In what's proven to be a monster month for the multiplayer FPS, another challenger has entered the scene. The Finals, the highly destructible competitive FPS led by ex-DICE developers at Embark Studios, is running its first open beta, and the people are interested.
In its first 24 hours, The Finals beta has shot to the top 10 of Steam's most-played games, reaching a peak of 143,000 concurrent players. That number has stuck around 90,000 into the quieter workday hours in the US—pretty impressive considering every big FPS just got a new season or limited time mode.
It helps that The Finals is genuinely its own beast. At the core of its objective-based modes is a destruction engine that allows entire buildings to crumble under the weight of RPG rockets and physics. Usually destruction on this scale is impossible in a multiplayer setting because it's simply too much information to sync across every player's client, but developer Embark Studios says it's got fancy backend server tech that makes the impossible possible.
For those who participated in one of The Finals' previous playtests, there's new stuff to check out in the open beta, most notably a casual mode called "Bank It." It's similar to the marquee Cashout mode, but instead of every team fighting over the same cash vaults, players collect coins that can be banked at various points on the map to score.
I prefer Bank It over the sweatier Cashout mode so far, but my biggest hurdle in The Finals right now is server stability. The open beta's explosive popularity took Embark Studios by surprise, so much that the studio had to issue a temporary login queue to handle the demand. I'm finding matches relatively quickly, but it's been shaky. The game crashed on me this morning and following that crash, servers were inaccessible for around 30 minutes. Embark has been clear that the purpose of the beta is to stress its systems, not to promote the game as a "marketing beat," so I guess the last 48 hours have been a great test.
You can give open beta a try by opting into the playtest on The Finals Steam page, as well as on console with full crossplay. If you've previously had access to a playtest, the open beta should already be in your Steam library ready to download.