Sea survival sim sandbox Raft sets sail for Steam in May

Bad shark! Down! Give? Sit...?

Subnautica is all well and good for some, but I prefer to keep my head above water as much as possible. As such, Redbeet Interactive’s Raft is a much less stressful proposition. There may be horrible sharks trying to drag you down into the briny depths, but at least you’ve got your own little wooden island to retreat to, right? Previously free and exclusive to Itch.io, the seafaring survival sandbox is set to re-launch as a commercial title on Steam Early Access this May 23rd.

Previous versions of the game didn’t cost a penny, and you can still grab the old free edition (which John reviewed and loved to bits) now. The upcoming re-release via Steam not only looks somewhat prettier, but promises a more interesting and varied world, including reefs to explore and other players to share your inevitably watery grave with. Online multiplayer will be the core defining element of the new edition, making that infinite expanse of blue a little less lonely.

Redbeet promise that their time in early access will give them the opportunity to properly expand on the game’s potential and tune things according to what the community feels works best. They’ve already got some extensive plans for the game, including treasure hunts, sunken cities, stranded ships and more horrible sea-creatures itching to take a nibble out of either you or your wobbly houseboat.

They’ve also got plans to open the game up a little to those players deathly afraid of an ignoble death at sea, nibbled on by countless fish, your skull inevitably re-purposed as a mobile home by a passing crab… That was a bit grim, sorry.

Anyhow, for those players, they’re also going to be working on a non-combative, less resource-strict Creative mode, allowing you to freely explore the oceans alone or with friends in as big or as cozy a boat as you care to build. So that’s nice.

You can still grab the old, free version of Raft on Itch.io here. The new version will exclusive to Steam as of May 23rd, and you can wishlist it now. Until then, you can also keep up with the game via the developer’s blogs on Raft’s official site here.

10 Comments

  1. Pulstar says:

    What an original concept and title!

  2. Zelos says:

    “They’ve also got plans to open the game up a little to those players deathly afraid of an ignoble death at sea, nibbled on by countless fish, your skull inevitably re-purposed as a mobile home by a passing crab… ”

    Is it actually inevitable, or can you win? I’m not really a fan of games that throw increasing hazards at you forever until you die, so this is a make or break point. Hard is good, but inevitable failure is less good.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      There is promise of a story to follow later in development, but for the time being it’s just a sandbox. Once you’re properly up to speed you’re unlikely to die. I just find the thought of being lost out in that boundless blue to be disconcerting.

    • DeepFried says:

      You say that but having a definitive win state in a survival game basically just limits how long you can play before feeling ‘done’ with the game. The best survival games consist of two challenges, A) survive B) survive as long as you can against increasing odds. (A) is only ever a challenge until you’ve mastered the mechanics, so if you take away (B) by having a definitive win state, then there really isn’t a game left – or at least you’re severely limiting the playtime of the game.

  3. KDR_11k says:

    I saw a video of it once and the shark was pretty much constantly attacking, this sounds like that wasn’t representative?

    • benkc says:

      It’s been a long time since I played the free version, so these numbers are pretty vaguely estimated, but I think the shark attacked maybe every 3-5 minutes, and if you managed to kill it, it would take twice that to respawn. Unless you jumped out into the water, which would very quickly result in a shark attack. People are tastier than rafts.

      Shark attacks didn’t take too long to deal with, so I found there was plenty of downtime for gathering/building/cooking.

      Now I kind of want to play it again. :)

  4. Seafoam says:

    Man It’s a shame the ocean is so pristine. Knowing the sheer amount of garbage and plastic the oceans have nowadays I feel theres a lost potential.

    Grimier ocean would’ve given more building material and an enviromental message. I just want the virtual oceans to be full of plastic, it’s an underdeveloped concept.

    • poliovaccine says:

      That’s a really good idea – especially, as you say, for an ingame explanation for the presence of crafting materials. I mean you can only reel in an old boot so many times, yknow? So yeah, I like that.

      Kinda heavily alters the tone of any game the idea is in, though. I don’t know how important it is that the ocean is pretty to look at in this game. Not that the pollution idea couldn’t also be pretty though, in a sort of elegiac, Fallout/STALKER way. In fact, an underwater post-apocalypse scenario where everyone lives on rafts and collects supplies from the cities which were flooded when the ice caps finally melted… yeah, sign me up for that haha.

  5. edwardoka says:

    Loved it for what it was, back in the day – an excellently executed deconstruction of the survival/crafting genre that showed its work.

    Expanding it almost feels like throwing away the one thing that made it unique.

    Saying that, I hope the creators are successful as they clearly have talent.

  6. Sic says:

    How does this compare to Stranded Deep?

    I’ve been pining to try one of these games forever now, but my plan to wait until one reaches somewhat of a finished state has been foiled repeatedly.

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