- HYENAS is an upcoming hero shooter that offers a unique multiplayer experience with zero-gravity and a post-apocalyptic world.
- Players can choose from several different heroes called Hyenas and embark on missions to steal pop culture-themed merchandise from evil billionaires.
- The game features three categories of heroes with distinct special abilities, including engaged specialists who blow things up, exploit specialists who manipulate the environment, and bait specialists who focus on movement.
HYENAS is an upcoming hero shooter that combines elements like zero-gravity and a post-apocalyptic world for a unique new multiplayer experience. The game comes from Creative Assembly and its parent company SEGA, and is slated to enter its beta phase soon. Players will be able to choose between several different heroes, called Hyenas, and utilize them on missions to steal pop culture-themed merchandise from evil billionaires.
Following the invention of an antigravity technology, billionaires have largely left Earth to live on Mars and manage to maintain satisfaction in their new life through Merch – the rare debris left behind from human society. With so much already taken from them, gangs have taken to stealing this Merch back for themselves, with Hyenas having everything from Sonic keychains to Ataris. Eight Hyenas have been announced as part of the title so far, all of which have their own quirky qualities and abilities, like the idealistic Commander Wright and her foam cannon weapon, or the meta Doc Hotfix – who insists he’s a player character in an FPS.
Screen Rant sat down with the product director for Hyenas, Alex Hunnisett, at Gamescom to discuss the different playable characters, history of the in-game world, and what kind of loot there is for players to find.
Screen Rant: I would just love to hear a little bit more about the different special abilities that the Hyenas will have, what can players expect from them?
Alex Hunnisett: Sure. So we’ve got a great lineup of players at the moment, and a lot of them are basically phased into three categories is the way we think about our hires. So a lot of games have your healers, or your tanks or whatever else, but thinking about things slightly differently: so we have our engaged specialists who are about blowing stuff up. So for example, you’ve got Digits, our roadie character, who throws out pyrotechnics, which are big kind of areas and are flaming disks, which look awesome. You’ve got Mozie who’s got a rocket launcher, so kind of pretty standard. You’ve got Prima, who’s more what we call a bait specialist; that’s more around movement, so she has zero-G violence that allows you to fly around the map, for example. And then you’ve got our exploit specialists who are more about exploiting the environment. So Commander Wright, who’s our astronaut character, has a foam gun that allows her to both create walls and make spaces, so those are a few.
Something that we’ve been doing over the last few months as well is not just looking at like active special abilities, but also how we build perks around those to really make the characters feel unique and special within those abilities. So for example Prima has a zero-G pack that allows her to zoom around the map – that goes hand in hand with a unique ability that is based on how fast she goes and the damage she does. So if you imagine she’s zooming around, and she’s building up momentum, she’s becoming this absolute powerhouse. Digits, the guy with the flaming discs, effectively what couples with that ability is if you set someone alight, and then when you defeat them, they blow up, and that sets everybody else around them alight and if they die, they blow up. It’s called “Let’s Have A Barbecue” and it ends up being really dramatic and really cool. So it’s really this combination of both the act of special abilities coupled with a particular perk to make our characters rewarding.
Do you have a favorite Hyena?
Alex Hunnisett: I do. And I’ve not mentioned that yet. So my favorite is Galaxia. Friggin awesome. Her ability is she basically gets to absorb any damage coming towards her and reflect it back. And on top of that, she kind of regenerates health as she’s doing that with her abilities, and that goes well hand-in-hand. And that coupled with her shotgun – she’s just taking the frontlines. She’s an absolute powerhouse and sassing folks out as she does it.
And now this is being billed as a zero-G shooter. Can I ask why zero-G? Why was that the move?
Alex Hunnisett: So we were looking at different – both in terms of lore, in terms of environment, in terms of gameplay – different spaces we could explore and zero-G was one of the things we started to explore. And what we found is certainly from a kind of an evade point of view, and we’re thinking about unique movement within the game, we really wanted to set ourselves apart. And no one else out there was doing zero-G in a way that we felt we could do it. And it’s constantly been evolving, we tried loads of different methods of how you traverse around zero-G, we’ve landed in the one we’ve got at the moment, which allows you to do some incredible stunts, while navigating around spaces – allows you to evade from fights in a unique way and get one up on the opponent as well. So for us it was how do we create a unique movement system that makes sense in the world that we’ve created that really allows for new avenues for gameplay that sit beyond just running into something.
And now talking a little bit more about the world you’ve created. How would you describe this universe that Hyenas is taking place in?
Alex Hunnisett: Relatable. No. [Laughs] So it’s in the not so distant future, and basically we’ve got a bunch of rich billionaires who ended up on Mars and left the Hyenas world cracked up, pretty messed up. So the Hyenas themselves alongside the rest of the survivors have ended up on kind of this orbital slum, whereas the rest of the millionaires have ended up on Mars. Effectively, they’re now going back and taking all the nutrients out. They’ll come along with new merchandise and then bring it back inside to everybody. This kind of goes hand in hand with the idea that streaming services and everything else, they blew up as part of this price; everything’s gone back to a lot more tangible things.
The story really for me in the world really is about finding that dichotomy between those two groups, and how as Hyenas – some folks say it’s sticking it to the man. For me, it’s more like how do you find joy in the apocalypse – if you’ve ever watched Zombieland, that kind of last Twinkie, like what’s going to get you through that, right? So I’m not going to fight over a gold bar or a diamond ring, I’m probably going to fight over the last couple of Spider-Mans, I’m probably going to fight over something that’s meaningful to me and is going to get me through. So for me, it’s a story of joy and hope in a really messed up world. And that’s why I’m really about it.
And I know in terms of stealing merchandise, I saw it listed as pop culture merchandise – is it real pop culture? Is it in-game, in-universe pop culture? What are we seeing?
Alex Hunnisett: It’s a combination of both. So we’ve got everything from kind of fidget spinners to Ataris. So it’s really – there’s definitely partnerships that we’ve had, where we sat down, and we’re like, “Hey, someone in the team has gone like, ‘this is what I was doing. This isn’t my last week here.'” And while we can, we’ve made efforts to try and bring those into game when you can find those partnerships. And then outside of that, just, you know, things that kind of makes sense in the world anyways, like the fidget spinner, for example, it’s real, it’s tangible. We haven’t made things to care about up. But we certainly have those partnerships, be it merchandising, from employees, or we’ve done a bunch of music partnerships as well. So it’s more tangible, real-life stuff, and some additional things further than that. What we really want to do and what we’ve been trying to do, as we’ve been going through alpha, is figuring out what resonates with our players.
What are you most excited to see players react to with the full version?
Alex Hunnisett: Well, we’re going into beta on the 31st. So it’s going to be the first time that we have no NDA. It’s the first time that we’re going to have folks out in the world streaming the game, which I’m really, really excited about. And for me, it’s kind of two things: it’s how that look of excitement will be when they go into zero-G for the first time and they see how fun it can be, and folks talking about their favorite characters and what resonates with them. I’m really, really excited to see – we’ve worked really hard to get to this point, with a strong lineup of characters, and I’m really, really excited to see how it plays out – who they resonate with, who’s their favorite one.
HYENAS is planned for release some time in 2023 for PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, and PC.