We have been cooing at Astroneer [official site] on and off for the past year, its colourful planets, bouncing astronauts and clicky base-building. And although we enjoyed footage of little men bounding across low-poly worlds together and carving out tunnels in the rock with some sort of futuristic matter displacer, we didn’t know exactly when it would come out. Well, we still don’t know. Not exactly. But it will be in December this year, say the developers, hitting Steam and Windows 10 as an early access game. Here’s another trailer they released along with the news.
As for what you’ll be doing on these rugged angular planets, the trailers have all shown some glimpse of engineering outposts that can gather materials for you. At some point you’ll be able to build a lander and travel between planets. Here’s how the developers describe it in a blog post.
You will land alone, or with a small crew of friends, on a planet to call your own. Harsh but bountiful, infinite worlds will beckon you to explore, exploit, and ultimately to reshape to your desire. Excavate and deform the land, uncover precious resources, jury-rig equipment to suit your taste and needs, create industrial scale extraction and manufacturing facilities, and locate rare items and artifacts. Contribute to the survival of Earth-based humankind, and get rich along the way.
It would be nice if Astroneer offered some soothing balm to all those who became irritated by the hollow inventory management and itinerant planet-hopping of No Man’s Sky. It does offer the chance to play with friends by the looks of things, building stuff and harvesting space resources – things that some people (justly or unjustly) expected of Hello Games’ interstellar jaunt. Although there’s no sight of any alien ecology here.
Then again, do we have to compare every space-em-up with No Man’s Sky now? Hopefully not, as it seems unfair to both games. Maybe we can just enjoy Astroneer for what it is. We’ll find out in December.