There has been a resurgence as of late of open-world survival sandbox games. The formula usually puts the player in the role of an outsider, suddenly stranded or trapped in an inhospitable environment. They must adapt quickly to survive harsh weather and indigenous species. Now a project from E-visualsoft, New Dawn, is mixing things up by putting players in the role of island natives who suddenly find themselves under attack from such interlopers.
Seeking $74,304 on Kickstarter, New Dawn takes place on an unknown island in Southern America towards the end of 1800. Pirates have come to the land seeking riches and resources. It’s up to the native inhabitants of the island to drive back the pirate menace while ensuring the survival of their people.
The game will feature a persistent multiplayer world. Leaving the server will leave your body behind as a defenseless “sleeper.” Players can form tribes and build villages to help protect them when they log out.
New Dawn includes all the typical survival game features we’ve come to expect. Collecting resources, crafting, and eating to survive. But it also adds a few new gimmicks that I found interesting. For example, pirate NPC’s can be captured and enslaved. Tribes will have chiefs and all tribal actions will be documented by their village totems. Players can climb trees to hide from and spy on enemies. These minor game mechanics add an interesting dynamic to the genre.
In addition to the smooth character animations featured in the game trailer, New Dawn also promises an advanced AI for its antagonists. Pirates learn and adapt through their encounters with the natives. They will learn to defend against repeated attacks and sneak in to loot valuables. A far cry from the feral animals or zombies of most games.
What Goes Around Comes Around
Players will also be able to adapt through their interactions with NPCs. Initially, only primitive weapons are available for crafting. Over time however, the tribes will gain access to more advanced weapons brought by their enemies.
As with any game that is based so heavily on interpretations of Native culture, the game takes certain liberties. Still, being able to play as an indigenous people defending your land from bloodthirsty usurpers is a welcome change of pace. Survival is hard enough without having to struggle with moral issues. At least in New Dawn, I’m fairly confident I’m fighting for the right side.