Sharkmob, best known as the maker of Vampire: The Masquerade battle royale game Bloodhunt, is wading into the increasingly crowded extraction shooter waters. Its next game is Exoborne, a tactical open-world extraction shooter built around mech-lite exo-rigs that'll help you compete and survive in a post-apocalyptic world beset by cataclysmic natural disasters.
Sharkmob unveiled Exoborne as part of tonight's Game Awards live coverage. Billed as an ongoing live service game targeting PC and consoles – with no set release date yet – Exoborne promises a mix of open-world exploration, scavenging and crafting, and the winner-take-all tension of extraction shooters.
Exo-rigs are the throughline for basically all of this, as some of the game's developers explained at an event attended by GamesRadar+. Rather than proper towering mechs a la Titanfall or Armored Core, think of exo-rigs like more skeletal mech armor of varying bulk. "We don't have any RPG mechanics," one dev said of the exo-rigs. "It's all about you and what you have."
Rigs can bring verticality to exploration through grappling hooks and parachutes, for example. Improving your rig and unlocking new models is also a core pillar of crafting, alongside the game's fully customizable guns. The stealthy, defensive, or offensive loadout on your rig will shape your fighting style, and in turn your success out in the cutthroat world. If you die, you'll lose everything you have on you, so you'll have to decide what setup and supplies to bring based on the goals and challenges of each excursion.
Set in a near-future southeastern United States, Exoborne picks up after the failure of the Stratos tower project which was meant to shield humanity from calamitous forces of nature like superstorms. As a rig-equipped Rebirth Guardian, you scour the landscape in search of answers and supplies, aiding and defending survivors however you can.
In-between PvP shootouts, Sharkmob explains, you'll encounter personal and group missions as well as dynamic public events. There isn't a conventional campaign, but you can play solo or with friends, though as a lone wolf you'll be at a disadvantage against groups. I asked about the lobby size of each multiplayer instance, but Sharkmob is keeping the exact number under wraps for now.
Coming from Bloodhunt, Sharkmob is pushing for a more approachable skill curve with Exoborne. "The amount of verticality and the pacing was a little bit too fast" in Bloodhunt, one dev said. "That meant the skill ceiling, the difference between the best players and the worst players, was a little bit too big. It was too hard for the players that were struggling ... This is an open-world PvP game, which means there are quite long periods where there's low intensity, then when there is a fight, it's very, very high intensity. What we've done is make sure that the pacing of the game isn't too fast, especially when it comes to abilities and traversal."
Perhaps most importantly, a Sharkmob dev confirmed that all those natural disasters can indeed be weaponized: "You can explicitly throw someone off a cliff down into a tornado, they get pulled up in the air, and you can then snipe them in the head. That's something I did this morning."
Elsewhere in shooter news, the Payday co-creator's new cyberpunk heist FPS is "more Payday 2," less hardcore than co-op hit GTFO, and deliberately different from Cyberpunk 2077.