Maelstrom is Launching to Steam Early Access

Last time we reported on Maelstrom, the game was considering the month of April for an early access release. Now, we’ve been given direct word on a release date for Maelstrom early access…and that date is today.

maelstrom early access

Yep, Maelstrom is now setting sail for the seas of Steam with an early access build that features nine different ships that can be customized with three stat-boosting crew mates, a captain that offers a special ability, and various other features that can affect performance. Players then duke it out in a 16-person battle royale on the open water, hoarding gold and collecting bounties from sinking other ships while avoiding the encroaching, monster-filled Dead Waters.

The Steam release of Malestrom will link to the stretch goals of the game, but instead of being powered by direct funding, they’ll be powered by the number of players. A Steam post outlines each of these stretch goal features, with a single-player campaign possible if Maelstrom numbers hit the 125k mark.

Maelstrom is available at a cost of $19.99 with a 10% discount for those who decide to buy in during the game’s launch week. A trailer for the early access launch can be viewed below.

Our Thoughts

Dress it up how you like, but “player number stretch goals” are still funding goals. Regardless, we still feel that Maelstrom could have enough variance in it to make it stand out from the big-name battle royale games out now…perhaps even stand above them. We’re most interested in seeing how things progress for Maelstrom and would like to offer congratulations to Gunpowder Games for making it to Steam early access.

Source: press release

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Maelstrom Dates a Steam Early Access Launch Window

We’ve remarked about how PUBG’s rampant success would lead to an onrush of battle royale games, but also mentioned that the PUBG and piracy combination offered by Maelstrom could be intriguing. Soon, we’ll all get to find out just how intriguing with an impending Maelstrom Steam Early Access release.

maelstrom steam early access

In Maelstrom, players can take command of ships from one of three factions: the human Phoenix Empire, the Steamborn Dwarves, or the Orc Pirate Lords. Each faction’s ships excel in a form of playstyle such as long-distance attacking or ramming and boarding, and each ship can be further customized to suit their preferences. Players take to the waters of the Abyssal Ocean to square off in ship-to-ship combat, avoiding hazards and collecting loot from the map or slain foes to become the last captain standing.

Maelstrom has tied down the month of April to unleash its form of naval battle royale to Steam Early Access, though players who want to get in sooner than that get the opportunity if they back the game’s Kickstarter. The crowdfunding drive is seeking $10k in order to complete visual polish and customization, animation, and voice actors, while the game itself is described as being in a “very stable” multiplayer state.

“A Steam Early Access release today is as important as a full release,” elaborates lead developer Blaine Smith. “We want to play with seriously interested players to help us hone and test before early access launch, and begin to build a community that culminates into a healthy multiplayer environment well into release.”

More information about Maelstrom’s features can be read on Kickstarter, or you can just take in the trailer below if you’re the visual learner sort.

Our Thoughts

Maelstrom could very well be the breath of fresh air that the battle royale genre desperately requires, though it’s still obviously too early to tell. That said, the concepts of the game are most definitely sound and could be intriguing to subgenre fans. Which side do you sit on the Maelstrom fence?

Source: press release

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Maelstrom Meshes PUBG with Piracy

We were all pretty much ready and waiting for The Great Battle Royale Games Flood to come smashing down upon us all with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds rousing success. Consider our cynicism jarred just a bit, however, in the face of the Maelstrom article published by our friends at PCGamesN.

maelstrom article

In a sponsored series focused on games made in Unreal Engine 4, PCGamesN spoke with the devs at Gunpowder Games about their online multiplayer battle royale title on the high seas. Maelstrom is described as “Sid Meier’s Pirates! crashing into the rocks of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” and sees players sailing the open ocean, looking to get gold from either sunken vessels or from earning bounties by killing other players.

The shrinking play space mechanic in Maelstrom is referred to as “dead waters” that are filled with dangerous undersea monsters. If players find themselves in these treacherous, inky seas, they’ll receive one warning before a massive monster will leap out of the ocean and instantly destroy their ship a few seconds later.

Maelstrom did launch a Kickstarter campaign that was cancelled in August, but the devs did state their intention to return “soon” as their campaign did earn them a dev grant from Epic Games. Maelstrom’s official website currently is sparse on information, but Gunpowder Games does refer players to its Twitter as well as Facebook for additional information.

Our Thoughts

Honestly, we’re pretty okay with battle royale “clones” as long as they bring new and interesting ideas like what Maelstrom is offering. Of course, looking good in Unreal Engine 4 is secondary to how the game plays, so here’s hoping we get to learn more on that front sometime soon.

Sources: PCGamesN, Kickstarter, Unreal Engine website

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