The debut title from indie developer Mohawk Games, Offworld Trading Company, uses money, rather than brute force, as the player's weapon, according to the game's website.
Offworld Trading Company is "loosely inspired" by economics-based, 1980s game M.U.L.E. Players control one of several companies fighting for control of Mars colonization. By exploiting the planet's resources, converting raw resources and earning money, players attempt to assert economic dominance over other players. Each map in the game is randomly generated, and players are allowed a limited number of claims on resources.
"Offworld Trading Company forces players to make tough choices on what resources to acquire, what goods to build and sell, how to interact with the planet's thriving underworld, and when and what stocks to acquire," the game's site reads.
"Money is the heart of Offworld Trading Company. Players gain cash by selling excess resources like carbon, fuel, and silicon on the open market, and spend it buying the resources they're short on. Prices fluctuate in real time; dump a bunch of iron on the market and its price will crater, making it cheap for other players to buy up (and making their stockpiles worth much less in the near term)."
The game also includes a black market that "allows for more direct interactions," and players can hire pirates to harass their opponents.
"Offworld Trading Company is a unique game that rewards thinking on your feet and adapting your strategy to constantly changing game conditions, not memorizing build orders and deploying hard counters," the website reads. "Every stratagem has a counter — literally, thanks to the real-time market pricing that is the game's core foundation — if you can see what your opponents are trying to do in time to react to it."
Offworld Trading Company is being published for Windows PC by Stardock. The game is available for pre-order now in tiers of $34.99 or $79.99; the first prototype is expected to launch as an early access title this fall.
Mohawk Games was founded last November to build "core strategy games." Soren Johnson, the lead designer for Sid Meier's Civilization 4, formed the new studio along with Stardock president and CEO Brad Wardell.