Whether deep under-mountain or out in the void of space, Dwarves are one of the most stable of fantasy archetypes. They love their drink, they love their gems, and when given the chance they’ll always dig too greedily and too deep. You’ll get to do all of this in upcoming co-op shooter/mining expedition Deep Rock Galactic, which looks to blend Minecraft-ish spelunking with Left 4 Dead style procedural combat encounters, all wrapped up in a neat semi-low-fi art style.
While the final release of the game is still some ways off, developers Ghost Ship Games will be opening throwing open its doors to brave bearded pioneers later this month, with the first public build available via Steam Early Access on February 28th.
Deep Rock Galactic promises a co-op experience built for replay value. Thanks to the texture-lite art style, generating convincing looking cave networks is made somewhat easier, and as such every expedition will worm its way through a set of entirely new caves and tunnels in search of gems and metals to extract back to the surface. Being both in space and deep underground, light is at a premium, meaning that outside of a narrow cone of visibility granted by your flashlight you’ll have to light your way step by step, which is where the class system comes in.
Each player is able to do a little bit of everything, but also has a distinct specialization. The Gunner does what it says on the tin; he guns things, presumably with guns and it’s safe to assume that he’s the fella with the enormous rotary-barreled auto-cannon. The Scout is much less heavily equipped but looks to move at a fair clip, and carries flares to light the way. The Driller lugs around a heavy mining rig that lets him practically swim through stone, and the Engineer can deploy turrets and other fortifications to hold off the cranky space-bugs that aren’t taking too kindly to you drilling extra ventilation into their homes.
Levels look to be very vertically oriented, and players can use grappling hooks and ziplines to make these spaces more navigable, giving it a simultaneously liberating and claustrophobic feel. Deep Rock Galactic has been in closed alpha testing for a while now, and the feedback from the first wave of players looks positive, from what I can find of it. You can play the game solo if you so wish, but you’ll be going it entirely alone with no AI buddies for help (outside of your robotic pack-mule), so unless there’s a vast upswing in the number of players on Early Access day, expect to bring your own buddies, if any.
The Space Hulk-esque expedition is due to launch on February 28th, and you can keep an eye on the launch on Steam here. No price has been announced yet, so far as I can find with a casual googling, so we’re just going to have to wait and see on that point.