A Soviet military space station has abruptly stopped communication with ground stations, and a cosmonaut has been sent to find out why.
Having lived through the Cold War's space race with a father who worked with NASA for 30 years, I find a certain allure to explorative space games, especially those that mix a lot of historical fact with some creatively licensed fiction.
That's the angle of the upcoming space title Outreach from developers Pixel Spill, where a Soviet military space station has gone dark, and the player takes the role of a cosmonaut sent to find out what happened and why. The player will float through zero-G using hands and feet for propulsion, maintain systems in the station and find out what happened to the missing crew.
Producer James Booth said a lot of research has gone into the historical accuracy of the game. "That spacecraft in the trailer is an old model of Soyuz," he told The Escapist. "The whole space station is being created from references images of both the Salyut missions and MIR. We're going for a realistic representation and are planning to take as few liberties as possible. We want the game to show how it would actually have felt to be in space during the 1980s."
While the game is based in reality, the story in Outreach is fiction. "While the Apollo-Soyuz mission was in 1975, the Soviets were still sending up manned military stations under the Almaz program," Booth said. "It's this program that helped inspire the militaristic nature of the Outreach station, including its orbital defense capabilities."
Yes, there is a historical basis for a space gun on the station. The Soviet Salyut 3 mission had a 30mm AA cannon fired from the station, Booth said. "In fact, Outreach station actually incorporates failed or cancelled missions into its structure; a prime example of this is with the Almaz-T Module. This way, the environment and story tie in with real events that players can research on their own."
The game, which is targeting PC and Mac first by Q3 of next year and PS4 and Xbox One sometime later, will sell for $14.99. Booth said the PC version is exploring the possibility of Oculus Rift support, but it's too soon to commit to "full compatibility. I think we'll have more of a grasp on VR and the role it will play in the near future."