The year is 2183 and the planet Earth is a write-off. You are sent into space with the purpose of discovering a new hope for humanity. It's a high-stakes mission, but the trip takes a turn for the worst when your ship crash lands on an uncharted planet and you must embark on a fight against the elements. The objective shifts to survival. This is where The Solus Project begins.
I played an early build of The Solus Project at E3 2015, where I explored mysterious and dank caves, was caught in a meteor shower, and found myself at one point face-to-face with a tornado. The game puts great emphasis on survival, with the protagonist's hunger level, thirst, body temperature, and surrounding humidity and wind just some of the factors that are monitored in-game. This is displayed on the main character's PDA device, which is held at all times and can be viewed in its entirety by looking down.
Exploration is paramount to survival in The Solus Project, and I the first thing I did was set to stalking around my ship's crash site to scavenge supplies. My first instinct was to pick up every single object I laid eyes on, but I soon found myself with a full inventory and unable to gather any more. I needed to prioritize what to take with me. While I walked around contemplating this, a meteor shower started up and rained hazardous flaming rocks down around me. The environment is the most dangerous enemy in The Solus Project, which will feature a dynamic weather system and day/night cycle. Even the status of the moon will control the flow of the ocean tide, and plants will grow and rot away.
The Solus Project will feature a crafting system that allows players to apply items together to create new ones. For example, I gathered two rocks and dropped one on the floor. I then equipped the second rock and used it to apply to the first, which was on the floor, to create a sharpened rock. Using my newly acquired sharpened rock, I cut away some vines growing on a nearby cave wall. These vines I applied to a pipe I had picked up earlier and fashioned into a makeshift torch. I am interested to see how deep the crafting system will run in the full game, with so many materials potentially available in the environment.
But the planet I was stranded on had clearly been inhabited by civilization at one point. Elaborate tombs hidden in caves were waiting to be unlocked and explored. The entrance was locked, but conveniently within walking distance of the key which I needed to use to open it. Which was just as well, because a flash storm suddenly spawned and threw a whirling tornado perilously close by. The demo concluded as I entered the hidden tomb, curious and ready to learn more about the mysterious civilization which once inhabited the planet.
While the demo made use of waypoints to provide guidance, I was informed that the final version of the game will place more emphasis on allowing players to explore and figure out solutions to problems independently. The Solus Project is scheduled for release on Xbox One and PC in the first quarter of next year. I'm curious to see how my survival skills shape up on the full version of the game when it's out.