Icarus is a brand new PvE survival title from Dean Hall, the creator of DayZ, unveiled during Saturday’s PC Gamer PC Gaming Show. The project comes from Hall’s development outfit, Rocketwerkz, and will be released as a free-to-play game in 2021.
Icarus drops players on to an alien planet lacking oxygen to explore virgin lands teeming with resources. From an orbiting space station (described by Hall as a starting hub inspired by the apartments in GTA Online), players squad up with friends, prepare to land on the planet below, and accept contracts such as harvesting resources from a particular biome. A short dropship flight later, and players land on the planet to complete multiplayer events and quests. Players can transport supplies back to the space station to make improvements and better equipment, from weapons and vehicles to tools.
In an interesting twist on the well-established survival formula, Rocketwerkz is designing Icarus as a session-based title. Excursions to the alien planet can last as short as 20 minutes or extend over multiple days and multiple drops.
As Hall explains, the idea is to capture the early moments of other survival titles. To allow players to experience that sense of tense exploration and urgency that is often overtaken by the all-too-familiar open-ended grind.
Hall says, ‘If you think about your first hour in DayZ, your first hour in Minecraft, our goal is to capture that and allow you to do that over a long period of time. So it was really getting back to the roots of what a survival game is and what makes those moments that you get in them really intense and emotional.’
And, Hall is pushing that sense of urgency in the form an unforgiving rule: in Icarus catching that flight back to the space station is crucial. Miss the time cut and the game kills your character permanently. All progress and resources suffer a similar fate, lost to the sands of time.
To get a sense of what Icarus is all about, and catch a glimpse of astronauts wielding stone age tools to fell trees and down marauding wildlife, Rocketwerkz has produced a trailer for the occasion.
It’s hard not to draw parallels with established survival mainstays like Rust and Ark (and even Escape From Tarkov for the in-out loop). Nevertheless, there appears to be enough to set Icarus apart, and given that it’s free-to-play, there’s little reason not to try out the latest from the mind behind DayZ when it arrives in 2021.