Our podcast team recently had a chance to talk with Mikkel Thorsted, Creative Director for Press Play Games. As you may know, this studio began an ambitious initiative to invite players into the development process for their next game. After pitching three game concepts to the Xbox Live community, an intriguing title known as Project Knoxville won the vote. Project Knoxville is a multiplayer game that puts the players in the role of contestants on a game show where individuals must survive harsh environments- and each other. It will be possible for every contestant to survive the game if they are willing to work together. However, players will also be tempted to betray each other for potential rewards. Groups will be limited to eight players; Pedersen believes this number will work best for players to be able to get to know each other but not be so small the average game session will be over too quickly.
Thorsted describes the game as a mix of a futuristic and mechanical world bordering on the wilderness. During the interview Mikkel Pedersen dropped some clues about what we can expect to find within Project Knoxville. Apparently there will be no crafting and your players will not experience debilitating effects of hunger while in the arena. However, battles will be primarily focused on melee combat and players will have to contend with hostile wild animals roaming the wilderness. Press Play Games is also paying a lot of attention to the physics used within Project Knoxville. If you want to make a break and run for it two other players will be able to hold you back. All of these elements combine to form some very interesting potential situations. For example, a strong player could possibly push another player off a ledge into a particularly nasty bit of wilderness or players can position a large boulder and send it careening down a mountain path to mow down their fellow contestants. Pedersen even mentioned the possibility of a skill tree but stressed that this has not been decided yet. You might imagine that with the ability to betray fellow players there would be a lot of potential for griefing. The team at Press Play Games is aware of this and are considering ways for the community to police itself against players who are merely trying to disrupt the experience of others.
Press Play Games’ contributions to the Xbox One game library so far include Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Kalimba. While I personally think both titles were great they were also smaller budget games. While we do not yet know how much of a production budget has been allocated for Project Knoxville, Pedersen mentioned that Press Play Games has more developers now and Project Knoxville will be their biggest game yet. The possibility of including cloud based physics into the game was mentioned but the studio has not yet decided on whether this will happen.
Be sure to check out TiC Podcast’s interview with Mikkel Thorsted for even more details on Project Knoxville. Let me know what you think of this game in the comments section below.