In space, they say, no one can hear you scream. Which is just as well if you're raising a baby on board the Ark-13. Since we first visited Fugitive Games' first-person space captain-a-thon Into The Stars [official site] in January, it's been successfully Kickstarted and thrust full-speed into Steam Early Access. It's now received a pretty wholesome update, adding a load of new features.
In what is its largest update so far, Into The Stars 0.1 now includes a 'Civilian Management' system which grants players control of their ship's inhabitants. Four components directly affect the Civilian City population's well-being: health, happiness, order and rations - the first three of which are directly influenced by your competence (or not) as captain.
Rations can be distributed in values marked high, normal or low and have a direct bearing on your City's growth population. Which means babies. Which means even if you're shit at combatting permadeath, so long as you're good at philanthropy you might just make it to the elusive Titus Nova - your mission objective.
All of the above relates back to keeping your civilians happy. If film, tv, books, and, well, video games, has taught us anything, though, is nigh on impossible amid perilous space expedition. That said, if you're willing to try, Into The Stars now incorporates three states of civilian well-being: happy, unhappy and angry, indicated by helpful emojis on the management screen, all of which tie into the aforementioned health, happiness and order elements. Keeping the equilibrium, then, is pretty important.
Other new features include 'Skorn Wreckage' - remnants of Skorn encounters with previous Ark ships, 'Gas Clouds' - pockets of gas lined with valuable resources, and 'Hidden Storage Containers' - space pirate loot stashes, all of which add variety to the exploration aspects of the game; all of which echo the game's Oregon Trail influence as noted by the developers from the outset.
Speaking to PCGamesN, Fugitive director Ben Jones talked of how fervent the community has been since Into The Stars entered Early Access. "It’s everything we thought it would be and more,” said Jones. “It’s a crazy process. We can’t build all this stuff. I think one of the things that surprised us is the amount of expectations for things we hadn’t had planned. And also expectations for things that we consider more a component of complete games."
Into The Stars is available on Steam Early Access for £14.99.