Adrift: Preview - Games Weekly

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Adrift: Preview

You’re probably well familiar with the phrase ‘FPS fatigue’. Hell, you’ve probably even felt it at some point, with FPS after FPS being churned out over the last few years in attempts for developers to one-up each other. Let’s admit, it can get tiresome. 

Not just for us players, though. The team behind Adrift, Three One Zero, have worked on their fair share of first-person shooters, from Call Of Duty’s Modern Warfare and Black Ops series, through to the Medal Of Honor games and Homefront. So quite a few, then.

It’s no surprise, then, to find that part of the reason that those individuals have cited for moving to a new team to make Adrift is that they are fed up with making one FPS after another. If we were in their shoes, we would probably feel the same way.

The team’s experience in first-person games should serve them well, but making a survival puzzle game, as opposed to a shooter, is a completely different prospect. We hope the team can prove that they’ve got the ability to make that transition.

Set in space where, as we all know, no one can hear you scream, float-about-in-a-space-suit simulator Adrift can be loosely described as Gravity: The Game. From a first-person perspective, we’ll explore zero gravity environments in the wake of some kind of disaster that has destroyed a space station. Your character has no memory of the incident, so part of the game will involve piecing together what happened via the clues you discover.

Adrift sounds like a game with two key elements. On the one hand, it’s about survival. You will periodically run out of oxygen as you explore your environment, so will have to search for oxygen tanks as you go to avoid suffocation. Then there is the puzzle-solving element. You will need to repair an escape ship in order to return to Earth, so we expect the game’s puzzle aspects to be based around completing that objective.

It’s interesting to note that Adrift developer Three One Zero has previously talked about developing the game to work with Oculus Rift on PC. You can probably guess where we are going with this; if Adrift is going to support VR, the PS4 version is a prime candidate for Morpheus support. A first-person game where you float about in the sublime void of space, the stars all around you and the Earth on your horizon; sounds wonderful. And terrifying.

Telling parts of your story via audio logs, as in BioShock, has become an established trope. The success with which audio logs have been used as a storytelling device has varied wildly, so it’ll be interesting to see how they work here. Interestingly, there will be items owned by other crew members that you will have to decide whether to return to Earth or not we suspect audiologs will provide the context with which you can make those decisions.

The game was conceived by former Microsoft employee Adam Orth, who resigned in response to controversy that arose from telling those concerned about the Xbox One’s DRM policies to “deal with it”. Orth says the game is in part a metaphor for his experience in the wake of that. Hopefully Adrift turns out to be more than just a metaphor for a dude having to change jobs because he was a bit rude, because it’s difficult to get on board with that.

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