Hyper Universe is a game that I’m rather fond of. I put several dozen hours into the Korean version of the game, largely because its restricted aiming and movement, which resemble that of classic side-scrolling arcade games, is enough on its own to make the traditional MOBA formula feel fresh. There are different considerations when engaging enemies in combat, as your only options for escape are to move side-to-side or find a ladder; even ladders aren’t entirely safe, as you can be knocked off of them.
I’ve been rather excited about the fact that the game is being brought to the West, but today’s news concerns me. Nexon America has announced that the game will be entering paid Early Access on August 24th, launching at $15.99 and temporarily discounted 38% for the week of release. Early Access players will be given a Founder’s Pack of some sort to reward them for buying into Early Access, but the details of said Founder’s Pack have yet to be announced. Additionally, progress made during Early Access will not be wiped.
In terms of content, the game will launch with 28 Hypers—the press release states that 24 of these are “given,” meaning that Early Access players will automatically have access to them, while another 4 can be earned. The game will feature controller support, in addition to support for playing with a keyboard.
The reason that this concerns me is that, unlike Nexon’s previous Early Access effort and contender for longest game title ever, Ghost In the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault Online, Hyper Universe is already available in Korea as a free-to-play game, having entered Open Beta almost a year ago. Given that it is still in Open Beta, I could very well understand the Open Beta designation, but it seems odd to launch the game as a paid title. Moreover, the MOBA market is crowded as is and is largely built on free-to-play games, which leaves me skeptical that launching as a paid Early Access title will pan out. At the very least, if you do indeed get to keep all of the Hypers that are given to you after Early Access, it is a rather good deal, as Hypers are approximately $10 each in the Korean version of the game.
Hyper Universe is set to launch on Steam Early Access on August 24th for $15.99.