What is Everywhere? Developer Build A Rocket Boy has kept things close to their chest, showing nothing of the game but a trailer at Gamescom’s opening night live that left people grasping for what it could potentially be. Information was thin on the ground: legendary Rockstar producer Leslie Benzies is heading it up, and there was an expansive sci-fi vista. That’s pretty much all the information out there.

Now, after a trip to Scotland where an NME representative ate their weight in Tunnocks products, we’re finally in a position to tell you not-quite-everything about Everywhere, but a huge wedge of information on what you can expect from the mysterious title.

So, let’s rip off the bandaid. Everywhere is a platform for user-generated content. At times it’s a shooting game, a racing game, and even a platformer. It’s also a powerful creation suite, with the game boasting an editor that will allow people to create levels, groups of assets or even cool things like traps or bosses that other players can buy from an in-game store to use in their own creations.

Everywhere. Credit: Build A Rocket Boy

That sci-fi vista? That’s Utropia, the main social space that ties together the different areas that will make up the Everywhere experience and it’s here that players will, in-game, meander between playing, exploring and creating.

Pretty much everything else that you’ll be seeing in Everywhere is going to be user-generated content (UGC), dubbed ARCs. This will be created in the game’s creation tools, dubbed ARC-adia, a pun that makes me immediately curious about whether the editor or the content packs were named first.

Weirdly, the clean sci-fi aesthetic robs the game of a lot of character and the editor, or at least the sections that we’ve been shown, seem fairly devoid of personality. You can fight through a chemical plant, race in a desert, or even frag enemies in a close-quarters deathmatch, but everything will still look decidedly like Everywhere. This could create one of the game’s biggest issues: You can create anywhere in Everywhere, but all of it will look like somewhere else.

Within these ARC levels, players can toss down portals that will take them to other ARCs, meaning it’s easy for people to explore new content and vanish down a rabbit hole. It’s a system that is oddly reminiscent of Habbo Hotel, but here could mean that you’re directing people from your in-game house to, say, explore a platforming level you’ve created or to join a race on a course you yourself have built.

Everywhere. Credit: Build A Rocket Boy

It’s all a little bit Ready Player One, even if Benzies himself admits that the team are actively trying to distance themselves from the dreaded metaverse label. Similarly, the team at BARB is keen to state that the game has absolutely nothing to do with the blockchain, cryptocurrency or NFTs, a rumour that seems to have bubbled up from nowhere and weaved itself into the Everywhere mystery.

It’s a very slick presentation. Seeing the game running in real-time the team take us through the basics of shooting, driving and creating. The game, reveals Benzies, is very close to launch and the proof is in a demo from assistant game director Adam Whiting that sees him taking us through the tutorial and some initial levels,  even jumping into ARC-adia to create in real-time.

While I haven’t played, from watching Whiting play you can see a game that has solid-looking combat: shooting looks quite arcadey and the movement seems to be empowering players, with a series of fluid and responsive abilities for traversal.

It’s hard to make a call on whether the racing we see is any good, although we’re shown several different vehicles that players can customise and race. If there’s anything from my time seeing Everywhere the most disappointing thing is that I can’t take it for a spin myself and see if it feels as good to play as it looks in motion.

Everywhere. Credit: Build A Rocket Boy

Split into small groups, journalists were unleashed upon the office of developer Build A Rocket Boy and shown more of Everywhere than anyone has ever seen before. I hear one thing constantly: this is the biggest project we’ve ever worked on. I believe it, in addition to the employee that grinned while saying it’s been “a fucking nightmare” to pull all of the pieces together.

We’re shown reams of incredible concept art and an audio system that can block ambiance using raytracing that looks genuinely impressive.

There’s a lot of potential here, but I’m not certain if Everywhere is immediately impressive enough to make an impact in a space that’s already heavily colonised. Yesterday (March 22), one day before publishing, Epic Games added the Unreal Engine to Fortnite, something that is likely going to completely change the way user-generated content works, offering high-powered creation tools to Fortnite’s huge audience. Elsewhere, Roblox already has a huge young group of fans that have already invested in the platform.

BARB’s Edinburgh office is a bright open space that used to be a casino, but I’d be willing to bet that Everywhere is the biggest gamble that the building has ever seen. It feels like the key to that success could be MindsEye and getting people to actually get their hands on Everywhere to try it for themselves.

From there, and with several community superstars that make things that will make things that draw in an audience to play them, and Everywhere could be a smash-hit, but that fight is going to be uphill. Everywhere sure has something to it, I’m just not sure if it has enough to compete in a space that already has two monolithic competitors. I’m cautiously optimistic, but keen to see more of Everywhere. 

Everywhere will release later in 2023.

The post ‘Everywhere’ preview: Create and destroy appeared first on NME.


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