Darwin Project takes the battle royale genre up north, where an impending ice age has given rise to a twisted new reality show in which ten participants must fight to the death under the Show Director's gaze.
Recent Reviews:
Mostly Positive (140) - 77% of the 140 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (11,808) - 81% of the 11,808 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Mar 9, 2018

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“We’re not making just any battle royale game; we’re building fresh features like the Show Director who serves as a master of ceremonies, Spectator Interactions that let viewers directly interact with streams, and we’re tightening up the whole experience with an emphasis on tracking that ensures players are always within arm’s reach of a tense confrontation.

From the first playtests, we knew that player feedback would be key to optimizing these systems. Because Darwin Project leans so heavily into social interaction, the best way for us to realize our vision for the game is to have an active community exploring its features and taking part in a variety of encounters―either as contestants, Show Directors, or spectators. We’re really proud of what we’ve built so far and look forward to continue improving Darwin Project with the help of our Steam Early Access players.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We will launch Darwin Project out of Early Access when all its systems meet our quality targets for fun factor, balancing, and polish. We’re confident that our new patch schedule will allow us to make regular, substantial updates that will take Darwin Project to full launch before long.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“For the full version, our main objectives are perfecting Darwin Project’s key features, like the Show Director and Spectator Interactions, and increasing the scope of the game with new features, game modes, tools, Show Director powers, and more.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“The Early Access version contains Solo mode, Private Matches, Spectator Interactions on both Twitch and Mixer, dedicated servers, anti-cheat measures, and more. Darwin Project’s core gameplay is proven and solid, and it’ll only keep getting better.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“We do not plan to increase the price when Darwin Project leaves Early Access.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We have already received great feedback from the thousands of players who participated in Alpha and Beta tests, as well as the friends and family members who join us in smaller-scale technical playtests regularly. We’ll keep monitoring feedback closely across all our channels and working hand in hand with the Darwin Project community to create a heart-pounding battle royale game that isn’t afraid to inject new ideas into the genre.”
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Recent updates View all (60)

February 14

Patch Notes 1.19 - Changes for February 19

Hello inmates!

As promised in our blog post earlier this year, we’ve focused on addressing key areas that our community have felt strongly about for some time now. Although it required a longer development time, we’re excited to release patch 1.19 and all its updates on Tuesday, February 19th!

Thanks again to everyone who played an early version of this update during our technical playtests and submitted feedback!

The patch notes are also available in our official website here.

Axe Rework

We said we’d mercilessly tackle the axe and just as promised, we put a lot more focus on improving the axes and the melee combat experience for this patch update. After months of discussions, development, and playtesting, we think that the changes and improvements we did this time addresses many concerns about this mechanic.

Reworked Timing
To make the axes feel more dynamic and responsive, we reduced the duration of its wind up animation, resulting in a melee combat that is more about reacting to your opponent’s actions rather than having to anticipate them. Moreover, the timing required to land a hit, parry an attack, or to deflect an arrow should now feel more intuitive and consistent.

Directional Swings
Instead of swinging horizontally all the time, your character will now attack with the axe towards the direction of your reticle. This adds a new layer of skill and enables players to fight more effectively along steep slopes or against jumping opponents.

Reworked Visual Cues
An issue we identified with the melee combat was the lack of visual cues that players can refer to when engaging in combat, making the experience seem more inconsistent than how it is supposed to be. To address this, we first tweaked the camera’s position so inmates can see what they hit more easily and thus estimate their distance from the target better.

Next, we made slight adjustments to the axe animations to better suit the changes in timing and the implementation of directional swings.

Lastly, we also reworked the visual effects for the axe trails so players can better see the trajectory of the axe swings, improving feedback and visibility for both players engaged in combat. These new visual effects will also aid players in identifying which melee Perk and to which level their opponent’s axe is crafted to. This would be useful information to have, more particularly if your opponent crafted an Axe Sharpener. You can read more details about this on the Visuals sub-section below General Improvements.



New Show Director Power: Lava Floor

Lava Floor is a new Show Director Power that fills a Tile with scorching molten rock, forcing inmates to flee or move to high ground immediately. Similar to the Nuke, Show Directors can drop the Lava Floor on any Zone of their choice, or call for a vote to let Spectators decide. Once activated, it fills the floor of an entire Zone with rising lava and creates a deadly wall around the edges of the Zone, which cause immediate death to players in contact with the lava.

However if you manage to find higher ground in a Zone with an activated Lava Floor Power, you will start warming up. This lava stays for 10 seconds after it reaches its maximum height, after which it will start falling back to the abyss.

Show Directors can only have one Lava Floor Power in their deck and costs five Action Points to activate. To unlock it, you simply need to level up as Show Director!

