The Solus Project has a grim view of the future. The Earth is dying. The player, perhaps the only hope for saving it, has crash-landed as the sole survivor on a strange planet — a beautiful, violent place where survival is your greatest challenge.
In The Solus Project, due out for Xbox One in 2016, players wander this weird world while keeping track of their vitals and hunting down food and other supplies. It's not about fighting enemies — most of the ones you'll encounter are meant to be avoided, like a puzzle — but rather it's the game's world itself that poses a challenge. Dynamic weather and a night and day system means the land is constantly changing.
Grip Games CEO and co-founder Jakub Mikyska likens The Solus Project to Robinson Crusoe or even Avatar, but shies away from comparisons to games like DayZ. You're left to your own devices to survive, and you're probably going to fail a few times.
"We expect players to be dying a lot, but for each death to be kind of a learning experience," he said. "This is a narrative-driven game and it has a story that you follow ... That's what makes it different from games like DayZ."
During my hands-on time with the game, I wandered through a lush field completely alone. It looked peaceful — until fire started falling from the sky. Shortly after, a real rainstorm started, sending me scurrying for shelter. But was I actually safe? It's hard to say, because then a tornado ripped across the landscape. Tough break.
"The planet that you are on works as the enemy in the game," Mikyska said. "It's very violent ... You really need to work with all of these things to survive."
As you play through The Solus Project, you'll slowly uncover the mystery of a vanished, alien civilization that used to live on the planet. Their demise might hold a hope for Earth's future, or — like I did — you might just die alone, over and over.
"It's really about the feeling of being completely alone," Mikyska. There is no other life form than you."