“This ain’t your grandpa’s Asteroids,” I wish the creature wrapped in the flesh of Atari would hiss. Sadly not. That’s the kind of line I’d like when a classic game becomes something so very, very modern. And what way to reinterpret the vintage space shoot ’em up could be any more modern than a multiplayer sandbox survival game? That’s Asteroids: Outpost [official site], you guys, and it has launched in that thoroughly modern manner: onto Steam Early Access.
“Welcome to the new gold rush” is its wholly unironic slogan. Oh, go on, that’ll do. Atari are only getting started with weird takes on old games too.
Rather than explain at great comedic length the parts Asteroids: Outpost removes from Asteroids, I’ll skip to telling you what it keeps: it has asteroids, in that it’s set on an asteroid and also you can build turrets to shoot showers of other, smaller asteroids raining over yours. Beyond that, it’s a multiplayer survival sandbox with mining and crafting and building and killing and looting.
It’s £16.49 right now on Steam but that’ll go up to £24.99 in a week, which seems expensive.
Atari chief operating officer Todd Shallbetter called Outpost “part of our new strategy” in today’s launch announcement.
“We are going to be teaming up with young and innovative studios to take a refreshing look at each game from our extensive portfolio,” he said. “Releasing Asteroids: Outpost through the Early Access program will also help us get feedback from the community. Asteroids is the first of a long series of re-births, and we are considering doing the same for our other iconic games such as Warlords, Adventure, Tempest, Missile Command and many more.” Oh dear.
Tempest, of course, is the game Atari are giving Jeff Minter grief over. He says Atari are leaning on him over his arcade shooter TxK, with the publishers claiming it’s ripping off Tempest 2000, so he’s scrapped the PC port.