During our time at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) this year we caught up with Tomas Rawlings, design and production director at Auroch Digital, to talk about Mars Horizon. In the interview, Rawlings explained to us that the game is "a strategy management game where you run your own space agency where the aim is to complete the first manned mission to Mars".
Space travel and exploration is a very challenging task, and Auroch hopes to really reflect this in their game. "Space exploration in our game is risk versus reward," Rawlings explained. "Are you going to push the thing where someone is telling you not to do anything, where you might lose everything or maybe even jump ahead of everyone else?"
However, as with actual space travel, risk is not the only way to succeed. "Managing is a real key part of it. You can rush the development of a rocket but as you do that the probability of things going wrong increases," Rawlings continued. "It makes for interesting gameplay choices, but it also reflects real-time space exploration".
Mars Horizon really leans into authenticity as "everything in the game, had been planned, partially built or is in the process of being planned or built right now". To achieve this, the developer has been working with the European Space Agency to really refine the realism of the game.
"We're really lucky to have a partnership with the European Space Agency. They've came over and seen us and the game and said it's really interesting and asked if we'd like to work with them. They even asked if we'd like to go and talk to the people working on the Exo Mars programme," Rawlings said.
He later told us how the next stage in the game's development involves the team taking the tools they've developed to the ESA and seeing what they think, as "gameplay is the most important thing" to Mars Horizon.
At this moment in time, no solid release date has been announced, as the team is still trying to create as authentic an experience as possible. However, they hope to release by the end of the year on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.
Will you be having a go at this realistic title when it launches?