Coming early next year from 505 Games and developer Typhoon Studios, Journey to the Savage Planet is shaping up nicely. We went hands on with it recently – here’s our preview.
What we know
Despite Journey to the Savage Planet being the first game they’re releasing, Typhoon Studios has a lot of experience under its belt already – many of its members having backgrounds at Ubisoft and EA. Founder Alex Hutchinson was formerly the director of Far Cry 4, and launched the studio back at the start of 2017.
Journey to the Savage Planet casts you as part of a team of intergalactic explorers, tasked with surveying an uncharted planet to see if it’s fit for human life. As you catalog alien plants and creatures, you discover more and more about the mysteries surrounding the planet’s history. Contrary to what the game title might suggest, the main gameplay driver is exploration, and you have four different biomes to explore on the planet that is dubbed AR-Y 26.
What we saw
We met with the development team behind Journey to the Savage Planet during Gamescom and had a half hour or hands on time with the game. An unguided, mostly non-linear demo, it gave us multiple options for objectives and markers and left us free to explore as we saw fit. Death usually came from overly ambitious jumps in between floating platforms, and not from combat, but respawning (through a form of cloning, we believe) was almost instant and usually not far from where you fell.
What we thought
Journey to the Savage Planet is certainly a more laid back experience than the name suggests, with its cheerful color palette and emphasis on open exploration rather than tense showdowns with alien lifeforms – a sense of wonder is definitely more important here than a sense of danger. As a result, we remarked to the team that it must be a very hard game to demo within the scope of just half an hour, as its somewhat non-linear approach to the narrative doesn’t lend itself to showing a small slice of the pie that well.
We assume that once different parts of the mystery get unveiled things will start clicking into place and a bigger mystery will emerge that will give you some more guidance, but our demo was relatively free of any hand-holding in the narrative sense. Ultimately, that resulted in two things: we were left wondering what the game was going to eventually be about, and we wanted to have more time with it so we could figure exactly that out.
Judging from that perspective, Journey to the Savage Planet could be a success as an intriguing sci-fi mystery. Gameplay-wise, it seems like that “what’s around the next corner”-feel is going to be a core element for the game as well, so it’ll be interesting to see how the narrative holds up in the long run. If you enjoy exploration, crafting and upgrading on its own, then Journey to the Savage Planet has you covered as well – so there’s another potential target audience there. What’s fun is that the game can also be played together with a friend in co-op mode, which so far is only confirmed for the online variety. How it will all blend together, however, will remain a bit of a mystery until the January 28th release date – and maybe that’s exactly how Typhoon wants it.