Much like the film industry, the world of video games has a nasty habit of reviving franchises for little reason other than name recognition. We’ve seen it happen time and again, with decidedly uneven results — and now, a true classic of the arcade scene is about to be exhumed for modern audiences in the form of Asteroids: Outpost.
Released more than 35 years ago, the original Asteroids is a game that just about anyone who is familiar with video games as a whole will recognize. You pilot a triangular ship, fighting off enemy spacecraft as well as destroying the titular asteroids, which divide into smaller obstacles as you break them up with your lasers.
It’s a simple but satisfying format — and one that has been all but thrown out the door for Outpost. In the new version of the game, you’re a space miner who takes to an asteroid to gather resources and earn your fortune. You can still shoot down small asteroids, but you’ll be doing so to harvest them of their precious bounty.
Complicating matters is the game’s MMO format, which populates your asteroid with other players looking to find their own riches. You can elect to team up and share your profits — or kill off your competitors to ensure that you stay at the top of the food chain. Games like Rust and DayZ have demonstrated just how popular this style of gameplay is, but it’s a type of game that’s very difficult to get right.
Indeed, one game that fell foul of the genre’s pitfalls was Infestation: Survivor Stories, previously known as The War Z. A catalogue of PR mishaps and glaring technical errors helped that title become known as one of the worst of all time — and, worryingly, the parent company of the studio that produced Infestation are said to be contributing ‘technical and infrastructure support’ for Outpost.
Links to such a shoddy product aside, we’ll have to wait until Asteroids: Outpost is released to have a better idea of whether it’ll turn out to be a triumphant resurrection or a cynical cash-grab. All that being said, it’s perhaps worth tempering expectations for the time being, based on some of the attempted franchise reboots we’ve seen in the past.
Asteroids: Outpost is set to launch on Steam Early Access in the near future. No other platforms have been revealed as of the time of writing.