Outer Wilds Is a Space Exploration Game with a Groundhog’s Day Twist

Time is a luxury in this fresh take on the exploration genre.

Annapurna Interactive, the publisher of What Remains of Edith Finch and Kentucky Route Zero, has revealed more information about a new game from LA-based Mobius Digital called Outer Wilds.

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The Outer Wilds combines elements of games like No Man’s Sky and Subnautica by allowing players to explore vast landscapes and space settings. Every area you explore has been wonderfully handcrafted – as opposed to No Man’s Sky‘s procedurally generated worlds – and contains a variety of secrets, stories, and more. Navigating between them will require players to learn a series of space travel mechanics that take into account things like the effects of gravity. 

Here’s where things get really interesting. Due to an unexplained time paradox, all of your journeys will only last 20 minutes. After that, you’ll be transferred back into the world, but some things may be drastically different from how you left them. For instance, a once proud city may have been consumed by sand over an undisclosed period of time. That might create some problems for you as Outer Wilds does contain a deeply hidden mystery that players can solve if they’re able to locate the right clues across the right timeframes. 

If you’d rather not bother with any of that, you can always just explore the game’s incredibly well-designed worlds, poke around a mystery or two, or maybe even just roast some marshmallows on the campfire. Outer Wilds doesn’t seem intent on forcing you to do or be any single thing within its vast series of worlds.

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We know, we know…you’ve heard games talk a big talk like this before. However, Outer Wilds actually debuted in a limited form back at the 2015 Independent Games Festival Awards and actually won the event’s top prize. It was described by those who played it as an undeniably compelling combination of whimsical exploration and genuine terror. That last element was delivered via the game’s surprisingly involved navigation systems which make it perfectly possible to botch your course or ship landing. 

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Outer Wilds is expected to debut in 2018 for PC and as of yet unspecified platforms.