Off The Grid: Neill Blomkamp shares details on “unique” battle royale from Gunzilla Games

. 1 month ago
An image of filmmaker Neill Blomkamp
Gunzilla Games

Neill Blomkamp is one of this generation’s finest sci-fi filmmakers, but his latest venture with Gunzilla Games has him fuelling the chaos of Off The Grid, a brand new battle royale experience. 

We had the chance to sit down with Neill Blomkamp to talk about Off The Grid, a new contender entering the battle royale genre from Gunzilla Games. Blomkamp, who has helmed sci-fi favorites such as District 9 and Elysium, is no stranger to the world of 3D creation.

Joining Gunzilla Games as their Chief Visionary Officer back in July 2021, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter gave us an insight into the world of Off The Grid, before it releases in 2023 for next-gen consoles and PC.

An image of Off The Grid from Gunzilla Games
Gunzilla Games
Off The Grid is billed as a “narrative-driven” title within the battle royale genre.

I’ve been interested in games for a long time,” says Blomkamp as he explains his “history in 3D graphics.” While he has a passion for the ever-evolving world of VFX, Blomkamp admits “I wouldn’t necessarily say like I’m an avid gamer.”

I’m someone who appreciates the artistry of building 3D environments and 3D characters. Lighting them and dropping the characters into these 3D spaces and then seeing how they interact with the world.”

Having directed multi-million dollar blockbusters, the skillset transition from filmmaking to game development isn’t as steep as some may think.

“If it‘s a science fiction film, you’re probably building the world and there’s a lot of common skillsets. I think that they just carry over for directors, from making films to making games and fleshing out the world. I’ve always been interested in trying to do games” Blomkamp explains. I just needed the right opportunity to kind of start doing it, which is what’s happened with Gunzilla and Off The Grid.”

Blomkamp working with a “veteran team” on Off The Grid

It’s no secret that the battle royale genre is saturated with heaps of competition to stand above. While Warzone and Apex Legends have forged their path, Blomkamp’s arrival into the genre was purely down to fate: “it was actually Richard Morgan, who is writing Off The Grid, he contacted me…and said, “Hey, we’re making this battle royale, do you want to be a part of it?” 

So for me as someone who wanted to get into games, it wasn’t like I was sitting around going, like, what kind of game would I make and who should I approach?”

Blomkamp says that he’s joined “a really experienced kind of veteran team” and that “it was less about me generating the core game structure and more about being approached and seeing how I could fit in.”

Off The Grid has been described as “battle royale 2.0” by Gunzilla Games, with a “narrative-driven” hook at its core. “It really is about a battle royale, so those elements of gameplay have to just work. Players can choose to engage with the story elements or not.”

“The way that we’ll try to construct the gameplay will be battle royale first and narrative will be there in a supporting kind of supplementary way, hopefully, to expand the feeling of the world and let you meet the characters,” Blomkamp says of Off The Grid’s promising premise. 

However, it is imperative for Gunzilla Games that the story isn’t necessarily “getting in the way of the battle royale experience.”

Off The Grid has a “unique” mechanic up its sleeve

The world of Off The Grid will evolve and change over time, as player progression can “take on a life of its own, changing in unexpected ways each time a player rejoins the game.”

When asked whether he could reveal any specific examples of this, Blomkamp jokingly kept his cards close to his chest: “No, not yet.”

However, any seasoned FPS player knows the meat of the game is combat. “There is one element in the battle royale combat stuff that is very unique and very cool, which I won’t give away, but there is definitely something that is a slight tweak to battle royales that have come before, which I’m pretty excited about.”

It remains to be seen what this “unique” feature could be, but players hoping to dive into Off The Grid in VR may need to wait longer: “I love VR. I don’t think that this will necessarily port over to VR. I need to check that out with Gunzilla.”

“I’m curious what they would think about that, but that currently isn’t in the planning” adds Blomkamp on the notion of a VR port. 

an image of off the grid by gunzilla games
Gunzilla Games
Off The Grid teases a bevy of cyberpunk-style weapons to utilize in battle.

Neill Blomkamp places Off The Grid into “real-world cyberpunk”

Despite Blomkamp’s past in cyberpunk-inspired filmmaking, projects like District 9 or Elysium aren’t fuelling his inspiration for Off The Grid: ” I’m not thinking about those films. I mean it’s the same in the sense that it’s real-world cyberpunk. So you have like grungy tech that’s placed into our very real-world environments.”

“This version that he [Richard Morgan] and I are both sort of responsible for generating and bringing to life has a very serious and very large world. It has satire in it, but it’s also, it may be slightly less satire than something like Elysium.”

As Off The Grid’s release approaches, Blomkamp adds that they’re keen to explore the vast character they’re building in other mediums: “we want to go out beyond the scale of just the game.”

For now, we’ll be eagerly anticipating the first gameplay reveal. Off The Grid releases in 2023 for next-gen consoles and PC alike.

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