I’m Tomas Rawlings, one of the designers here at Auroch Digital on a new strategy/management game launching to Playstation 4 in Q4 this year.
In Mars Horizon, players control a government space agency. The players then control that agency to collaborate or compete in a decades-spanning campaign to expand humanity’s reach further into space in search of the ultimate prize – a crewed mission to Mars, setting the stage for humanity to become a multiplanetary species.
We wanted to distil the wonder, drama, and the galaxies of possibility that space offers us as a species, into game form. Mars Horizon is our love-letter to the race into space and the challenges and triumphs of humanity on the way to becoming a multiplanetary species.
How does it work?
Imagine a football management sim spliced with a tycoon builder, turn based orbital gameplay but with the backdrop of space.
To that aim the game basically has two main components – the agency management layer and mission control. In the former you are in charge of setting the mission, designing the rockets, spending the budget, and building your earth HQ. In the latter you’re in command of missions at critical points, making the tough decisions of how to bring a mission in safe when things go wrong (“Houston, we have a problem….”).
Here’s a short teaser look at some Mars Horizon gameplay:
The game is in development now and due for release in Q4 this year on PlayStation 4.
Developing the idea of Mars Horizon was always going to be inspired by real science and space engineering: that passion is palpable amongst the team.
We applied to the UK Space Agency for support and were delighted when our efforts were met with enthusiasm for the project. We’ve held some very positive meetings and even geeked out at their offices a little over card and board games.
Aside from these early musings, the UK Space Agency supplied us with critical advice on space exploration and the actual running of a space agency for Mars Horizon. To then take this experience back to Auroch’s HQ and encoded it into the game design, bringing the player experience closer to the reality, really set a new elevated bar for the team to aspire to.
As game developers, we’re always looking for ways to share our thinking with players and get their thoughts too. This stretches beyond the game itself into a short podcast series that details Mars Horizon’s production and the ideas that inspire us. Episode 1 is available for free HERE – where we chat about translating space engineering to the game format, explaining mission control gameplay, and digging deeper into what Mars Horizon actually is to its core.
The game will be available on PlayStation 4 later this year. We’re fascinated to see how you get to Mars? Will you race ahead and shoot straight for the red planet, or build up your agencies know-how with a few moon missions first?
Thanks again for all the support shown by the UK Space Agency. The collaboration has been cosmic, okay forgive me, but I had to throw in at least one solid space pun, else we’re not setting the right atmosphere.
For all the latest on Mars Horizon, be sure to check out the game page on our site, where you can grab that podcast and sign up to our email newsletter to get all the info before the final countdown to release.
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