Building the next generation of online games

Challenging the limitations of video games by redefining what a game engine is

In the past 10 years, online games haven’t changed that much. There are indeed more users now with a strong mobile presence. We now have a Battle Royale genre. AR and VR are trying to bring something new to the industry. But if we look at Twitch data and see what’s actually hot, most games are staying the same. We have Fortnite at the top of the pyramid followed somewhat predictably by League of Legends, and then Blizzard’s, EA’s, Rockstar’s, and Valve’s games. Many new titles spike high at first but are then forgotten, just like movies. But mostly, the industry is stable and highly predictable.

We’re running out of ideas

Over the decades of game development, we have been able to define most of the game genres to a point where creating something new, fresh, and completely different is a rarity. Better graphics continue to be the main source of “innovation”, as we keep creating new expansions and chapters for existing games. We have maxed out the game design aspect of video games, leaving limited room for creative originality.

How games are made

The traditional way of building online games is to create virtual worlds and allow people to do things that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to do in the real world. This can go two ways, where either everything is imaginable, so the whole world is like a “parallel” universe, like World of Warcraft —or it’s a simulation, like Gran Turismo, or Ghost Recon.

Many perks, one big flaw

From a multiplayer perspective, simulations connect people all over the world like never before. They create excitement and fun for gamers thousands of miles apart. If we look at lore and storytelling, simulations are the books of the 21st century, allowing people to explore stories dynamically. But simulations will always stay simulations. While having many perks and allowing users to create new worlds without limits, the biggest flaw of video games is that they have no real impact.

The immersiveness of reality

Let’s face it: achieving something basic in the real world is often more exciting than doing something epic in a video game. Cutting a tree in the real world can bring a feeling of hard work and achievement, while mining an asteroid with a spaceship in EVE-online can seem boringly routine in just a couple of hours. Humans can always emotionally connect to a real-world interaction or happening. In the simulated reality, however, our emotions are limited as a result of knowing that everything we’re experiencing just isn’t real.

Can games be more than simulations?

But what if online games were more than just simulations? What if an action inside the game had a real-world impact? What if the real world is what defines the limit of games?

On a mission to explore

By flipping the script of how online games are made, we want to build the most realistic online games the world has seen. At Surrogate, we’re questioning the de facto merits of game realism by focusing on latency, robotics, and autonomy, instead of graphics and physics. We’re building something fresh and completely different, and we can’t wait to tell you more in the coming months.

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