An Open-World Terminator Survival Game is in the Making

By Shaan Khan

Screenshot Courtesy of Nacon on YouTube

The Terminator license has a history of being passed around by video game publishers & developers banking off the franchise’s name instead of building a high-quality game.

Sadly, we haven’t seen a Terminator game given the Triple-A treatment. Perhaps the closest we’re going to get is with French publisher, Nacon, who announced at the 2022 Nacon Connect Event that they are working on an open-world, survival game set in the Terminator universe.

Who are Nacon?

Nacon is a video game publisher with many development teams under their umbrella. They are responsible for creating games for popular franchises such as Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong and Warhammer: Chaosbane.

Still, no hard-hitting titles on the calibre of triple-A games like The Last of Us or Alien Isolation—games Terminator fans could only hope that Nacon’s survival game can aspire to be.

In more disheartening news, Nacon has put the Italian development team, Nacon Studio Milan, in charge of the Terminator survival game—a studio with only one racing sim game under their belt of development called ‘Rims Racing’.

While the Italian studio hasn’t directly developed a survival game before, it’s promising to see the studio has over 20 job positions active with many stationed in Milan, Italy, to work on all aspects of the game such as Artists, Level Designers, Animators and QA Testers.

It’s a positive sign to see the team looking to vastly expand from its current 50 employees, signalling the demand to get a Terminator survival game right and appease the fans who are used to being let down.

What to Expect in Nacon’s Terminator game?

Game Engine

Based on the job listings located in Milan, there’s a clear pattern in all the job descriptions where the studio wants developers with experience using ‘Unreal’, likely referring to the Unreal Engine 5 (UE5).

This would make sense why the game is only targeted at the PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles since Unreal Engine 5 games demand high-performance hardware, with the engine specialised for the latest consoles.

Unreal Engine 5 hands the power to indie studios to create games with Triple-A prowess. UE5’s most impressive feature over other game engines is to create vast open worlds with immense detail as seen in The Matrix demo—another video game adaption of a movie that looked authentically brilliant on UE5.

Story

Now it might have the visuals, environmental detail & animations on par with The Last of Us 2, but will the story & gameplay style be anything like that game or more survival horror based like Alien: Isolation?

The story is set in the future war of the Terminator-verse timeline, involving the human faction led by John Connor against the machines made by Skynet. You will be a human player in a dystopian world where society has collapsed after nuclear bombs wiped out three billion humans with only the survivors left to fight back against the Skynet machines.

There are various terminator machines to fight with their unique attributes. Humans mostly live underground and use guerrilla warfare tactics to battle the machines.

If the story were based on the Terminator 1 & 2 timelines, the game would closely resemble an Alien: Isolation game with the slasher horror feel, trying to escape a monster in close-quatre spaces full of intense & atmospheric moments.

You still might get those Alien: Isolation moments in small pockets of the gameplay in this survival game like when looting an abandoned building, but the pacing won’t be consistent considering all-out war is underway so expect some action-packed gameplay.

Despite being an open-world survival game, it’s expected to be story-driven with a fresh storyline for Terminator fans, including cutscenes to make the game feel cinematic.

Gameplay

Screenshot Courtesy of Nacon on naconstudiomilan.com

The only visual details we have on this Terminator survival game is concept art released by Nacon to give gamers an idea of what to expect.

Verticality is apparent in the concept art, displaying an underground, ground level and skyscrapers in the distance. The map is an urban setting with clear fluidity for crossing between vertical levels without the annoying loading screens of last-gen games.

Humans are being stealthy while a terminator machine is scanning the area. The two humans are carrying a sniper rifle and shotgun, while the terminator machine seems to be carrying an advanced futuristic weapon.

You should be able to access all weapons, even unlock blueprints to craft them. A possible feature that could be included that was inspired by the movies is puzzle gameplay to hack t-800 machines and use them as minions.

If hacking, stealth and crafting are all features of this survival game, then expect RPG elements such as a skill-tree to develop your player and even character customisation.

What would you like to see in this game? Maybe the ability to play as a terminator machine? Or have Arnold Schwarzenegger make a sneaky appearance?

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