Developed by Mobius Digital, and published by Annapurna Interactive comes a new first-person space simulator Outer Wilds. Annapurna Interactive is best known for their publishing of Florence, What Remains of Edith Finch, and Gorogoa.
Outer Wilds combines camping with space exploration and throws in a few rogue elements to make it unlike any other on the market.
Exploring the Outer Wilds
After a short introduction to your character’s homeworld, you will gain access to a spaceship that looks as if it was built out of spare camping materials. As you explore you will come across previous explorers that have ventured out already and set up their own camps. These NPC’s will often offer advice, quests, or other information to potentially guide the player.
Before taking off it’s wise to interact with as many locals as possible, as they each serve as unofficial tutorials. Interacting with them isn’t required but each one helps prepare you for your journey to come. For example, a kid in the town has a drone that will help familiarize players with the game’s flight controls.
There are other side quests like hide & seek, or exploring a museum. Most games generally use these simple tasks to offer a small reward. Outer Wilds instead uses these instances to train the player on using their more important exploration tools.
Time and Space
After a few short story sequences, we hopped inside our ship and ventured out into space. Though the game takes place in a fictional universe, it still grounds itself in reality. Players will need to consider realistic physics when piloting their ships and take a planet’s gravitational pull into account while exploring.
There’s also the need for oxygen when exploring space, or any of the underwater biomes on certain planets. These components affect gameplay at all times and aren’t always constant.
If these factors aren’t challenging enough, add in the fact that the world operates on a 20-minute loop. As time passes, certain locations become available, while others are unreachable until enough time has passed. Some planets may even cease to exist after enough time.
The time loop system is similar to the one in Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and is the main factor that propels our hero on their journey. Whether the player survives the entire loop or not will depend on their survival skills. Either way, players will retain their memories as well as information like key codes and other important information.
This feature is intended to help players progress faster on each subsequent loop. If you want to find out why time is looping, there will be mysteries you can solve which tell you more…
Outer Wilds is scheduled to release first on PC in 2018, with additional platforms to follow shortly after. The below trailer shows the game in action. For more information check out the Outer Wilds website.