Astroneer [official site] caught my eye at… GDC? Yes, it was GDC, earlier this year. It’s a kind of planetary potterer where you bimble around doing space exploration and terrain reshaping as you search for crafting/trading resources. I remember I rather liked the polygonal art style and figured I’d probably end up with a bulging screenshot folder when I got to playing it. It looks like my screenshots folder should start preparing itself as Astroneers is popping onto Early Access this Friday, 16 December.
This is something which got announced earlier in the year but which I’d forgotten because CHRISTMAS THINGS! until a dev update landed somewhere in my newsfeeds.
You can see what I mean about the art style and the terrain deforming/reforming in the trailer above, as well as some bits of the crafting. I particularly like that it seems to be pushing a co-operative attitude as well, so you can do space-mucking about with your space-friends online or in local multiplayer.
Here’s the space-blurb:
“[Astroneer] places players in a 25th century gold rush where they explore the frontiers of outer space, risking their lives and resources in harsh environments for the chance of striking it rich. Resources extracted from planets, asteroids, and moons can be traded with friends or crafted into new tools, vehicles, and modules. Environments are procedurally generated in a uniquely rendered voxel engine, featuring a textureless aesthetic that allows players to deform and shape the terrain as though it were made of Play-Doh.”
Obvs all the usual Early Access space-caveats apply and will apply for a whole bunch of time. After all, the devs at System Era explain that they are aiming to keep the game in Early Access for a year or two while they work towards a full release. For the moment it looks like the version to be released on 16 December will be about the main five pillars of the game and how they form the resource-based gameplay loop – so, “discovery”, “traversal”, “excavation”, “transportation” and “transformation”. Devspeak for bimbling and pottering, essentially.
It’ll be available on the tiny, obscure game platform, Steam, as well as in game preview format on Xbone and Windows 10. I think that’s basically the same as Steam Early Access but you have to remember your Windows login details and for me that’s quite the palaver.
I also now have this stuck in my head: