First details of an intriguing new world creation game
Cubical Drift has announced that Planets, its rather dazzling interplanetary crafting and exploration sim, will come to Xbox One providing the developer receives enough funding for the project via Kickstarter.
In development since last year, the game is slated for provisional release on PC in 2015, with an expanded version to follow in 2017. The 2015 release will include a single solar system, part of the storyline and all planned gameplay features; the "full" version will polish off the story and allow players to explore the entire universe.
The planets of, erm, Planets are composed of "thousands of billions" of 25cm blocks, which can be harvested and crafted into objects given access to the right tools and skills. The onus is on construction, exploration and multiplayer, but there's an "intricate plot" that'll take you to several solar systems.
A primary goal during exploration is to gather the materials for a spaceship, which entails "winning the trust" of planet natives who will then labour on your behalf - building things, repairing things, researching new item recipes, taking objects apart to learn how to reproduce them, tending crops and, of course, fighting at your side. NPC professions include blacksmith, goldsmith, engineer, fighter, cook, builder and farmer. There are 100 different materials to dig up, hoard and make use of, and items are created by assembling subparts, as detailed in the video below.
Players will be able to improve their stats by doing things - running and jumping to get better at running and jumping, for instance, or using heavy objects to build strength. You'll also raise your technical competence by gathering enemy item drops and taking them apart. A range of combat styles are supported - you might take down enemies stealthily or from a long distance, using swords, guns and spears. It's possible to tame certain animals, who will then serve as mounts, or build your own vehicles.
Many of the more valuable resources are located underground, as in Minecraft. The crust of each planet is riddled with dungeons, some of which contain bosses who guard a treasure chest. You may be able to tunnel right through a dungeon wall, if you have the right tools, but there are also labyrinths that can't be meddled with in this fashion.The game will run on the Ogre engine, which has been optimised for scale. "We have developed specific multithreading algorithms to be able to display a massive number of blocks with a large (almost infinite) viewing distance in real time," notes a paragraph on the Kickstarter page. "This allows you to see other planets from the surface (by night and without clouds!). This was our focus in the actual prototype."
Cubical Drift needs $600,000 in funding before it will commit to an Xbox One and PS4 version of the game. Should it fail to achieve this level of support, the likelihood of console versions will depend on sales of the PC, Linux and Mac versions.
Speaking to OXM via email, the developer's Martino Brunet explained that Cubical doesn't have access to Xbox One devkits yet, and that it's "too early to say" how the game will make use of the console's unique capabilities. One objective is to enable cross-platform multiplayer with the PC version.
What do you think? I think this has a lot of promise. Let's hope it hits that stretch goal.