Looking back over news articles and gaming forum threads over the last few years it is easy to see that there is strong interest from players in space exploration games with procedurally generated environments. However, recent history has also shown that it can be challenging for developers to bring players a satisfying experience within this type of game. It seems as if the list of required elements is simple enough: a vast and diverse galaxy, allowing players to choose when and how they get to a particular location, hidden mysteries to find, a rewarding craft system and – ideally – online or local co-op. After all, what’s so fun about exploring a galaxy by yourself?
The story of Astroneer is set approximately four centuries into the future after the rapid development of space exploration technology. Outer space is now an all new frontier where those who are brave enough to explore the mysterious void and come back with rare resources are richly rewarded.
The environments you will be exploring are procedurally generated and you will be able to manipulate the area around you. See resources that you need across a vast chasm? Use your gear to reshape the land into a bridge you can cross. Need a safe area to build a base? Literally every cubic inch of a world can be sculpted and reshaped to your heart’s content. Your search for resources will bring you to a variety of planets, moons or even asteroids. Will you craft a vehicle from your resources, some new equipment or will you trade with your friends? It is all up to you.
You won’t have to do all of this alone though. Astroneer will support both online and local co-op for up to four players. Every player will share your ability to explore and reshape worlds. Create a subterranean network of tunnels or perhaps make a giant statue of yourself when you’re not trying to survive harsh environments or scavenging for rare resources.
Are humans alone in this vast galaxy? We’re not going into specifics but don’t be surprised if you uncover an ancient artifact or two as you make your way towards the center of the galaxy. If you’re craving a space-based sandbox game with an emphasis on exploration, it may be worth checking out Astroneer by System Era Softworks.
Astroneer will be released as an Early Access title in December, 2016 with a simultaneous launch on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Steam. I reached out to the developers and asked if this game would support the Xbox Play Anywhere feature and they told me that they intend to do so.
Watch the early access trailer: