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Space exploration sandbox Drifter sets a course for PS4, PS Vita

Ambitious space-trading sim set in an enormous procedurally generated galaxy

While growing up I was always fascinated by space exploration and I was especially fond of the many videogames set in space such as Frontier, Starflight and Privateer. In fact, it’s long been a dream of mine to take all of what I enjoyed about those sorts of games and try and create my own game in the genre. Drifter is that game, and now I’m happy to say that another dream of mine is being fulfilled: Drifter is coming to PS4 and PS Vita.

A massive galaxy to explore

Drifter is an open-world sandbox space trading game with a procedurally-generated galaxy 100,000 light years across made up of tens of thousands of star systems to explore and features an original soundtrack by composer Danny Baranowsky. In the game you take on the role of a spaceship captain attempting to eke out a living among the stars by trading goods between star systems, hunting pirates for bounties, mining asteroids for valuable ore, or even becoming a pirate yourself.

In addition to this huge sandbox to play in Drifter will also feature a hand crafted series of story missions which will the player can embark upon to both advance their character as well as learn more about the backstory of the Drifter universe.

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Player agency is key

In a game as expansive as Drifter, especially because almost everything is procedurally-generated, it is our job to try and make the game world feel alive and give the player as much choice as possible when it comes to how they might want to play the game. To that end, we are designing the game to support a multitude of play-styles which cater to as many people who like games like Drifter as possible.

For those who want to take a more peaceful and serene approach to making their way through the galaxy we offer things like classic space trading, crafting, salvaging, exploration and mining. As for those who prefer to use their ship’s weapons to make a living we offer such things as bounty hunting, combat and escort missions, and even piracy if you feel like running afoul of the law. In addition to this you’ll also be able to develop your pilot’s skills to get the most out of whatever profession you choose to pursue.

A dream fulfilled

On a more personal note, to explain what I meant earlier when I said that Drifter coming to PlayStation was fulfilling another dream of mine was that when I was younger and originally thinking about making my own games I remember reading in a magazine about a special PlayStation development kit for hobbyist game developers. That kit was called the Net Yaroze and at the time it made me realize that making games for consoles was within my reach and I wanted one desperately. So much so I’m sure I probably wore out the pages of that magazine the number of times I read that article. Sadly I was never able to get one so that dream remained just a dream, or so I thought at the time.

Today, thanks to the amazing developer relations people at Sony and their support of independent developers such as myself, despite being nearly 20 years later, I’m proud and honoured to finally say that I’m making games for PlayStation.

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Drifting there

Despite being a huge undertaking these past few years and still under development, Drifter is closing in on completion and early feedback seems to indicate that people are already really enjoying the game and I can safely assume that the finished whole will be even better. That said, I hope that once it finally arrives on PS4 and PS Vita that it is welcomed by the community as a worthy addition to the PlayStation family.

I’m excited to share this news with you and I hope at least some of you are equally excited to learn about Drifter. Please feel free to ask any questions about the game you might have below!

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DJOates 1 May, 2014 @ 12:01 am   1

After the disappointment of Starlight Inception, something that looks pretty awesome.

I have very fond memories of playing the original Elite, and then Privateer 2: The Darkening. I don’t know how I’ve missed the development of this, but I can’t wait for this on Vita.

Will there be other ships to buy and upgrade, different sizes of vessels and capital ships, or just a fighter class? How’s the combat – can you really get in on an enemy’s tail or is there real world physics involved, like in Elite 2, where you really only engaged targets at extreme range and couldn’t dogfight?

I’m really looking forward to seeing more of this one.

 
RD_Rabin 1 May, 2014 @ 12:49 am   2

Looks hopeful. I played the original – = E L I T E = – back in the 1980s and tried a lot of space games after that, which always left me yearning for that first one. Even EvE Online failed to satisfy, although I enjoyed the combat, commerce and mining.

Hope you make something I’ll want to play 🙂

 
euanpolo 1 May, 2014 @ 1:04 am   3

Looks very promising. I definitely liked the music and visuals from the trailer and I’m certainly interested in the breadth of gameplay it appers to offer. What are the consequences/penalties for being killed in the game?

 
fragle88 1 May, 2014 @ 1:38 am   4

sold

 
SpAM_CAN 1 May, 2014 @ 2:55 am   5

Wait, is the gameplay 2D? I didn’t see any flying up or down…

Mr_BurnZ 1 May, 2014 @ 6:29 am   6

Cross buy?

 
MesozoicPrinny 1 May, 2014 @ 10:02 am   7

Cockpit view, pretty please?

 
JonnySID 1 May, 2014 @ 10:03 am   8

Will this game have a cockpit view?
Will there be co-op missions?

 
G-FUNKSTA 1 May, 2014 @ 10:06 am   9

Excited about this after reading the above. 🙂

 
JonnySID 1 May, 2014 @ 10:16 am   10

Can you move around in all three axis or just x and z axis???

 
tat_sun 1 May, 2014 @ 10:22 am   11

Look promising. The HUD looks a little…….basic though.

RAVENSEED 1 May, 2014 @ 11:02 am   12

Simply incredible. In the fall of 2014 I will begin working on my bachelors degree in astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and this game has an incredible appeal to me. Iʻm curious. Are there any plans to use real astronimcal data and galaxies and star systems that we already know exist? Are there any plans for DLC that can be added to the game that will let the game utilize our existing galaxy? The potential for creating a virtual Milky Way and then exploring it in a game is soemthing that can attract a lot of people! Either way, Iʻm in. When does it come out?

     
    earlsignet 1 May, 2014 @ 11:20 am    

    The environments in the game are procedurally generated, which means they are generated using an algorithm as you travel through the universe. It is technically possible that they could allow the use of pre-generated maps using an editor but generally the environments/universe is intended to be unique to your save file – much like in Terraria, Minecraft, Diablo 2 etc.

 
ShadowGandalf 1 May, 2014 @ 12:36 pm   13

Hello….? This has grabbed my interest. I enjoy games about flying through space. I hop on Star Trek Online every now and then, I enjoy playing Star Wars Rogue Squadron, and I loved the free roaming feature of R&C A Crack in Time. So yeah, if the trailer is anything to go by, you can expect a purchase from me.

 
ChazzH69 1 May, 2014 @ 6:33 pm   14

I like the look of this and can’t wait to find out more. Very happy that it’ll also be on Vita.

 
Calvinator018 1 May, 2014 @ 9:03 pm   15

Count me in! Sounds awesome, just bought a vita so perfect game to play whilst on the go.

 
ro-llow 1 May, 2014 @ 11:23 pm   16

the buzzword this generation seems to be “procedurally-generated”

 

Colin that looks stunning, very much looking to get stuck into this in the near future. So reminiscent of the classic ELITE for me. I spent hours on that game and I suspect I will do the same with Drifter. Are we likely to see a cockpit view and what scope is there for further ships, weapons upgrades (Military Lasers etc). Will there be cross save between Vita and PS4 with the procedurally generated nature? Oh and make sure the docking computer plays Blue Danube 😉 Loving the indie projects being put out on PSN at the moment, and really looking forward to continuing my wholehearted support of them. All the very best with this.

 
ZeroReload_X 5 May, 2014 @ 11:33 am   18

Eve Online, anyone? Well done, though. Consoles need a good space exploration like this one. I just hope that the developer will keep on developing this game into something bigger, with a high focus on community, trading (maybe trading in space stations) and a lot of cool PVE and PVP content – possibly with a strong story base and different factions.
Well done on developing this game, you have my full support in terms of feedback during and post-beta. This is the sort of stuff which could be ground breaking for console gaming.