As a contestant in the deadly game of The Culling, you must explore, scavenge items, craft weapons, and build traps that will enable you to slay your fellow contestants and emerge victorious before the end of the round. Only with cunning, skill, and a little luck will you be able to prevail and survive the match.
Unlike add-on modes in open-world survival games, The Culling redefines the battle royale genre by providing a tightly focused stand-alone experience that delivers incredible thrills and endless story-worthy moments.
Features at Early Access Launch
The core of The Culling is an online 16-player battle royale, played solo or in teams of two. Matches last approximately 20 minutes, with deadly poison gas slowly constricting the arena in the final stages. The winning player (or team) is the last left alive.
With no respawning on death, you have to make every action count. Play too cautiously and you won’t be prepared for the final clash at the end of the match, too aggressively and you might not make it past the first few minutes.
Weapons and Combat
The Culling focuses heavily on melee combat. Use jabs, charged swings, blocks, and shoves in a system that’s simple learn, but requires practice to truly master.
There are 24 melee weapons in the form of blades, axes, bludgeons, and spears. There are multiple tiers of weapons, which deal different levels of damage, from the lowly crafted stone knife to the mighty Katana. Different weapons types also apply different wounds, which factors into combat strategy. All melee weapons can be thrown, adding the potential for ranged combat in any encounter.
There is also a variety of ranged weapons, including bows, blowguns, and even highly-coveted firearms. A gun isn’t a guaranteed kill, however, as ammunition is in short supply and ranged players can be disarmed by melee strikes if they don’t keep their distance.
Players who thrive on outwitting their enemies can sample from a collection of traps in the form of snares, mines, remote-detonated explosives, caltrops, and punji sticks. Matches are fast-paced, so sneaky players must lay their traps in hot spots (such as near an airdrop landing pad) or use themselves as bait to lure opponents in.
A wide range of utility items is at your disposal, with everything from backpacks to smoke bombs, run speed stims to stun guns, player tracking devices to bandages. You start each match empty-handed, so you must explore to survive. Inventory space is extremely limited, forcing you to think carefully about how you intend to play and what you want to carry.
The Culling utilizes a unique crafting system that is very simple to use (no bulky UI-heavy inventory management) but still offers a wide range of recipes. Players can craft rudimentary weapons, a wide range of traps, and a handful of useful items, including bandages, satchels, and even body armor.
Each contestant chooses 3 perks before the start of a match. There are dozens of perks available, and they range from combat bonuses (increase the duration of bleed wounds you apply with blade weapons) to crafting skills (reduce your trap placement time), to general utility (begin the match with a tracking device in your inventory).
All of the perks are available to all players from the start with no unlocking required. You can use perks to define and enhance your personal play style, whether it be focused on ranged, melee, or trap-based strategy. Advanced players will find helpful synergies between their perk load-out and their airdrop selection.
Players select a personal airdrop to call in during the match. Air drops are deadly care packages containing a predefined variety of weapons, traps and items. Be careful, because calling in an airdrop draws attention to you and can be stolen by other players (especially if they manage to shoot it out of the sky before it arrives).
New airdrops are unlocked by opening the container, so finding a random airdrop during a match or stealing another player’s airdrop will unlock it in your list.
Game Show Events
The Culling is the most popular game show in the history of the world, and for good reason. The show’s producers have devised events that take place at random during the match. If you choose to participate in these events, the rewards can improve your chances of winning, but don’t be surprised when other players arrive to challenge you.
Flexible Universal Nano-Compound, or FUNC, serves as the primary in-game currency. You spend FUNC to craft, call in personal airdrops, and open certain types of item chests. FUNC is gained through combat and exploration.
Players start the game with a variety of hairstyles, tops, pants, and skin tones at their disposal. Through playing matches, new customization items can be unlocked. There are over 100 items available to unlock, with many more planned.
The Culling places a heavy gameplay emphasis on audio. Making noise by sprinting through the jungle crafting items, slamming doors, and engaging in combat will draw the attention of other players far and wide.
Using audio cues to locate opponents and using the crouch mode to conceal your movements add tremendously to the game’s suspense and immersion.
The Culling ships with one map set on a tropical island. The map size has been carefully tuned to provide just enough space for 16 contestants, but also to ensure than no one is safe for long. The map is populated with landmarks, buildings (full of lockers and crates containing items), hidden caches, and hazards.
Many of these elements are random, meaning map knowledge is important, but offers no guarantees. When the match starts, you can choose to immediately set about crafting some basic survival tools, or sprint to the nearest building in the hopes that it will contain valuable items.
Tutorials and Offline Training Mode
The Culling can be intimidating for new players, so we’ve included basic and advanced tutorials that will help you learn all of the game’s mechanics.
If you’re still not ready to face players online, there is an offline practice mode against basic AI-controlled bots that will allow you to practice in a low-pressure situation.
No contestant leaves a match of The Culling empty-handed. Cosmetic items (hats, hair styles, shirts, and pants) are awarded at the end of each round, with rarer items rewarded for better performance. These items are tradeable on the Steam Market.