Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 22, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 22, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Press Releases
  Extrasolar Now Accepting Rover Driver Applicants
  Share on Twitter Share on Facebook RSS
 
 
02/19/2014
 


[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource GamesPress.]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

San Francisco, CA -- February 18, 2014

After four years in development, Extrasolar has finally opened its doors to the world. This unique interactive experience puts you at the heart of a sci-fi thriller as you explore an alien planet one unique, beautiful photo at a time.

On its surface, Extrasolar looks like a legitimate scientific expedition. When you apply, you’re promised a chance to control one of the many rovers that the private space agency known as the eXoplanetary Research Institute (XRI) has put down on the surface of an alien world. But before long, the story back on Earth becomes just as compelling as the startling discoveries on the planet as you find yourself wrapped up at the center of a conspiracy, not sure whom to trust.

Unlike most games, Extrasolar is experienced at the pace that might be expected if you were driving a rover on Mars for NASA. As Lazy 8 Studios founder Rob Jagnow explains, "We wanted to create a rich experience that fits into our busy schedules. Most of our rover drivers check in for just a few minutes, a couple times a day. It takes most players about a month to play through the first season -- a satisfying story arc with no shortage of surprises."

Players experience Extrasolar through a variety of channels -- websites, video messages, email, voicemail, gorgeous photos of an alien landscape, PDF files and more. The result is a story that's woven into the familiar digital media of our everyday lives, blurring the line between fantasy and reality. As Phil Hornshaw at Game Front remarked, "While lots of game developers talk seriously about immersion... Extrasolar achieves its immersion not by drawing players into some other world, but by overlaying itself onto theirs."

The project's unique story and mechanics haven't gone unnoticed. Extrasolar has already garnered attention at several major festivals, earning nominations for the Gamer's Voice award at South by Southwest, awards at IndieCade, and the Nuovo Award at the Independent Game Festival (IGF). As explained by Mike Rose of Gamasutra, "The Nuovo Award is meant to celebrate the most unique and different indie games, and in this regard, Extrasolar is a perfect fit."

Lazy 8 Studios, the small independent team behind the project, has pioneered new technologies that create surprisingly realistic "photos" of the planet's surface. These images are rendered on high-powered computers in the cloud so that Extrasolar can be played without any special hardware. As Rob Jagnow explains, "The planet that you’re exploring exists in remarkable precision on powerful servers on the Internet. You tell your rover where to go, which direction to face, and what time of day you want to take your photo. These specifications get uploaded to our servers and, based on your choices, we place a virtual camera in our virtual world and take a photo from that location." If you have a web browser -- even on your phone or tablet -- then you can have the experience of exploring the beautiful and mysterious alien landscapes of Epsilon Prime.

Just like any real planet, the conditions on Epsilon Prime are constantly changing. The sun rises and sets, two moons slowly change their lunar phases, clouds gather, and creatures scurry about their habitats. As described by Phil Hornshaw, "...it feels like you might actually be vicariously wandering a new world, uncovering a place no human eyes have ever seen."  The result is that no two photos will ever be exactly the same.

Extrasolar’s first season of content is playable in its entirety for free. Participants can make a one-time payment for extra features, but this is completely optional.

To learn more about Extrasolar, you can visit whatIsExtrasolar.com.  Or if you're ready to dive right in, go to extrasolar.com.

____

About Lazy 8 Studios:

Founded in 2008, Lazy 8 Studios found quick success with its award-winning game Cogs. This gave Lazy 8 the freedom to pursue risky ideas and explore new genres, culminating in a whole new interactive experience with Extrasolar.

____

For more press information:

Press resource page: http://bit.ly/1ju8YBj

About the project: http://bit.ly/1ju9i2V

Trailer: http://bit.ly/NzS7jg

Let's Play video with Founder Rob Jagnow: http://bit.ly/1ju9AH5

Blog: http://bit.ly/1lxSIx8