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Islands of Nyne, a sci-fi themed battle royale game developed by Define Human Studios, has entered Early Access. If you have a hard time keeping track of all these newfangled battle royale titles, know that you’re not alone. It seems that every game developer on the planet is rushing to pump out new, half-finished titles for the popular genre. For evidence, take a look at the resounding failure shown by The Culling 2, which, within a week of its launch, only has one active player. However, Islands of Nyne looks to set itself apart from the rest of the pack by offering a unique setting and a surprising level of attention to detail.

What exactly is Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale?

As stated earlier, Islands of Nyne is an exclusively first-person battle royale game developed by Define Human Studios. The team describes itself as “a new and growing Kickstarter-funded independent game studio formed by competitive gamers and industry veterans with decades of combined experience.” However, don’t let the idea of Kickstarter-backed battle royale makes you queasy just yet. Islands of Nyne has been in development since 2015.

Furthermore, the studio boasts quite the pedigree, as employees previously worked at BioWare, Ubisoft, and Epic Games. This experience should come in handy, especially considering the game is built on a modified version of Unreal Engine 4.

As of this week, the game is available in Early Access on Steam. There are plans for a future console release, but the specific consoles are currently unannounced. If you’d like to participate in Early Access, the PC specs are as follows, though they are subject to change:

OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 Bit/ Windows 8 64 Bit/ Windows 10 64 Bit
Processor: 2.5 GHz Dual-Core 64-bit CPU
Memory: 6 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 (2GB)
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 30 GB available space

OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit / Windows 8 64 bit / Windows 10 64 bit
Processor: Intel Quad Core i5/i7 3.3 GHz or AMD equivalent
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti/970 (High settings) and 1080 (Ultra settings)
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 30 GB available space

What makes Islands of Nyne different from other battle royale titles?

Regarding gameplay, the early footage looks promising. At first, the match starts with a familiar premise. Players drop-in on an island while a voice instructs them to eliminate the other players. A rapidly closing safe zone dictates the flow of combat and the tide of the match.

As with other games of the genre, Islands of Nyne follows the formula introduced by the namesake movie, Battle Royale. What has me excited, however, is the simple fact that players begin the match with a lethal knife. Whereas titles such as Fortnite place little-to-no emphasis on melee combat, spawning players with only a weak harvesting tool, the knife presented here more closely resembles the visceral style of the film. The genre can use more gameplay that relies on melee and stealth, and this looks to be a good start.

However, the similarities end there, as Islands of Nyne is set within a sci-fi backdrop. The voice narrating the match sounds like a robotic A.I., and the visual aesthetic features heavy use of bright neons and futuristic machinery. This is all in contrast to the vibrant forest environment, which reminds me of the original Far Cry. In fact, the game seems like an attempt to convert Crysis to a battle royale setting, which sounds like a fast, fun experience. Like market leaders Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Islands of Nyne includes 100 players in each match.

A futuristic contender for the battle royale esports market

The developers are serious about listening to community feedback and fostering a competitive atmosphere. When asked about esport potential, they state:

Islands of Nyne has been built from the ground up to be a competitive battle royale e-sport title. We have numerous e-league pros consulting for us and we’re constantly in contact with various tournament organizers and members of the community who provide us with invaluable feedback during development. Whether it’s weapon balance, level design, or making sure the game is exploit-free, providing a competitive atmosphere and fair playing field is something we take very, very seriously. Is the shotty OP or trash? You tell us!

Games like Fortnite owe a large portion of their success due to the close, frequent interactions between developers and fans. Furthermore, these existing battle royale titles are ramping up their professional esports ambitions, with new multi-million dollar tournaments announced constantlyIslands of Nyne faces an uphill battle to gain a foothold in the market, but with their current plans, they just might succeed.

If you have any additional questions, the official website has a comprehensive FAQ section. Let us know your thoughts, especially on whether or not you think Islands of Nyne does enough to distinguish itself from other titles.