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Robinson's Renaissance: The Solus Project Out Feb 18th

Episodic Early Access

Another survival game! Who wants to chop down a thousand trees and eat a hundred freshly harvested Happy Meals per hour to fend off accelerated starvation? While many survival games might expect you to spend all your time collecting and eating, as if there were nothing better to do, The Solus Project [official site] might be different. It takes place on a hand-crafted planet and is a more linear experience than many of its peers. Indeed, I'm going to go ahead and say its apparent focus on weather, health and exploration makes it the successor to Robinson's Requiem I've been waiting for.

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The Solus Project is closer than I expected and will come to Early Access on February 18th. Differentiating itself from the survival genre even more distinctly, it won't enter Early Access as a prototype:

"The entire game is done, and all content we wish to release in the full game is already there, but we'd like to get feedback and catch bugs before we release for real.

"Given so much has been made already it is important to note that this is not a small prototype or demo, but a 7-9 hour long experience that we will be releasing in episodes every few weeks, and is already fully optimized, visually near final, and fully featured."

The focus on exploration and forward momentum appeals to me in a way that the aimless campfire-constructing brief eternities of so many survival games doesn't. For now, let's file this one under 'exploration game with survival elements' and see if that holds up in a couple of weeks. Or maybe a while longer. The episodic release schedule, through Early Access, will keep the full game from us a while longer. Early Access is only expected to last 90 days or so but here's the schedule:

"Since this is a singleplayer game, we will be taking an episodic approach during EA, with each new episode releasing every few weeks if all goes well.

Release 1: The first three levels of the game. Worth about 1-2 hours worth of game, with lots of hidden secrets to figure out while waiting for the next release.
Release 2: +Levels 4, 5 and 6. Adding another 2 hours of gameplay. And any content from previous releases of course.
Release 3: +Levels 7 and 8, adding another 2 hours.
Release 4: +Level 9. Adding another 1 hour.
Release 5: Not 100% sure we'd do a fifth release, but if we'd do then that would be level 10. If not level 10 and 11 + the end game sequence will be held off until the full release."

The slight uncertainty around the fifth release seems to relate to the fact that the end-game won't be included until the full launch, so the build-up to that might be held back as well, I guess.

Whatever the case, I'm looking forward to playing. And don't even dare suggest that Robinson's Requiem was a load of plop because I've already crafted a pair of rose-tinted glasses and I won't be discouraged.

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