Ladies and Gentlemen, This is ‘Astralis’

With XNA and XBLIG as a brand on perpetual deathwatch, even those that haven’t abandoned the service aren’t expecting much in the interim between here and demise. Turns out that obituary is premature, and the reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. There’s plenty of ambitious projects still coming down the pike. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Astralis.

The simplified version of events would be to label it action / adventure. Yet one look at the above trailer tells you Astralis doesn’t do anything simple. Open world shooters are rare enough on the service, let alone one with a dynamic weather system, a distinctive look, and a respectable 3D camera (action is over-the-shoulder) that doesn’t get in your way when the proverbial shit hits the fan.

You play as the Commissar, after your ship makes an unscheduled detour on a backwater planet called Tellaryn IV. And there’s little doubt the patch of ground you’ve crash-landed on is a hostile environment. The wind kicks up debris, storms swirl in and out. The real threat is more physical, of course, and the Commissar will make use of a diverse set of weaponry. This includes your typical shotgun and assault rifle variants, a sniper rifle for ranged encounters, but also ups the explosives and tech, adding grenades and a plasma rifle. Combat is the primary focus, with numerous alien monstrosities on which to test those weapons.

Astralis - Screen

Ugly bastards, ain’t they.

Playing in an open format means doling out missions, and various NPCs around the world will fill in story gaps and volunteer you to complete their dirty work. The Commissar looks to have choices in those conversations. You probably shouldn’t expect ‘Mass Effect levels’ of depth and character growth, but it’s still nice to have the option instead of blindly clicking through text to skip ahead. These slower moments, paired with exploration, should compliment the shooting nicely.

Astralis is still a few months off, yet it’s impossible not to be excited by its potential. It’s certainly going bigger and bolder than your standard XBLIG fare, and I have every confidence the guys at Foxhaut Games will pull off something great with the material at hand.

You can track their progress and get the latest media by liking their Facebook page.


Astralis - Screen2

Astralis - Screen3

Astralis - Screen4

19 thoughts on “Ladies and Gentlemen, This is ‘Astralis’”

    1. I just am waitin on Tim’s review.
      I really wanna hit buy but part of me needs to see a rev first.

    2. Probably Sunday at the earliest for a review. Played through once, now trying on the higher difficulty. The short and sweet: you can go ahead and buy it. Probably the best third-person shooter on the service. 🙂

    3. @Saansit – It is always wise to read reviews before buying 🙂 The trial experience does allow you to strike out in any direction you want, and we worked hard to ensure it is representative of Astralis.

      @Tim -Delighted to hear we hit the target 🙂 We balanced it to that the difficulty levels would encourage multiple play through experiences. Once you’ve beaten it on a particular difficulty level, the one above it feels like a continuation of the difficulty curve, except this time your familiar with the mechanics, and have found the locations of many of the searchables, deserters, and the nests themselves. Really looking forward to your review!

  1. First we got a game by Id Interactive (BLOOD&BACON), then I saw that Vanillaware game (Dawn Of Ronin) and now Ubisoft is making its way to the indies!! So this is Astralis, I saw you guys talking at the B&B review, I google it, and I find myself again in Tim’s site, things are closer than you think. I saw the video, and Im impressed, this must be from 240 to 400 is my experience have teach me something. With that name I thought i was a shoot’em up. Usually, when a XBLIG look like this, its because it got only one stage, (like Aliens vs Romans and Skyrim) its a surprised to see so many differents enviroments. Looks fast, fluid, looking foward to this. I see no boobs, well, is Commissar farts there might be chance its sells well.

    1. Haha. Pretty much anything ‘XBLIG’ in the last year will probably redirect back to this site at some point. That and Google absolutely loves listing my site high up on the search results. 🙂

      The developers of Astralis are excellent people. They’ve been absolutely adamant in making Astralis the best it can possibly be, and looking at the huge changes / improvements I’ve seen in the game since I first saw it, I’m a firm believer of their commitment to it. Definitely will be running another preview for the game soon, just to keep everybody aware of it. There are still a few ‘known’ blockbuster games coming to XBLIG, but Astralis is easily my ‘most anticipated’ right now, even above the gorgeous Dawn of the Ronin. It’s games like this that keep me doing what I’m doing here; spreading the word about really awesome games.

  2. I know this is going to sound a little silly, but my favorite improvement over the DBP video from last year is how you animate your main character. Last year he was really stiff, now he looks great!

    I’ll keep an eye out for your Peer Review!

    1. There’s been remarkable growth, indeed. A lot of the games from last year’s Dream.Build.Play crop were good. I had Astralis pegged as one to watch even then, and it continues to evolve and impress. I wasn’t entirely convinced on the old camera style, but the over-the-shoulder camera in this new build is definitely a keeper.

      XBLIG has some nice surprises left in it yet. 🙂

    2. Sometimes, one has to embrace change. Top down games are great, but for shooting, over the shoulder yields a lot. We tried both, and over the shoulder was more fun – and you’ve gotta go with that if you’re being objective. Its interesting how much consensus there is with these sort of choices, a lot of people echoed your thoughts about the old camera, and tapping in to this helped Astralis evolve.

    3. Absolutely. It’s those little changes that end up being big. The top-down, overhead camera works as well, giving you a good view of the action, yet by bringing it in, the combat suddenly becomes more frenetic, and you’re more ‘drawn in’ to the world in general.

    4. Thanks David 🙂 Watching the July video brings back some fond memories, it’s been about letting Astralis grow into what it wants to be. It’s great to know that the changes are resonating.

  3. Netch hunting sounds fun 🙂 The creatures you see attacking are variant species of Macropai, ‘Urchins’ in the case of the smaller ‘toothy’ swarms, and ‘Echinod’ in the case of their larger red cousins.

    Both are blind, sensing the world and communicating through ultrasound. Invariably hostile, the Macropai actively hunt for humans, and when wounded should always be put down quickly due to their accelerated regenerative physiology.

    Larger groups of Urchin appear to include an ‘Alpha’ specimen, as visually distinct form its fellows as a locust is from a grasshopper.

    1. Leave it to the Elder Scrolls nerd… 🙂 The jellyfish-like creature is a popular design in games. Slap some tentacles on it and you’re good to go. I do see the similarity, although you’ll have to explain this one to me— Netches dig wordsmiths?

      My first reaction to their appearance had me thinking more along the lines of a mutated Q*Bert, at least in the face.

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