Later this year, acclaimed film director Christopher Nolan will take audiences on a journey to the farthest reaches of space in his new film Interstellar — but before its release on November 7th, prospective space travelers will be able to explore the universe for themselves in a tie-in game released today.
While a free-to-play game designed for phones, tablets and browsers might not sound like the most appealing prospect at first, you might just be taken by surprise once you get into it. After creating your own home solar system, players will jet off in the 'Endurance' starship from the film to explore systems created by friends and other players.
From here on out, the game bears a resemblance to a 3D version of the excellent FTL with an emphasis on exploration and ship control rather than combat. You're similarly limited by fuel, and you'll be working towards upgrading your ship throughout — but you're also tasked with actively controlling your ship by using the gravitational pull of different celestial bodies to slingshot your craft through space.
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This mechanic is built upon a realistic physics model put together by Kip Thorne, a noted theoretical physicist and the scientific advisor on the film. It's an engaging gameplay experience, but it's also a fascinating glimpse into the world of the movie, which has had something of a mysterious promotional campaign since its announcement.
An early teaser didn't reveal all too much of the film's plot, but the following trailers slowly started to piece together a narrative — although there's perhaps still a lot that we don't know about the movie. However, with its cinema release fast approaching, an interactive app such as this is an original and apt way of building excitement for a film that should do very well at the box office.
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With Nolan's last three movies — The Dark Knight, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises — all bringing home more than $800 million worldwide, you'd certainly think that Interstellar would follow suit. And, combining Nolan's considerable talents with a star-studded cast featuring recent Oscar winner Michael McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Matt Damon, you'd have to think that it will do just that.
Interestingly enough, Nolan's previous original film, Inception, had a game in the works three years ago but we've not heard anything on that front since.
Interstellar is set for a cinema release on November 7. You can play the tie-in game in your browser at this link, or download the app for your phone or tablet; Android versions are available from the Google Play Store now, with an iOS release following next week.
Header from art by @WaterSlice.