Space Ghosts: Zero-G Exploration In Adr1ft

IGN has some new footage of Adr1ft [official site], Three One Zero’s first person space-explorer aboard a damaged space station. “Damaged” in that it seems to have been ripped to pieces. It’s an interesting take on the usual spook-’em-up formula in that, so far at least, all the danger and destruction is non-sentient. It’s scary not because of a mysterious force or supernatural element but because everything’s fucked.

I love the claustrophobic in-helmet perspective and how the breathing changes as oxygen gets lower. It’s very human, taking the usually unassailable, non-reactive player avatar and making them obviously scared and vulnerable. Look at how they react when bumping into objects and, uh, dead bodies – shock, it hurts and it blanks your control for a moment as they blink. Details like that unnerve as good if not better than a face in the mirror or screaming ghost.

The eventual goal is to repair the escape vehicle and make it to the big green and blue one in relative safety. Other details are, as you’d expect from something so focused on discovery, scarce. It’s on Oculus naturally and I’ve an inkling that the infinite oblivion of deep space is going to prove far more terrifying than monsters in VR. Release is scheduled for this year.

37 Comments

  1. Shadowcat says:

    Adrunft?

  2. Amstrad says:

    Grav1ty?

  3. airmikee says:

    Terr1fy1ng?

  4. Kaben says:

    As long as we dont have an NPC character making frustratingly stupid decisions voiced by Sandra Bullock, this could be a very cool game.

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    phuzz says:

    I am very glad that floaty in space explore-em-ups are becoming a thing this year :)

  6. Ansob says:

    That looks really good.

    As a side note, can people stop aliens, monsters and killer AI in sci-fi games, please? We need more games that are just focused on how horribly hostile and terrifying space is. More games like this instead. Thanks.

    • Perjoss says:

      But freezing temperatures and lack of food and oxygen doesn’t look as cool in screenshots as aliens and monsters do

      • zentropy says:

        Lack of oxygen certainly doesn’t seem to be a problem, according to the video above.

  7. Muzman says:

    This game is the one I wanted when I saw those bits of Dead Space 2. Cut the rest off and make the hopping around the smashed ship/space station game.

    Two small things; the oxygen mechanic looks irritating. Get a suit with more than a minute of air. And 2) you seem to have surprising control over yourself, not having to kick off walls etc to go anywhere. Seems odd.

    But anyway, looks cool.

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      laiwm says:

      Yeah the oxygen mechanic looks really annoying, hopefully it becomes less urgent as the game goes on because it looks like a really fun place to just drift around and stare out the windows. Kinda feels like they felt the need to add a fail state so it wouldn’t get labelled a not-game.

      I assume the suit has something like the real-life SAFER pack for getting around – making a game where you navigate in zero-g using handholds etc would, IMO, require a level of body awareness that games just can’t do yet.

      • LionsPhil says:

        SAFER only gives about 3m/s dV, though. You’d think that’d be the kind of thing they want to feed into “space is terrifying”: you’ve only got a little bit of scope recovery if you manage to become untethered, otherwise you get to float uselessly next to your ship/station with no way to reach it.

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          laiwm says:

          Exactly – weird that their jetpacks are so advanced but oxygen storage seems to have regressed. Reminds me of FEAR’s 10-second flashlight. If any resource needs to be rationed, SAFER seems like a great candidate – you could effectively use it to gate off some areas (which seems to be the oxygen ration’s only purpose in the demo) without putting constant pressure on the player.

          • Shadowcat says:

            I conclude that they’re using oxygen for propulsion.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            One award for Mr Shadowcat please

          • Matt_Ceb says:

            Even if they DO use O² for propulsion, there should be a way (perhaps involving some duct tape and piece of synthetic rope) to carry around some refill-units, instead of just grabbing and disposing of them as they float along.

            This is pretty much one of those cool-sounding style/atmosphere decision that kind of breaks immersion by assuming a focused-blindspot/focused-idiot protagonist. :-/

  8. Hunchback says:

    I thought were over putting numbers in words to replace letters, to produce “cool” names… ?

  9. BrickedKeyboard says:

    I want to dislike it. It’s essentially just a walking simulator – you float from section to section of a premade level and have to listen to audio logs. The game frequently takes control away from the player to show animations.

