Channelling Helldivers 2, this Stranger Things-style survival MMO smashes through open beta audience limits, even after doubling its capacity to 50,000 players

Player blasts mutants outside a red door.
(Image credit: Starry Studio)

The upcoming survival game Once Human has been making waves since the open beta basically broke down, thanks to too many testers jumping in at once.

Of course, a multiplayer open-world survival game in a twisted, post apocalyptic setting that riffs on the much-loved horror-comedy series Stranger Things is going to draw some attention. Survival horror is one of the top game genres out there today, but as developer Starry Studio admits in the latest edition of Edge magazine, even they didn't expect such an immense flood of players opting into the open beta.

In order to cope with the popularity the open beta has been enjoying, Starry Studio has now switched it over to an invitation-only system. That's after having even upped the maximum number of testers to 50,000 - more than double the initial number they'd expected to have to cater for. Prospective players are still being turned away on the game's Discord server, in fact, so looks like we'll have to accept that the testing floor is wholly and completely full. Sorry, folks. There's an obvious comparison to draw with Helldiver 2, a game that in recent days has also been forced to expand its server capacity, and has still struggled to keep up with demand.

So what is it about Once Human that has people so excited? Well, this is a retro-feel survival game with impressive-looking crafting, weapon upgrades, skill-trees, and massive towering abominations just begging to get blown up. And while it doesn't feature any Kate Bush songs as far as we can tell, it has everything your little survivalist heart could want from a game like this. Including driveable bases.

(Image credit: Starry Studio)

Yep. Trucks with buildable surfaces is one of the coolest features I've seen in a survival game to date. Moreover, there's something just a little unconventional about the game, especially for an MMORPG. The combat system looks a little more versatile than your average online multiplayer title, so it'll be interesting to see just how it plays when we get our hands on it.

For now would-be players will have to wait until either the full release in the third quarter of 2023 before they gain "the power to remake the world." Or at least for the devs to make the beta system a little more robust to fit some more testers in.

Check out our list of upcoming indie games for more soon-to-release gems.

Katie Wickens
Freelance writer

Katie is a freelance writer covering everything from video games to tabletop RPGs. She is a designer of board games herself and a former Hardware Writer over at PC Gamer.