A New Way to Train: Practice vs A.I. (Artificial Inmates)

Practice vs A.I. is a new game mode that players can enter to practice their survival skills before joining other inmates in the Arena. While Lancaster D.O.D. and the Training Yard (formerly called Playground) were designed to help new players learn about the basic game mechanics and equipment available, the first set of Artificial Inmates will help inmates practice combat playstyles and tactics to help them be better prepared for the real challenges out in the Arena.

This game mode uses a static map and places a player in a match against 9 Artificial Inmates, which are designed to gather resources, craft Tools, and engage in combat just like a real inmate would. It is currently only available on Easy Mode, but we plan to bring more advanced AIs in the future with higher difficulty settings so even players who are more familiar with the game mechanics will find them helpful.

Play by Your Own Rules with Custom Matches

Joining and Creating Custom Matches

We’ve completely revamped the Private Matches feature to allow players to find and join those matches more easily through the Custom Match server list. Creating your matches also just got better as you can now customize specific settings to truly make these matches your own.

Each custom match generates a four-letter password, which hosts can send to other players they would like to invite. If the host chooses to make their match visible to everyone, the match will be shown in the Custom Match server list where other players can find it and join by clicking on the match of their choice. Otherwise, other players will only be able to join a match that is set to private through the password.

We prepared some pre-set matches for you to start with which you will see when you create a custom match, but you’re more than free to set up one on your own by pressing My Custom Match. We’re working on bringing more customizable settings in the future, so you can look forward to making these matches even more interesting!

Join a Custom Duos Match with your Friend

Players can now join custom Duos match with another inmate of their choice! Simply invite them to join your party by clicking the Invite a Friend button, then join or create a custom Duos match.

Only the Party Leader will be able to choose a role, and they must select an Inmate role so they can be paired with their friend once the match starts.

25+ New Cosmetic Items

Taking on new challenges such as the new Lava Floor Show Director Power demands new outfits. Over 25 new items will be obtainable from Fan Gifts and will also be purchasable with Ramen from the Shop.

  • Updated the stamina system
    → Reduced sprint stamina cost from 18/s to 6/s
    → Reduced jump stamina cost from 33 to 25
    → Reduced roll stamina cost from 40 to 30
    → Axe attack nows cost 10 stamina
    → Aiming with the bow now costs 6 stamina per second
Developer comment: Because stamina management outside of combat seemed unnecessary, we put more focus on combat to reward better stamina management.
  • Increased the speed of roll attacks
  • Removed the brief stop that would occur after roll attacks
Developer comment: These changes allow the roll attack to match the new timing of the axe swings. On top of that, allowing players to continue moving after a roll attack not only makes the transition between combat movements smoother, but also decreases the chances of getting punished (especially by arrows) if the roll attack was missed.
  • Resized the female character’s height to be the same size as the male’s
Developer comment: Although the female character has always had the same hitbox as the male, this character’s height was initially shorter. This often lead to confusion regarding hitboxes. This change aims to make the combat more consistent regardless of gender.

  • Improved character hitbox to better suit the player’s movements


  • Servers tickrate has been increased from 32 to 59 updates per seconds
Developer comment: This allows for smoother and more accurate interactions between players, more particularly in terms of movement and combat.
  • Multiple improvements due to engine updates
  • Optimized character model and animations
  • Optimized visual effects
  • Optimized day and night cycle
  • Optimized level of detail in the Mt. Borlo Deer Workshop Tile
  • Optimized physics computation of players that are not in sight
Developer comment: We know optimization is highly important for the community, and we’ve been hard at work to strive towards the smoothest experience possible. With this patch, all players should notice an improvement in framerate, particularly Xbox players as we continue on our road to reach a stable 60 frames-per-second. While we do still anticipate some small dips here and there, we believe this patch is a step in the right direction for achieving this goal for our Xbox community.


  • Added colored trails to Axe swings to indicate the type of melee Perk that is being used. The visual effects for these trails will increase as the Perk levels up:
    → White when no Perk has been crafted
    → Red for Axe Sharpener
    → Green for Lumberjack
    → Yellow for Scavenger Axe
  • Added colored trails when players load Arrows to indicate the type of Arrow that is being used:
    → Red for Berserk Arrow
    → Blue for Basic Arrow
    → Green for Hunter Arrow
    → Orange for Fire Arrow
  • Added a flashing light to indicate when an arrow is ready to be fired
  • Updated the visual effects for the Fire Arrow, including the lingering burning damage fire
  • Updated the visual effects of Blood Moon and Beach Party
  • Removed the Christmas lights from trees in all Tiles

User Interface
  • Updated the Play menu and the flow to start a match

  • Added a clearer “On Air” notification while being followed by the Show Director
  • Updated the bottom left part of the interface while playing a Custom Match with a disabled Player Minimap setting as an inmate
  • Polished in-game notifications text

  • Renamed Playground to Training Yard
  • Renamed Daily Rehab Program to Daily Challenges
  • Reduced the volume of the sounds found in the Show Director Soundboard
  • Increased the volume of inmates' footsteps
  • Increased the duration of Invincibility and Speed Up to 30 seconds (For Spectator Powers only)

