic keychain. The game is a 15-player affair, divided into three teams of five. Your objective, in addition to fighting other players, is to steal as many “treasures” as possible in a single match. These “treasures” are just nostalgia-turned-trophy, and you “could end up looting the first album you’ve ever bought”, while Bewsher “promises you’ll see many different pop culture IPs represented in the game”, which looks less like a promise and more like a threat. We are so obsessed as a culture with absorbing references to intellectual property and pop culture, that we point at the screen and salivate every time someone mentions that thing, you know, from that movie! With this guy! Seems like the vulgar pinnacle of this materialistic obsession has us fighting to the death for a plastic blue hedgehog tattoo that hasn’t had a good video game in nearly two decades.

There also appears to be the Alien exoskeleton featured in the trailer (which Sega owns the license to) as well as a character who may be wearing a Richard Nixon mask. It’s unclear if Sega owns the rights to the likeness of the late 37th President at this time.

Creative Assembly is the team at Sega working on this, and given CA’s experience on Alien: Isolation, it’s still great to see them get thrown into football. Isolation is consistently rated as one of the best horror games of all time, but horror games don’t sell in huge numbers. As a result, we never had a follow-up, either canonically or spiritually. However, while I love seeing Creative Assembly back in-game, hearing that they produced a Fortnite/Warzone/PleaseGibMoney PvEvP feels like a huge waste. Zero-G battles look like they could be fun. They also look like they could be a lot more fun if they’re not stuck in a Fortnite/Warzone wannabe as it’s a unique gimmick. It didn’t go so well for Hyper Scape.

Hyenas shouldn’t get under my skin so much. A lot of games were revealed at Summer Game Fest that just weren’t for me, and I passed them by. But it feels like every studio has to squeeze an expensive and useless Fortnite rip-off clone out of its system, and that only underscores how often our industry is creatively bankrupt. All games have to keep profit in mind – that’s why we don’t have another Isolation – but Hyenas is so cheeky about it he feels like he’s laughing in our faces. At least the name fits.

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