KEY POINTS

  • Pac-Man is joining the battle royale genre with "Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle"
  • Up to 64 players can play in the upcoming battle royale game
  • The concept behind the new Pac-Man game is essentially the same

As Pac-Man celebrates its 40th year in 2020, the character created by Toru Iwatani is going to see itself debuting in “Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle,” a battle royale game that up to 64 players can simultaneously play.

Developed by Bandai Namco and Heavy Iron Studios, the new title is already playable in demo form on Google Stadia. It will also be released first on Google’s cloud-based gaming service on Nov. 17 for $19.99, Polygon reported. The limited time demo is currently available to play until Oct. 27.  

In 2011, before battle royale games were in vogue, four players could compete against each other in “Pac-Man Battle Royale,” which was released in arcades. "Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle" is completely different though and is more akin to the recently released “Super Mario Bros. 35.”

In “Super Mario Bros. 35,” up to 35 players can play through a level at the same time and players can select which opponents their defeated enemies will attack. It was released as a free-to-download game for members of Nintendo Switch Online and will remain playable until Mar. 31, 2021.

For its part, “Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle” will challenge players across 64 interconnected mazes until only one Pac-Man is left standing. It will introduce new power-ups while spectator mode will let viewers vote on which power-ups the competitors will get access to during play, per Eurogamer.

The title will have two distinct play modes and players will be allowed to customize their Pac-People through various cosmetic options. To raise the stakes even further, players will be allowed to invade other players' mazes, eat their dots and power-ups, and dominate the mazes.

The concept of Pac-Man has stayed essentially the same for the past four decades. The round-shaped Pac-Man appears in the middle of a maze and munches down on dots scattered all around it until none are left before moving to the next maze. Four ghosts chase Pac-Man down, however, and their touch is lethal.

To combat the ghosts, four power pellets can be found in the corners of each maze. Digesting a power pellet gives Pac-Man the temporary ability to eat the ghosts. Digesting more ghosts in succession means more points but after they are digested, the ghosts regenerate to resume their chase of Pac-Man.

It is a formula that has spawned several game sequels, an animated series in the 1980s, countless merchandise bearing Pac-Man’s likeness, and pop culture fame that few other video games have been able to duplicate. The character remains the mascot and flagship icon of Bandai Namco Entertainment.

From humble beginnings, Pac-Man became the most successful video game of all time From humble beginnings, Pac-Man became the most successful video game of all time Photo: AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND