Outer space has never ceased to capture the imaginations of mankind. It’s been the source of so many ideas since the space race first got started, both for scientists questioning the real limits of the cosmos, and for creative minds like writers or directors. Yes, space has been the inspiration for so many books, movies, music, and of course, video games, and it's getting to the point now where the Human race is releasing more media about space than actual satellites into orbit.
But we’re unquenchable and our thirst for the stars means that we won’t complain about getting one more book about life on the international space station, or moan about seeing one more movie about interstellar travel. One thing we don’t really get in the video gaming world often though is a real, true to life, space exploration simulator that merges science fiction alongside scientific fact.
Enter Space Enigma Studios with its current project for Wii U (and PC), Space Pioneer. Here is a game that has big ambitions, not just as a video game but as a learning experience as well. Now, of course, space exploration is nothing new in video games. One glance at the last ten years will give you plenty of spacey games such as XCOM and Mass Effect; but how Space Pioneer differs from them is by turning the setting for those games into the main driving force. Space itself is no longer a back-drop – it is the game.
Space exploration is the cornerstone of this game’s purpose. It wants to allow the player to really see space for themselves and learn about the universe. Don’t start rolling your eyes because there’s an educational side – this is still a video game. As well as learning and exploring, the player will also get to take part in real time strategy events with alien life. These events are similar to the likes of the Age of Empires and the Civilisation series, and whether you strike allegiances with these off world creatures — or turn your weapons on them — is up to you. That isn’t all, as there is even a customisable element to this game that not only allows you to customise the ship you intend to go star gazing in, but also allows you to build exo-planetary cities, space stations and starship armadas. So to summarise, it’s a real time strategy, city building space sim.
The game has plenty of diverse mechanics such as alternating viewpoints and gameplay modes, but probably the most distinguishing — and arguably unique — features is the cast behind it. Here we have a studio built up of real life astronauts, space writers, consultants, coders, and every other occupation you could think of needed to make an accurate game about outer space. In other words, don’t be mistaken in thinking that this is just another drop-in-the-ocean sci-fi space game, these guys really are passionate about space and their project.
Of course, despite their drive and enthusiasm, the studio is lacking in funds for this aspiring project, and so it has set up a Kickstarter campaign to help them to realise their dream. If this has piqued your interest, then by all means go and check out the fundraising page for yourself, as we’ve only just scratched the surface. It has amassed over $20,000 USD already, and the game looks diverse enough to gain a following. The pitch video is also below, so let us know what you think.