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Here’s how Exoborne plans to stand out in a sea of extraction shooters

Upcoming extraction shooter Exoborne is set to face some stiff competition in an ever-growing genre, but Sharkmob is armed with a plan.

Exoborne: A split image showing a man in a futuristic exo suit and a wide shot of three people looking out over a stormy apocalyptic landscape

Three or four years ago, you could count on one hand how many extraction shooter experiences there were for players to enjoy. That’s not the case any more. Not only are there now a lot more extraction games and modes to choose from, but there is a very long queue of in-development newcomers wanting a slice of the action. Exoborne is one of them, and we’ve been chatting to developer Sharkmob at GDC in San Francisco to find out how this intriguing, elemental extraction shooter is planning to stand out in an ever-expanding crowd.

The extraction genre certainly looks ready to take the baton off of the best battle royale games when it comes to being the next big trend in competitive multiplayer gaming. The slate of upcoming extraction shooters that Exoborne finds itself in is pretty stacked – the likes of Arc Raiders from The Finals developer Embark Studios, Bungie’s Marathon, and Ubisoft’s The Division Heartlands are just some of the big names.

Despite there being so many new PS5 games and new Xbox games on the way that offer fans an extraction experience, Sharkmob is confident it can not only attract existing fans of the genre to Exoborne, but less-experienced players too.

“The approachability [of Exoborne], that’s a huge part of it,” executive producer Brynley Gibson tells us. “We think that’s really lacking in the genre. And we think this is a way of bringing many more players into the game. We actually have our user testing lab on site, and we test every week with [different groups of] players.

“Sometimes we test with just pure Escape From Tarkov players, and they’ll go ‘I could play this with my friends, because they never want to play Tarkov’. But also, we’re [testing] with more broader shooter players who can sort of say ‘okay, I bounced off Tarkov, I could see myself playing that’. So approachability I think is huge.”

Gibson adds that Exoborne’s two main “stars” of the show will also help make the game stand out: the exo-rigs that you wear, and the extreme weather conditions that occur in-game, both of which were flaunted in the its announcement trailer late last year.

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According to chief marketing and communications officer Martin Hultberg, who is also a co-founder of Sharkmob, the studio is actually relishing the competition and the crowded market Exoborne is looking to enter – mainly because it has sailed through similar waters already.

“I think everyone sees the potential of this genre,” Hultberg says. “That’s by no means a secret. But a lot of people are trying to crack that nut. We’ve seen this before with battle royales, and we were in that race as well with [Vampire: the Masquerade] Bloodhunt. So we’ve gone through a cycle of this already in a way.

“But the interesting thing is, even if there are other games coming out, you can’t guarantee which one of them actually cracks the formula? So you’re in a race – racing is fun. Competing is fun. And high-risk, high-reward is exceedingly fun. So I think for us, it’s a fantastic opportunity and very interesting challenge.”

It’s great to see that Sharkmob’s determination to create standout, unique multiplayer games hasn’t been knocked following its decision last year to end development on Bloodhunt roughly 12 months after it launched. We thought Bloodhunt was really great and had some dynamic twists on the battle royale formula that the likes of PUBG, Warzone, and Fornite weren’t offering at that time. But there’s no escaping that it got shouldered to one side by the big titans of the genre.

Exoborne: A soldier wearing an exosuit fires a weapon as a battle rages behind him

Exoborne is definitely a ‘take two’ situation for Sharkmob, and we can’t wait to see how it fairs when it comes to PlayStation and Xbox consoles in the future. Keep your eyes peeled for more insight from Gibson and Hultberg, plus our own thoughts on Exoborne, over the coming days. There’s also plenty more GDC coverage on a host of other games to come as well.

For more shooter news, find out why a massive tracking bug could lead to the Helldivers 2 community’s biggest defeat yet, and get a first official look at the first-person mode that’s coming to Fortnite later this year.

Interview conducted at GDC by Aaron Down.