5 space sims to watch out for in 2014

Well TVGB readers, as 2013 comes to a close, the time has come to look back upon this year with AH HELL WITH THE PLEASANTRIES! That’s right, I’m here to tell you why I’m excited for 2014.

There’s no doubt that 2014 is going to be an amazing year for gamers everywhere, especially with the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One last month. If there’s something else that 2013 showed us though, it’s that next year will probably go down in history as the golden year of space-sims, and the ultimate circle-jerk for members of the PC master-race everywhere! With so many space-sims announced for the PC this year, it seems like the genre will finally see a comeback after a long hiatus.

So without further ado, here are five space-sims that I think all PC gamers will want to watch out for in the coming year.

5 – Rodina

Announced shortly after Notch’s now-abandoned 0x10c, Rodina draws inspiration from classic sci-fi movies and shows like Star Wars and Star Trek. Brendan Anthony of Elliptic Games, the studio developing Rodina,  promises players the ability to peacefully explore the cosmos, or fight epic battles in space or on the ground.

An early version of Rodina with a limited feature set was made available for purchase on December 13th. You can download the demo right here.

The game has its fair share of bugs, but Anthony hopes to add  more content and bug fixes with regular updates that will be introduced in the coming year. Among the game’s stand-out features are the ability to design and walk around the interior of your own ship in first person, as well as the ability to land seamlessly on full-sized procedurally generated planets and explore them on foot. Although not visually very impressive, Rodina looks like it’s going to be an exciting game for anyone who has fantasized about exploring the galaxy in their own spaceship.

4 – Infinity: The Quest for Earth

Although still a very long way from a full release, I-Novae Studios have announced that they plan on launching a Kickstarter campaign for Infinity: Battlescape, a multiplayer arena-based space shooter, sometime in 2014 . Battlescape will in turn act as a platform for the eventual creation of the more ambitious MMOG (InfinityThe Quest for Earth) they envisioned several years ago.

A key feature of Infinity, that makes it stand out from other titles, is it’s jaw-dropping I-Novae Engine which is capable of procedurally generating an entire galaxy full of billions upon billions of stars and gorgeous planets which players can enter seamlessly from space, and explore with their ships. When I first stumbled upon this engine in 2007, it seemed almost too good to be true.  If Battlescape delivers even a fraction of the content promised in The Quest for Earth, then it’ll definitely be a title to look out for in the coming year.

3 – No Man’s Sky

Hello Games, the creators of the critically-acclaimed Joe Danger, took everyone by surprise and blew them off this goddamned earth when they revealed No Man’s Sky at the VGX show a few weeks ago. If exploration is going to be the life-blood of this game, then you can think of procedural generation as its beating heart.

The trailer for No Man’s Sky points to a number of features that are sure to have space-sim fans bursting with anticipation right now: an entire universe which is procedurally generated (at both a micro and macro level), tons of planets to explore, first-person exploration, space dog-fights, and seamless planetary landing from space. If this game delivers on its promise, then it’s going break serious ground and redefine the role of procedural generation in modern game design.

Hello hasn’t announced if No Man’s Sky will be a PC exclusive, console exclusive, or if it will be available across all platforms. If there’s anything we can guarantee you though, it’s that the game is going to be big. Really big. Also, giant sandworms.

2 – Star Citizen

Star Citizen is being developed by space-sim pioneer Chris Roberts. Nuff said. Seriously though, considering Roberts’ track record, if there’s anything we can expect from Star Citizen, it’s an amazing space flight engine. The recently released “Hangar Module” (accessible to the game’s Kickstarter backers) has also showed us that Roberts intends to make the game incredibly immersive by letting players walk around the interior of their own ships and around space stations as well.

A number of features are planned out for the game and will be released in small increments, beginning with the “Dog-Fighting” alpha test which is set to kick off sometime soon, and the “Planetside” Alpha (which lets players socialize and trade in planetary hubs) sometime in early 2014.

Star Citizen has managed to raise over $34,000,000 in crowd-funding. Given enough time, there’s no doubt that Roberts and his team will give us an immersive experience like no other.

1 – Elite Dangerous

The Elite franchise created by David Braben is the one that started it all. Braben pioneered the use of procedural generation, and introduced players to the world of free-form space-sims with the original Elite released in 1984. In the original Elite, players were able to create their own storylines and set their own path in the universe, while the second installment in the series also introduced seamless planetary landings to the franchise.

Elite: Dangerous, Braben’s latest project, is just as ambitious as its predecessors. Check out the video below. The first Alpha phase, which launched a couple of weeks ago, is looking really impressive.

Braben has managed to raise over £2,000,000 through crowd-funding, and has a number of features, like planetary landings and exploration outside the ship, planned out for release sometime after the base game’s release this March. With Oculus Rift support, and some multiplayer features planned out too, it looks like Elite Dangerous is going to be a serious competitor to Roberts’ Star Citizen that any fan of the genre will be looking forward too.

Setting Sail For The Stars

There you have it folks. That’s the list of 5 space-sims that I’m most excited about. Other titles that deserve to be mentioned are Pulsar: The Lost Colony and Limit Theory which, although less ambitious, are pretty unique and even technically impressive in some respects. Are there any other space-sims you think we should be excited about? Sound off in the comment section below!

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