If You Die In This Game, You Can Never Play Again. Ever.

If You Die In This Game, You Can Never Play Again. Ever.

Some games have permadeath, where death causes you to lose a character forever. Upsilon Circuit, however, has perma-permadeath. If you lose, you can never play the game again.

The fantasy RPG plops specially selected players onto a single server and divides them into two teams of four. This means only eight players will ever be playing Upsilon Circuit at any given moment, and their adventures will likely come to swift, brutal ends. Sounds terrifying, right? Every move you make can literally be your last.

On top of that, the game will have a participatory audience watching live, something nearly as cool as the "one death ever" conceit. Here's how it works:

"Each Contestant explores the overworld and generated dungeons in search of the Dream Tech Crystals. They fight monsters, avoid traps, and compete with the opposing team."

"When the Contestant fights monsters or gets treasure, the EXP and other rewards go to the Audience. EXP is used collectively by the Audience to level up the Contestant's Skill Tree. Simply put, the Audience is part dungeon master, part strategist, and part judge & jury."

So it's kind of like a multiplayer fantasy RPG meets Twitch Plays Pokemon (although apparently development on this game started before TPP captured the Internet's heart in a Pokeball). Sounds complicated, not to mention chaotic. Mixed smartly, however, those flavours go together surprisingly well. Colour me cautiously optimistic.

Here's some game footage along with a chat between Upsilon Circuit co-creator Calvin Goble and PC Gamer's Evan Lahti (who, full disclosure, is one of my housemates):

It's still in development at the moment, but it all sounds super intriguing. I'm interested to see how players will operate with the pressure of a single, painfully finite life weighing them down. Will they tip-toe forward, sick with dread of what might lurk around every corner, or will they even have time to get attached to their character? Will they throw caution to the wind and play to the audience? Those are the most basic of possibilities, and even they strike me as pretty exciting.

Upsilon Circuit doesn't have a release date yet, but it's definitely one to keep an eye on. What do you think? Will you give it a shot despite the fact that it's basically #YOLO: The Game?


    Great concept/idea.. However, the thought of never being able to play the game again would not make me want to pay for it.

    Given that, it would be a massive challenge and pretty exciting!

      It seemed to work in the TV Show Caprica. Although their game featured a lot more R rated stuff.

    Sounds very reliant on maintaining interest, and if players only ever get to play once then the player base will be in a constant state of decline by design (unless they are exaggerating). Dunno about this one.

      Think of it this way, if Wheel of Fortune decided no contestant was ever allowed to go back on the show after they lose, they'd still be able to keep the show running forever because it's only three people per episode out of millions of people. This game operates on the same principal. Eight players can be on at one time, so it takes ages just to move through all the people who want to play. Not everyone sticks around long enough to play, but it also only has to generate enough interest to bring in a few hundred players per month (if that).
      The idea is that it's interesting in the way EVE Online is interesting. They're hoping to tweak the steaks and investment required to play in order to create interesting events that only occur in this specific game. That creates something the audience wants to watch and watching the show is somewhat of a game in itself.

    It literally sounds like Hunger Games turned into a video game; heck the audience even "sponsor" stuff for their contestants of choice.

    hmm nope
    Sounds like they're making the same mistake the Diablo 3 release team made: "They want it to be hard, hard is fun right?"
    Perhaps instead of making the game they want, they should instead ask their customers? It would be a shame to go to all that trouble to ultimately sink their own game through hubris.

    This definitely falls on the art / experience side of the divide, well away from 'paid product'

    How will they make money with a concept like this? Definitely not with a traditional sales model.

    So this will end up like that game where the developer only made 1 copy on a secure laptop and disabled the USB port; no-one will end up playing it?

    It is an interesting idea. Like an internet game show. They need an active community to keep this alive. I think the one life ever isn't the right approach. A better one would be only 8 people at a time.

    Without ever being able to have another stab at it I think people will lose interest pretty quickly.

      I think one life opens it up to a lot more to backseat drivers. Nobody gains enough experience to be so good the audience can't claim they'd do better. Sort of like how people enjoy Deal or No Deal because they can say 'oh, he's making a mistake, I'd do it this way'. When you start giving people a second chance on the show it gets boring because they play smarter and take the first offer.

    I think the 1 life thing is bad. I would say seasons would be the way to go. You get 1 life per season so it acts also as a scoreboarding mechanic. With people watching the strats of other players so they can go that little bit further each time.

    Of course I expect this to mostly end up with large amounts of griefing (hey wizard you wanted more strength right?)

    How many times have you died in an online game which was the fault of a server issues, connection issues, game break bugs, or cheating hackers ? Perma-perma death is a serious serious pain.

    And even if you say only 8 people can play, and only once, how do they regulate that one. How do you hard and fast lock this so the Timmy1 doesnt keep playing until he is Timmy651543210

    APB Online is a free2play MMO-Shooter which I used to play, the weekly cheater ban list which was put on the forums to name and shame people... looked the same each and every week cause the naming structure of the cheaters became prevalant. They get banned, start a new account, keep cheating and ruining the game for everyone else.

    If this was say an internet show, or say some kind of twitch streaming experience with an umpire/ajudicator/game master actually running it to keep it honest (players and computers) I can see this not going anywhere fast.

    In terms of difficulty it sounds like Smash TV combined with Dark Souls... srsly, 1 life?

    People who like permadeath in DDO I know get a real kick out of it. Making death really matter totally changes the game experience for them. Not my cup of tea but I've heard good things. The right audience is going to love this.

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