  • Fixed an issue that would cause the axe to scale up during rolling attack and could cause hitbox inconsistencies
  • Fixed a crash that would sometimes happen when joining a lobby [Xbox only]
  • Fixed an issue in which players could get stuck in burnt tree trunks in the Mt. Borlo Deer Workshop Tile
  • Fixed an issue which caused some lava lighting to not work properly in the Mt. Borlo Deer Workshop Tile
  • Fixed an issue where player would get stuck over lava around the middle island of the Mt. Borlo Workshop Tile
  • Fixed an issue where a few bows had incorrect materials
  • Fixed an issue where some trees would have an incorrect trunk texture applied to them
  • Fixed an issue where various snowman Hats would have no visible neck when used with the male character
  • Fixed an issue where players who equipped the Ponytail Hair would have incorrect eyebrow colors
  • Fixed an issue where some Helmet sizes were incorrect
  • Fixed an issue in the Gould City Tile where some tree leaves would intersect through house roofs
  • Fixed an issue where the Kiwi Climber Hat would have an incorrect icon
  • Fixed an issue which could prevent some lava splashes from appearing
  • Fixed an issue where the Armor crafting sound duration would not match its actual crafting time
  • Fixed an issue where trees would keep moving if a player died in it
  • Fixed an issue where the headshot hitbox would remain the same size when using the Shrink Electronic Power
  • Fixed an issue wherein changing the graphics quality during Beach Party while playing as female character could cause two skins to overlap
  • Fixed an issue where joining a Twitch tournament with a controller could sometimes prevent any further menu navigation
17 comments Read more

February 1

Join this Year’s First Playtest on Steam this February!

Hello inmates,

We know you’ve been waiting for an update this year! A brand new Show Director Power, axe improvements and more updates are coming your way this month. You’re invited to preview and help us improve them in a Technical Playtest on Monday, February 4!

Don’t forget that the features you’ll see in the Playtest are still in development, so you may experience some issues.

We’re looking for your feedback about the new Show Director Power, axe changes, and the new Practice vs. AI training mode, in particular. We’d also like to know what you think and how your experiences are with creating Custom Matches.

Show Directors, we know you’re all curious about the new Show Director Power, so stay tuned to our social media channels for some details in the next few days, or go in blind for a surprise on Monday!

The Technical Playtest will take place on Monday, February 4 from 4 PM EST (9 PM UTC) to 6 PM EST (11 PM UTC) on Steam.

  • Go to your Steam Library
  • Right-click on Darwin Project and select Properties
  • Go to the Beta tab and enter the playtest code: playtest124357689
  • Click Check Code, then select Playtest from the drop-down menu
  • Restart Steam and launch Darwin Project

Important: Don’t forget to opt out of the Playtest branch once it is over! You can do this by going back to the Beta tab in the game’s Properties and selecting None from the drop-down menu.

Yes! We also encourage those who are not able to participate to tune into the streams if they’d like. Don’t forget to opt out of the Playtest when you are done playing before continuing to stream Darwin Project.

We’d love to hear your feedback about the the upcoming patch! We will be posting the link to the post-playtest survey in the playtesting build as well as our social channels. Please take the time to fill it out and help us make this update the best it can be!

The next patch will be available on February 19, with patch notes published a few days earlier as usual.

We hope you’ll join us, and see you in the arena!

Scavengers Team
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“Darwin Project is part survival game, part battle royale, and it mixes both of these genres into a fun and unique combination”

“tense and hilarious”

“the closest thing to 'The Hunger Games' we've played yet”
Digital Trends

About This Game

Darwin Project takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic landscape in the Northern Canadian Rockies. As preparation for an impending Ice Age, a new project, half science experiment half live-entertainment, is launched. It's called "Darwin Project" and it challenges 10 participants to survive the cold and fight to the death in a treacherous arena.

Track the position of enemies, by using environmental clues they left behind and be creative with your use of crafted traps to take the upperhand. The biting cold of the Northern Canadian Rockies will also slowly freeze you should you be careless.

The Show Director is the living bridge between the players and spectators. He/She is the host and master who controls the arena with nuclear bombs, zone closures, gravity storms, and the power of their voice. This could be a real tool of self discovery; the start of your new career as a charming but deadly game show host.


Stream viewers can also bet live on the competitors they think will reign supreme, in addition to helping the Show Director choose targets for their arena-shaping powers. Whether they’re voting on which player deserves a death-defying heal or which zone to nuke, it’s time for spectators to become active participants in the manhunt!

System Requirements

    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: Windows 7 and above
    • Processor: Dual Core 2.4Ghz+
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GTX 750, GTX 660
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 6 GB available space
    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: Windows 7 and above
    • Processor: Quad Core 2.4Ghz+
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GTX 970, GTX 1060
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 6 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Microphone

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