Hot Drop Into Interstellar Marines Early Access

By Craig Pearson on July 3rd, 2013 at 5:00 pm.


Zero Point’s Interstellar Marines has a perception problem. I had a look at a bunch of comments people have made about it in the various news stories we’ve posted: some people are intrigued by the promised RPG shooter that’s been inspired by Deus Ex and System Shock; others decry it as ‘generic’, and failing to live up to its promise. I can see both sides. For all their promises, all that’s really been delivered is a multiplayer shooter and bits of admittedly impressive tech. For a game announced in 2005, that’s not a huge amount of progress. It’s something that the developers address a little bit in the trailer below, with a breathless narrator mocking the lead dev’s ambitions as he pitches the game to Steam Early Access customers.

It also just popped up on my Steam account. Early Access will let you play some multiplayer matches and fiddle with some tech demos. The shooting and movement is still pretty basic, with one gun and no jump button (as far as I can tell, because the controls aren’t listed either). The gun does feel nice, and the body has a nice presence. The environmental tech impressed me: the tech demos allow you to cycle through states, changing lighting, adding fog, even plunging levels into complete darkness, lit only by lightning, flashlights, and muzzle flashes. One of the levels I had a short playthrough online did use the changing state to plunge a game of team deathmatch into darkness.

So, yes, its current state sort of fits both points of view. How annoying.

It’s not going to be the next Halo, but it might just be another Natural Selection.

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34 Comments »

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  1. BobbyDylan says:

    Bought this on their website ages ago. Waiting for my key.

    • daltoncarl says:

      Log into your account on the site and go to your profile, your steam key will be there :)

  2. Dowr says:

    Good.

    The Shark’s still in the game.

    • Syra says:

      That shark has made me want this thing since 2005, and yet, I still don’t see this game as living up to it’s potential right now. So little, way too late surely.

  3. Lev Astov says:

    I’d buy if I could have one of those shark critters as an attack pet.

  4. Tei says:

    2013 pros and cons:

    Pros:
    – They don’t have to convince people anymore or explain what its crown-sourcing.
    – They don’t have to convince anyone that Unity its a kick-ass engine for Indies.

    Cons:
    – We already played that awesome “shot the mannequin” stuff. That was seriously cool and creepy. So they have to do something else to surprise us.

    Personal notes:

    If not where for Steam, I will not even know what games I own anymore. Did I bought this one?

  5. Njordsk says:

    Shouldn’t marines be somewhat related to… water?

    Are they coming from a comet or something?

    • Leb says:

      Ask Games Workshop about that.

      edit: Ninja’d by westy

    • Syra says:

      Space ships have something to do with water ships and space faring is all about sea faring and solar sails are like sail boats and

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      bills6693 says:

      Marines should be the combat specialists of a navy. If you take a ‘navy’ to space, I guess you can take ‘marines’ to space.

      The use of the term has been somewhat warped, especially in the US where marines often have little to do with the navy, if at all, and most are just a higher-trained army.

      I would expect that these ‘interstellar marines’ are therefore the land and ship-based combat branch of the Earth Navy (or whatever it is called in this game).

      • Ratamacue says:

        Spoken like someone who doesn’t understand the mission, training, or routine deployments of the USMC at all.

        • Rindan says:

          Well thanks for clearing it up for us.

          • Ratamacue says:

            The Marine Corps’ central doctrine is still focused around expeditionary warfare. That is, deploying over long distance to conduct operations with minimal–particularly from the sea. The equipment they procure, as well as their tactical and command methodologies are all intended to maximize effectiveness in this role.

            As a matter of fact, at any given time, there are typically two or more Marine Expeditionary Units comprised of 2000+ Marines floating around the world aboard a US Navy Expeditionary Strike Groups, equipped with all of the infantry, armor, artillery, air support, and logistics they need to land and conduct combat or non-combat operations. They’re just sailing about, training in other countries, waving the flag, and waiting for a crisis to pop up. This isn’t just conducted in peacetime, but has continued throughout the last ten years of land war.

            Finally, from a purely organizational standpoint, the Marine Corps is considered its own military branch, but actually falls under the Department of the Navy. The services are so interconnected that the Corps doesn’t have its own medical personnel, but rather Navy personnel (Hospital Corpsmen, doctors, surgeons, dental, etc.) are attached to Marine units.

  6. airtekh says:

    I played a little bit of the multiplayer and had a similar experience to Craig.

    It’s pretty basic stuff at this stage, just bog standard team deathmatch, but totally playable. The player movement feels very good though, which I’d argue is critical for an FPS.

    It’s also terrifying when the lights in the level turn out – turning on your flashlight is a death sentence so the best bet is to navigate by the muzzle flash of distant panic fire.

  7. lucasdigital says:

    I’ve been following the game since about 2010, impressed by the solid concept artwork and hard-SF vibe, but I actually never got round to becoming a full supporter. Steam integration has sealed the deal, I’m in. Looking nice too. It’s still early days but I’m sure I’ll have some fun with this.

  8. CMaster says:

    So is this the 10th or 11th time they’ve come asking players for money, with “it will be ready soon guys, honest”?