    But the actress they picked for the astronauts breathing. Wow. Somehow, that simple mechanic – hearing her breathing and the way the game renders the helmet HUD as if your perspective were trapped in a real helmet – is actually pretty freaking scary.

    I mean, it’s absurd and bollocks. Running out of air in space can happen but it’s not very likely, at least not this stupidly fast. And there’s air bottles everywhere – you can tell the devs who made this video purposefully only grabbed the minimum number of air bottles they could in order to showcase the breathing mechanic.

    I have to say, it’s pretty good. With that said, it would be nice if there were more interesting things blocking the player’s progression than merely clicking on air bottles that have flashing beacons on them.

    • thedosbox says:

      Wow, that’s pretty impressive fortune telling based on nine minutes of non-spoilery footage.

  10. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Looks good. Yes the 1 minute of oxygen thing is pants, sort of like the 10 second torch batteries we know and love, but in the DK2 this could be pretty cool.

  11. mikmanner says:

    th3 gr4ph1c5 4r3 4m4z1ng

  12. karnak says:

    Something about this video reminded me of the time spent on “System Shock 2”.

  13. tehfish says:

    Looks amazing, as long as they tone down the oxygen usage to a sane level at least :)

    This also shows a classic example of why games need the v-sync option, the screen-tearing is horrendous in that video

  14. GameCat says:

    Another “walking” simulator with story presented through audiologs/narration.

    I feel like this subgenre is already milked to death. For me it became as cheap and formulaic as jumpscares in horror games.

    • Geebs says:

      The alternative was having newspapers repeatedly swoop in and plaster themselves to your helmet visor until the revs were sure you’d read every last line of their carefully-tuned prose.

      Come to think of it, I wonder why nobody’s come up with a virtual reality game where, as in The Diamond Age, you can get infected with viral advertisements that play constantly in the central vision of one eye until your character tops themselves out of sheer irritation.

    • Jeroen D Stout says:

      It’s as milked out as words-on-a-page are milked out.

  15. WeltEnSTurm says:

    It doesn’t look like something I’d want to play. None of the details fit. For one, who scatters their diary onto so many devices? And I doubt space suits need to be refilled every minute.
    Is she in vacuum? If so, why do the plants look so healthy? Even if not, a tree wouldn’t survive for long if you took him out of soil and let his roots be bombarded by sunlight.
    Also, the equalizer is just random bullshit bars.

    • KevinLew says:

      I find it pretty amazing that people want to complain so much about this game when other games (especially the zombie genre) rely on completely illogical science to work, and the suspension of disbelief is mandatory.

      The impression that I get from the video is that you were probably in your space suit *prior* to a sudden and catastrophic accident that caused a rapid decompression of the interior space station. As a result, your oxygen reserves are limited because you weren’t supposed to be in space that long. I get the impression that the oxygen canisters that the person is picking up are more like a last-ditch move, and they are not really designed for astronaut use. As for the plants, since the accident *just happened*, the plants wouldn’t have time to wither and brown in that short of a period of time. You could easily take a houseplant and throw it into a swimming pool for an hour and it would not change in appearance.

      I suspect that this trailer is not really representative of the final game. Otherwise your whole game is about running from location to location, following the trail of oxygen canisters like bread crumbs. I suspect the developer thought that having a time constraint or sense of urgency would make the trailer more exciting. If this is how the actual game will operate, then Ad1ft is going to bomb horribly.

      In all seriousness, I always wondered why people never complained about the Metro games, which uses the *exact same mechanic* when you go above ground. It puts you in a strange environment which you’d want to explore, but you have only three minutes before you choke to death. Even better, you’ll probably have to fight soldiers while still on this arbitrary time limit. So you run around, looking for mask filters scattered like bread crumbs, killing dudes along the way.

  16. BirdsUseStars says:

    This looks really cool to me, but by the third diary entry of this guy moping about his crummy relationship I was ready to shove pencils in my ears.

  17. April March says:

    Looks pretty great, but I’m not sure if a dangerous environment and ragged breathing are enough to call something an horror game. It’s about as much horror as Resident Evil 4. (Oh, the holes I dig myself in.)

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    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    The sequel with be called 2ubmerged

  19. tonicer says:

    So in 2037 your spacesuit has just a couple of minutes of oxygen? Not very immersive if i might say so.

    Imagine an ISS crew-member has to do an EVA with that tiny amount of oxygen. They could never accomplish anything.