SYNCED: Off-Planet – Tencent unveils its “AAA” online shooter at Gamescom 2019

While most of the studios under Tencent Games are busy churning out mobile games, there is still a rather mysterious team which was quietly crafting a high-quality online shooter. I am talking about NExT, a Tencent studio filled with veterans who made games such as Far Cry, Rainbow Six, and Tencent’s own orient MMORPG, Moonlight Blade. NExT’s big “AAA” title, SYNCED: Off-Planet, was announced at Nvidia’s showcase event over at Gamescom just a few hours earlier. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, here is a quick summary of the game.

• Unknown to many people in the gaming industry, Hong Kong-registered NExT actually has a storefront on Steam since 2017, churning out some smaller games. It is unknown when did NExT joined Tencent. It now has 2 offices, 1 in Shanghai and 1 in Shenzhen.

• Together with Unreal Engine 4, SYNCED: Off-Planet has tons technology including Nvidia’s Ray Tracing and Epic Games’ Siren. Third-party co-development specialist, Studio Gobo, was also invited to join the development process as it worked on AAA titles such as For Honor and Disney Infinite before.

• A sci-fi online shooter, SYNCED: Off-Planet talks about a futuristic world where people can upload their consciousness, memories, and DNA online. These can then be transferred into a new body. However, this technology got corrupted, and thus human bodies installed with this programming became aggressive and mindless… zombies? Well they are called Nanos here. It is now up to players, who are not affected by this corruption, to save humanity.

• There is a command base known as Ark-Shuttle in space carrying humans as well, apparently they are aiding the survivals on Earth from there.

• The main feature of SYNCED: Off-Planet is the PvPvE mode, with 50 players and 1,000 Nanos on the battlefield.

• As IGN mentioned, “Players will compete against each other to get “off-planet”, but also attempt to survive against swarms of Nanos, which are ex-humans turned marauding cyborgs.” Hence, it is a mixed of PvP and PvE. “Off-planet” most likely means escaping to the Ark-Shuttle. There was no mentioned of a team mode, but there should be one.

• Even though there is PvP, the main aim of the game is to collect resources and build a shelter. Then, players have to save survivors and train them to… survive. They will then find a ship, fighting off other players, to get off the planet. I know, this sounds really ambitious and messy, but until we get to play the game, this is what was written in the Chinese media.

• SYNCED: Off-Planet uses a third-person shooter camera mode.

• The PC version was confirmed, but it will most likely launch on consoles too.

• There is actually a very vague explanation about a unique feature found in SYNCED: Off-Planet. As everyone in the game are implanted with the technology, including the Nanos, information can actually be shared if the circumstances are right. The Chinese media went as far as to say that players can “guide” Nanos to attack other players.