Earlier this week, Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced a joint $100 million effort to bolster the search for extraterrestrial life through an endeavor they are calling “Breakthrough Listen.” The project will likely take many years to bear fruit, if it ever does, but for those looking to dust off their space suits and go searching for life right away virtual reality may soon offer an excellent solution, with iOMoon.
Set in a future where life has been discovered on Europa, you assume the role of a exobiologist on a mission to explore the surface of Jupiter’s moon iO. To survive the trip your brain has been removed (via a simple outpatient procedure, no worries) and placed into a nearly indestructible Delta probe which has made the journey with a handy A.I. Companion, whose help becomes all the more necessary after your probe crash lands on the surface of the planet. It will be up to you to explore the moon and find signs of life, all the while fending against the elements and your dwindling oxygen supply for your own as you make your way to the rendezvous with the rescue team.
iOMoon has been built from the ground up with virtual reality in mind, and you can see it in the elements within the game. The Delta Probe provides you with a comfortable cabin, something that has been shown to help reduce motion sickness in the game. They also provide you with a way to shift your view to a camera outside the probe so that you can examine the environment in more detail. And trust me you are going to want to.
iOMoon‘s beautiful art direction is the work of Headtrip Games’ CEO, Founder, and Creative Director Drew Medina – whose previous work speaks for itself. Medina moved from Rockstar after completing work on Grand Theft Auto V where he served as the project’s principal artist (having served as the studio art director on other projects such as Max Payne 3). In every facet of the short pre-alpha footage we have seen from the game (which, unfortunately we cannot share with you here today) Medina’s meticulous attention to detail shines through, something that is incredibly appreciated in a virtual reality exploration style game. From the way bits of magma bounce off your face shield to the game’s gorgeous lighting effects, to the creativity of the creature designs even in it’s early pre-alpha stages iOMoon is shaping up to be one of the best looking early VR titles out there.
The game may already look gorgeous, but a recent hiring suggests that it will sound gorgeous too. Headtrip Games recently brought in Garry Schyman, the award winning composer behind the Bioshock series, to create a one of a kind sound track for the game. We have yet to hear what Schyman has put together for the game, but if his work on Bioshock is any indication it should be spectacular and will go a long way towards defining the tone of the environment.
The game is still in it’s pre-alpha stages with an aim to release with the launch of the major headsets coming to the market. We will continue to follow the progress of the game closely as it makes its way towards the final product.
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