Corepunk is an upcoming open-world, top-down MMORPG from developers Artificial Core. The game was officially announced in December 2019, with an announcement trailer posted on the game’s official Youtube channel. As of 2022, the game has only been announced for PC.
The game is set in an open world with a futuristic, sci-fi setting. IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey has described the game as “Part Cyberpunk, Part Diablo, and Part Ultima Online“.
The game will also feature a fog-of-war element in its gameplay, requiring players to take extra consideration when navigating the game’s seamless open world.
Artificial Core is a video game developer and publisher, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The studio’s core development studio is located in Kyiv, Ukraine. The studio also has active offices in Athens. Greece. as well as Los Angeles, California.
The studio was founded in 2019 and had been continually working on its debut project, Corepunk, for the past few years.
In March 2022, Artificial Core’s development studio based in Kyiv got caught in the crossfire by invading Russian forces in Ukraine.
A few weeks after the initial invasion, the studio released a statement concerning its staff. The studio stated, “most of our team is safe in Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Austria, and Norway: we have active offices in Athens and Amsterdam.”
The studio further added that while part of the team is in Western Ukraine, there were still members of the team that are in Central Ukraine, where most of the conflict is located.
The studio admits that for a while that “we were in emergency mode…”. However, the studio remains steadfast in the development of Corepunk, concluding “Don’t worry about Corepunk. We’re continuing our work, and the game is going to be great”, further adding “Life is unpredictable, but you give it your all and you carry on”.
Development and Release
According to the studio’s official website, the development team has been working on Corepunk “for the last five years”. This means that the game started development soon after the studio was founded.
According to the game’s official FAQ page, the game will have stages of closed beta testing before the actual release. As of 2022, no official release date has been announced for Corepunk.
The game’s planned beta testing has been repeatedly delayed over the years. The original schedule for the beta was intended for the tail end of 2020.
This has been postponed several times since then, with the conflict in Ukraine being the latest hurdle to the game’s development.
The latest update came from an official post in the game’s forum, with the studio maintaining a target for closed beta testing at the end of 2022.
Considering that the game is currently in late-stage alpha testing, it is safe to assume that its full release is still at least a few years away.
Setting and Gameplay
The game’s announcement trailer revealed much of the game’s setting, atmosphere, and gameplay mechanics in broad detail. Much of the game’s setting reflects those of a cyberpunk variety, with a heavy dose of futuristic technology alongside dark fantasy elements.
From the trailer, Corepunk at its foundation is an action top-down isometric MMORPG, where players can engage either in PvE or PvP battles, gradually earning experience and abilities.
Corepunk is said to feature a “seamless open world with miles of wilderness to get lost in….”. One of Corepunk‘s touted features is its fog-of-war elements. Fog-of-War refers to uncertainty in situational awareness individuals face during perilous situations. In gaming terms, this refers to how much information players have access to while playing the game.
A good example in a video game context would be Warcraft, where certain terrain and/or enemies are only revealed when players engage in reconnaissance. In Corepunk, this makes exploration more tense and satisfying, as it creates intrigue and anticipation for what lies ahead. This also extends to combat, where players can set up ambushes (or be ambushed) within hostile environments.
Corepunk’s combat system will feature multiple unique fighting styles and abilities, with each character having its own weapon specialization and appearance customization. On the game’s official FAQ page, the developers describe the combat as “responsive with tactical elements made possible by fog-of-war and the surrounding environment.”
In an interview with IGN, producer Eugene Kiver stated that Corepunk’s design came as a counterpoint to current trends within the MMO genre. “That’s a problem with modern MMOs – too little high-end content”. Kiver claims most modern MMOs focus on session-based gameplay, instead of allowing players to properly roam and discover at their leisure. Corepunk allows players to do exactly that, the freedom to interact and engage with world without having to commit to individual sessions of play.
“Basically, 40% of our game is for you to get to the cap level. and after that 60% of the game is high-level content”, Kiver states. The open-world structure of the game will offer players a plethora of activities one may expect from any modern MMO. PvE or PvP battles, crafting or mining, quests, dungeons, guilds, etc.
The Future of Corepunk
After a series of unfortunate delays, many MMORPG enthusiasts feared that Corepunk would end up canceled. MMORPGs are a dime a dozen nowadays, with many developers hoping to stumble across a unique feature and/or setting that set their game apart from the rest. Corepunk sets itself apart by taking influences from MMOs of days past.
Instead of simply jumping into a session with set rules and timers, Corepunk allows players to explore the vast world they have created, saturated with activities that there is sure to be something in it for everyone.
Despite events out of its control, Absolute Core has remained positive concerning the game’s development and has shown a great amount of gratitude toward those who continue to support them.
Artificial Core’s dedication and perseverance in creating their dream MMORPG cannot be overstated, especially considering the circumstances surrounding their development team in Kyiv. This alone makes Corepunk a game MMO fans should look forward to.