Astroneer was revealed to the world about a week ago by developer System Era Softworks, and it immediately captured my attention in the form of an animated .gif I saw on Twitter. The moving image depicted an astronaut holding out his hand, using a terrain deforming tool to excavate a crashed spacecraft, revealing tools and resources within the buried hull.
I immediately had flashbacks to pieces of this year’s Interstellar film, and the prospect of playing out the odyssey of such a futuristic astronaut struck a chord.
The developer’s blog describes Astroneer as a love letter to their childhood fascination with astronauts, and a pre-alpha gameplay video depicts a methodical exploration of varied planetary environments while leveraging terrain modification, assembly, crafting, vehicles, resource management and cooperative multiplayer. At this early stage, the game appears to be a fairly succinct take on the space explorers of the possible future. The focus appears to be truly on the exploration, and less on the more oft-used futuristic space game tropes, such as chance encounters with giant space squid intent on wiping out the universe.
The blog also predicts an Steam Early Access release in Q1 2016. I’ll be keeping my eyes on the stars for more from Astroneer.