In most games, dying is a minor annoyance that forces you to go back to your last save, but for the upcoming game “Upsilon Circuit,” dying in-game means you can never, ever play the game again.
You can’t create a new character, you can’t create a new account, you’re done. No more game for you.
While you might be wondering why anyone would ever want to play a game like this, there’s actually a quiet genius behind the concept, and it all revolves around audience participation.
Here’s how it works.
Only eight players are ever playing “Upsilon Circuit” at any given time, and those eight players share a single server. They’re divided up into two teams of four players each, and they will compete against each other and other enemies within the fantastical dungeon-crawler world as they ward off monsters, collect treasure, and fight to survive for as long as they can before being killed.
Meanwhile, everyone else who wants to play the game is watching those eight players try to survive through a live stream, and they’re actively aiding them in their journey. As those eight players slay monsters and find treasure, experience points are distributed to the spectators, who help decide how to level up the skills of the eight players.
When one of the eight players bites the dust, a new “contestant” is selected from the audience of spectators to replace them. Those on the sidelines will also be able to customise their own avatar as they await their chance to play.
The active role of the audience in the game is reminiscent of Twitch Plays Pokemon, as Kotaku points out, the viral social experiment where thousands of Twitch watchers helped control a single play through of Pokemon.
“We’re making this because we want to watch it,” Upsilon Circuit co-creator Calvin Goble told PC Gamer in an interview. “We’re excited because, oh my gosh, what could happen when someone really cares about their one life in the game…but I would be totally lying if I didn’t think it’s a really neat social experiment.”
There’s no release date or pricing details on Upsilon Circuit quiet yet, but you can sign up to stay updated over at the official website or watch some gameplay and hear more from Goble in PC Gamer’s interview below.