No Man’s Survival: The Solus Project’s Looking Good

It’s probably not fair to either game to invoke No Man’s Sky when talking about upcoming sci-fi survival offering The Solus Project [official site], but both the reddish-pink colour palette and the heavy use of tricorders (let’s not kid ourselves, eh?) does put me in mind of Hello Games’ newbie. The Solus Project is billed as a survival game, but more in the classical sense than the newer DayZ, Rust etc one. Devs Teotl Studios – who you may know from The Ball – and Grip – of Unmechanical fame – are at pains to point out it’s not a sandbox jobbie. It’s a singleplayer, linear game in which you will be attacked not by creatures, but by a hostile environment, as well has having to deal with hunger and thirst. Man, that’s easy: eat fingers, drink wee. Survivalists these days, honestly – no backbone, that’s their problem.

The game’s out early next month, and this here dev diary takes us through the key beats, focusing on how they want to create a feeling of ‘intense isolation’. There are no aliens to battle – or, at least, if there are they’re pretending otherwise for the time being – but you will get to explore a host of seemingly extraterrestrial structures while trying to figure out what’s gone on and whether there’s a way home.

Ten “large and complex environments are promised” – I can’t get a sense yet of it’s mostly a matter of managing your wellbeing while trekking across them, or if it’s going to go down the puzzle route. Fingers crossed for the former, as far as I’m concerned.

It’s due on Steam Early Access in ‘early February’. Quite fancy this as I’m a sucker for wandering across otherworlds, but pleasepleaseplease don’t let it devolve into last-act shooty-bang. I notice there is a sword in the screenie above, but hopefully it’s for harvesting weird planets rather than mutilating xenomorphs.

30 Comments

  1. mukuste says:

    I’ve been cautiously looking forward to this one for a while, it looks very interesting. Still want to play The Ball, which apparently is a kind of pseudo-prequel (or at least set in the same universe).

  2. Cinek says:

    Crow bar, sword, UFOs… I doubt it will be something without killing aliens.

    Anyway… It’s fully linear? I have a mixed feelings… if we’re in a fancy alien world with fancy tools, I would prefer if devs would open up some creativity and let you solve puzzles in more than one way.

    • savagegump says:

      Yeah I’m not sure if it’s good thing, I can understand that they want to distinguish themselves from the current vogue for fully open world sandbox survival games;- which can seem a bit like lazy design (“Let the players make their own fun…”) but the idea of fixed linear levels still isn’t really a selling point for me. That said, it depends on the execution, it looks pretty and if they can produce the atmosphere they are aiming for it could be a pretty good game.

      • Hourences says:

        Hi guys, the dev here. The crow bar is actually a secret item that exists only once in the entire game. It is more of a cult reference to HL2 to those who find it :) The sword is common but you do not actually fight with it. There are mechanisms that require a sword to operate.

        There are some who prefer open world games, some who like linear games. With the game as a whole we are going for a fairly oldschool vibe, which also means a linear progression. We also believe that will help us provide a more focused experience, especially given our team size. That being said, the outdoor levels are fairly open. You can walk around on them as you see fit.

        • ribby says:

          Well given that it’s a survival game on a desolate alien planet, if you just wandered around you’d probably not survive.

  3. Kefren says:

    “You have no choice, but to survive.” (From the video).
    I’d probably disagree with that.
    Especially after just finishing Soma (another game with a latin S title, and no other living humans nearby – only joshing, no similarity really). Sometimes, when things are bleak as Solus or Soma, not suviving is a logically considerable choice.

  4. mejoff says:

    Alec, if they have no backbone, it sounds like it’s probably because you advised them to eat it.

    • Geebs says:

      Adding insult to injury, they starved to death five minutes later.

  5. fish99 says:

    Did they just spoil half the game in the trailer?

  6. Napalm Sushi says:

    Looks like they’re going down Unreal 1’s route of broad linear levels that create the illusion of an open world.

    …Which seems in danger of becoming a lost art, so good for them (Croteam are the only other dev I can think of who’re keeping that design paradigm alive).

    • Psychomorph says:

      This is exactly why I still love Unreal 1. It felt like an open world game, but had focus, purpose and a variety of locations and moods. It was how an exploration journey game should be, with an actual journey (A to B).

      • Hourences says:

        That is exactly what we are doing. Unreal 1 was the first proper shooter with high end graphics that I played back then, and it left a lasting impression on me and my entire game development style. When I set out to create TSP, you can find that Unreal 1 homage in a lot of aspects. Besides the overall level style, and the fact that you crashed on an alien planet with temple like mostly underground buildings, the focus on dramatic colorful skies are another thing. I hope some people still remember Unreal 1, and will get a bit of the same vibe from TSP!

        • Psychomorph says:

          Awesome! Looking forward to play it.

        • Iainn says:

          This is amazing news. I have a particular soft spot for Unreal, if The Solus Project has a proper Unreal vibe to it, I’ll definitely be purchasing.

        • Razumen says:

          Sounds great, the art of creating an explorable, but still guided world is something most games have ditched in pursuit of “approach-ability”.

  7. jonfitt says:

    Bonus points if one of the adventure objectives is to “Science the shit out of it”.

  8. hughie522 says:

    Reminds me a bit of ‘Lifeless Planet’, which was basically a linear walking simulator with platformer-like jumping sections.

  9. Titus Groen says:

    Could this possibly be described as The Long Dark IN SPAAAAAAACE? Because if the answer’s yes, I’m in. I’m so in.

  10. racccoon says:

    Lets hope he learnt the techniques of how to clone from his manhood bits.

  11. Otterley says:

    Oh no, Mr. Meer, you don’t get to cross your fingers after you’ve bravely eaten them with a nice glass of your vintage wee. (and the optional fava beans)

  12. geldonyetich says:

    I love the idea of open-ended sci-fi RPGs, and making them gorgeous 3D affairs (Occulus Rift support?) with survival mechanics only sweetens the deal.

    Godspeed, Solis Project devs. Do mind you get the thousands of minute details right.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Waltorious says:

    I thought Teotl Studios made both The Ball AND Unmechanical. But googling suggests that Unmechanical was by both Teotl Studios and Grip Games (and Talawa Games). Except when I checked that a few years ago I didn’t see Grip Games mentioned. Now I am confused.

    • Hourences says:

      The Ball was developed entirely by Teotl, but had Tripwire distribute it.

      Unmechanical was developed 50/50 by Teotl and Talawa Games. Grip handled the port to the consoles and that process only began a year or so after the PC version was released.

      For TSP development is done 80/20 Teotl/Grip, and Grip handles the console launch again, while Teotl deals with the PC launch.