    • Wedge says:

      Really, how many years has it been now? Wikipedia says the first announcement was 2005, and I know I remember it from quite a ways back. And we’re just getting… a multiplayer tech demo now? I guess they take “AAA Indie” literally, so their plan is to scale development of a AAA game with indie development resources. By that metric we just might get an actual game by 2020.

  9. grundus says:

    I’m interested by the references to Rainbow Six (as in, that they’ve said “Rainbow Six” at some point), tactical shooters are thin on the ground. Fortunately as I’m playing them on PC it doesn’t matter that some were developed when I was an adolescent, but I’d like something a little newer all the same.

    I’m a bit concerned about the shark things though. A tactical shooter where one of the tactics is to climb something quite steep and shoot at a waist-high mutant shark? Eh.

  10. dE says:

    It’s also a game that somehow manages to hide in plain sight.
    Everytime I read something about it, I make a mental note to follow it’s progress. A year later, I read about it again and remember that I wanted to remember it. Year later… but it’s also a bit unsettling to somehow not see a whole lot of progress. Doesn’t mean there isn’t any but it’s just not visible to me.

  11. sabasNL says:

    I find this looks extremely good for an indiegame.

    Could this reach the heights of Counter-Strike, Red Orchestra, and the like? Or will the game eventually die out despite being so promising and well-designed, like Nuclear Dawn and Shattered Horizon?

    Only time will well, I guess.

  12. Monkeh says:

    Always found the packs on their website to be a bit too pricey, so now was a good time for me to purchase! Really hope they can turn this into an awesome, atmospheric game. To me it seems like this could be what L4D should have been, a co-op game with open ended levels that you can approach in different ways. Probably a bit weird mentioning L4D, since they look nothing a like, but it’s my favourite first person co-op game, so there’s that.

  13. ZIGS says:

    Let’s be realistic for a second here:

    The game has been in development for 8 years, I myself have pre-ordered it 3 years go. Their “team” currently is comprised of 2 members. They want to make a massive game with RPG elements and coop.

    All they have right now is a barebones multiplayer prototype.

    This game, their original vision, is never coming out.

    • daltoncarl says:

      They recently switched to a new game engine, and working on catching back up to where they once were. why its early alpha on early access, to help fund the game and get some more devs when they have the money.

      • sneetch says:

        They switched engines to unity some time in 2010, IIRC, unless they’ve switched again? Regardless, if they have switched again then where they once were didn’t seem to be that far along. I backed this back at the start of 2011 and have seen very little happen since then.

        I urge caution for anyone considering backing it.

        Edit: 2009 they switched to Unity, that’s hardly “recently”.

  14. Astalano says:

    Anyone want a free key? I got a spare. :)

    • NooklearToaster says:

      I’d love it, but since I’m at work I’m sure someone would snag it before me. Unless you feel like dropping it in my email :D pbb533@aol.com

  15. Zombat says:

    So I can buy the full game for 12 quid, or I can spend three times as much on the deluxe edition that will include e-peen bling at a later date – uhh… nope!

    I was actually going to buy the spearhead version until Steam informed me this was actually DLC for the base game.

  16. DXN says:

    I wish them every success, but honestly I’m not sure whether I really expect it at this point. It hurts to say it but I don’t know how they’re going to pull themselves ahead of the development curve and make something actually worthwhile, at this point. It’s like watching someone trying to cycle up a nearly-vertical hill, cord-muscled and dripping with set, just about managing to avoid collapsing downward but only barely inching up the hill. As time goes on the concept, and all the work they’ve done to get to this point grow staler and weaker in comparison to the huge surge in accomplishment the industry is starting to find itself in. In 2007, it was like, sharkdogs, awesome! Hey, a demo with a really tight feel and a neat atmosphere! Now, when all it’s shaping up to be is a subtly-neat variation on what we’ve seen a million times before, plus a bunch of promises, I get less motivated.

    On the other hand there were many times I thought the same thing about another game I helped crowdfund years ago, Natural Selection 2. And there, Unknown Worlds kept sweating and struggling and hammering away at it and eventually made something damned great, with a small-ish, but dedicated and enduring community, and a gamestyle that is unique but has that special zing that you get when something’s been polished by years and years and videogame-generations of players having fun with it and connecting with the developers.

    If these guys manage to pull off the same trick, I’ll give them a standing applause and acknowledge them as true gamedev badasses, and boast proudly of how I backed it before it was cool. Here’s hoping.

  17. esoj says:

    it’s taken so long because their funding got cut and they had to layoff almost the entire dev team except for two people. Also because of the funding cut they had to change engines from unreal to unity and basically rebuild everything from scratch. More detail about that here http://steamcommunity.com/app/236370/discussions/0/864972399686185189/

    the game is indeed super early and the devs have mentioned on the steam community forums that they consider it pre-alpha. It most definitely won’t be for everyone in it’s current state but if you really want to see a game develop now is the time to jump in and see where it goes. I think more people will be interested once co-op is added I don’t know when that will be but I’m looking forward to it