Project Winter

Mafia, Werewolf, Kane and Lynch 2 multiplayer—deception and paranoia are great fodder for games, so I’m rather looking forward to Project Winter’s upcoming beta weekend. The game of co-op survival and backstabbing launches in Early Access next week, but first it’s hosting an open beta from tomorrow and ending on February 3. 

Stuck in a chilly wilderness, eight players will need to work together to fend off bears, gather supplies, make repairs and, if they’re lucky, escape with their limbs and lives in tact. Unfortunately, not everyone is in it together. Lurking among the survival buddies are two traitors with a single goal: stop the others from escaping. Check out the gameplay trailer released a couple of weeks ago.

This sounds very much like my kind of thing. Communication is key, says developer Other Ocean Interactive, so players will be able to use proximity chat, emotes and walkie-talkies to stay in contact even when they’re out chopping down trees alone. Expect arguments, accusations and murder. 

You can sign up for the open beta here, and Project Winter will hit Steam Early Access on February 7. The plan is for it to run for three to six months, adding polish, additional map layouts, new items and more.

Project Winter

Co-op survival games, as the name suggests, generally require players to work together in order to avoid the grim specter of death. Project Winter is a little bit different. The cooperative angle is there—eight people have to pull together to gather resources, repair structures, and complete other tasks to stay alive in the midst of a ferocious, freezing snowscape and ultimately make their escape—but two of them are actually conspiring in secret to murder everyone else. 

The "traitors" in the group will start the game in a relatively weak state, so they won't be able to immediately go to town on everyone else. But they'll gain strength as the game progresses, and more importantly they'll be known to each other from the start, so they can more effectively coordinate their mayhem.

All players will be able to communicate through proximity-based voice chat and private "radio" channels, as well as text chat and emotes, which will facilitate survival and murderous duplicity in equal measures. And trying to sneak away and escape on your own won't get you far: Even if the traitors don't gank you once you're safely out of sight (and the proximity-based chat means you can forget about screaming for help), the harsh environment and dangerous wildlife will. 

"Unlike other survival games which you must stay alive to win, in Project Winter you require the cooperation of other players to help you make it out alive," Other Ocean Interactive boss Ryan Hale said. "In-game player communication is a key element to playing the game, in which no one can be trusted." 

Project Winter is expected to hit Steam Early Access early this year, and an open beta is also on the way. Find out more at projectwinter.ca

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