Last last year, Ubisoft's Julien Cuny and Louis-Pierre Pharand left Ubisoft Montreal to found their own independent studio called PIXYUL. Julien was Head of Content for Assassin's Creed, while Louis-Pierre was Creative Director and Head of UbiWorkshop. Today, PIXYUL announced its first game, the highly ambitious ReROLL.
According to PIXYUL, ReROLL is a "Crowdfunded Persistent Online Open World Survival Action RPG" – or as the announcement trailer puts it, "The Ultimate Open World Playground." What sets ReROLL apart from other games is that its environment is going to be sculpted based on real-world data. PIXYUL plans on drone-sourcing and mapping the entire planet, one square kilometer at a time. The drones are equipped with digital HD cameras and their data will be processed with 3D software to render into in-game terrain. If that sounds overly ambitious, it is. And that's why it won't be happening all at once and will be combined with procedural generation for certain parts of the world, such as the major oceans and restricted areas that will never be accessible to drones.
PIXYUL plans on starting with what its referring to as BRICK 1, though what region that entails hasn't been decided yet. What we do know is that BRICK 1 will not be in the United States because commercial drone use is not yet legal and won't be until sometime in 2015 when the FAA plans on establishing rules.
While the first stage of the game may be rather small in area, there are still two aspects of the game that are quite intriguing. The first is a system PIXYUL is calling Reality System Sync (RSS), which not only synchronizes the in-game time with the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), but also pulls actual weather and temperature data and "injects" it into the game. For example, if your character decided to visit New York City right now, you'd be struggling to survive in the middle of a snow storm. I know because I have to shovel after writing this.
The second unique feature of the game is tied to the RSS. Because the in-game time is a direct 1:1 relation to real-world time, time is actually "a very important resource in the game." Even when you're not connected, your character remains "active" in the world. PIXYUL will be creating an Activity Tracker that you can access from a browser or smartphone, allowing you "to manage your character's schedule like you would manage your own agenda." As previously stated, ReROLL is a survival game, so a key strategy for survival will be "making sure your character is doing relevant things when you're not playing in front of your computer."
BRICK 1 is planned for mid-2015, but game packages are currently available for purchase on the official site, which will grant you lifetime access to ReROLL, starting with BRICK 1 when it's ready. Game packages range in price from $19.99 all the way up to $274.99. The way it works is that you are essentially buying a character (or multiple) to play as in the game world, each of which come with their own unique skills and starting gear. Depending on the amount of money you spend, you also get extra bonuses from "Gamers Angel Status" tiers. It's essentially PIXYUL's own version of crowd-funding, though the studio hasn't ruled out a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign in the future.
While buying different characters with different skills and gear may sound like a Pay2Win situation, PIXYUL ensures that that's not the case. For one, the game is not a free-to-play game. In addition, the game will feature no PvP, so there is technically no such thing as an "unfair advantage" – this is not like Rust or DayZ where you have to worry about other player characters. Lastly, and perhaps the most important part, is that nothing will be locked in the game – "You can start with a Basic Character and learn any skills and become whoever you want."
ReROLL is certainly an ambitious project and for all intents and purposes is just a pipe dream right now, but if PIXYUL can pull it off, it sounds like it could be a hell of a game. Be sure to watch the announcement video below to learn a little bit more and even see some early game footage.
Source: Press Release and Official Site