‘Surviving Mars’ Brings City Building And Survival To The Red Planet

Surviving Mars Paradox Interactive

Paradox Interactive announced a new game at PDXCon 2017 in Stockholm this week: Surviving Mars, which as the name suggests is a strategy game about establishing a colony in the dangerous environment of the Red Planet. Developed by Haemimont Games, best known for some games in the Tropico series, Surviving Mars will launch in 2018 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac and Linux.

Surviving Mars: A Survival Strategy Game On The Red Planet

Surviving Mars Photo: Paradox Interactive

Surviving Mars is essentially a new take on the classic city-building genre, most recently exemplified in the smash hit Cities: Skylines. Except instead of taking place in an earthborne city, Surviving Mars is set in a nascent Mars colony. You’re tasked with helping the colony survive and eventually thrive, despite the incredibly harsh environment outside and limited resources inside. Here’s the main features list, via Paradox:

  • Building a sustainable colony in space: Building on a planet not fit for human life challenges you to build a smart, functional colony. Bad planning isn’t about traffic jams, it’s about survival of your colonists. You really don’t want rolling blackouts in a city constructed in a place without oxygen.
  • Individually simulated colonists: Each colonist is a unique individual with problems and strengths that influence the needs and behavior of the other colonists. Things can get really interesting if your chief scientists develops alcoholism after one too many long nights in the lab.
  • Futuristic Space Dome construction: Retro-futuristic super structures housing colonists, factories and commercial buildings with their own “neighborhood personality.” Create colonies that value science over everything else, while tired workers drink their pay away at a local bar, or attempt a utopia among the stars.
  • Exploration of Mars’ secrets:  Inspired by the classic sci-fi of Asimov and Clarke, Surviving Mars holds many secrets. During each playthrough players may encounter one of Mars’ individually crafted mysteries. Uncovering these secrets might bring your colony great fortune, or terrible ruin. What is that sphere that manifested itself outside colony HUB B, and is it friendly?
  • Randomized research tree: Combine static and random research through experimentation, which allows for a different experience for each journey through the game. Attain new scientific breakthroughs by exploring the uncharted terrain of Mars's surface.
  • Unique retro-futuristic aesthetic: A sleek, modern take on the bright futurism of the 1960s. A time of exploration and adventure.
  • Expansive mod support: Craft your own fantastic buildings, parks or even a mystery to share through Surviving Mars’s extensive and convenient modding tools. Share your finest creations with the community to build the perfect society.

Surviving Mars feels like just the sort of strategy game that belongs in Paradox’s wheelhouse, alongside the grand strategy 4X games like Stellaris that the company develops internally. Space colonization has a venerable history in science fiction and games, but we haven’t seen many deep dives into the actual logistics and challenges of building a colony.

surviving mars
Surviving Mars Photo: Paradox Interactive

Surviving Mars won’t be about crazy space warfare or massive planet-scale terraforming, but simply about eking out a hardscrabble living in the early days of a colony—and then slowly building it to greater heights. The game is expected out in 2018.

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