How would you like to take a trip into space? No, not the stylized science fiction that Star Trek Online promises, or the fantasy-with-spaceships of Star Wars: the Old Republic. We've heard the announcement about NASA's coming space MMO, Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond, but the game hasn't been making the rounds in the usual gaming circuit. An in-depth article about the game's development and planned release is interesting for any fans of the rigors and challenges of spaceflight, not mention a look at a game that's moving far outside the usual realm of our genre.
Much like America's Army, the goal of the game is to try and give players a taste of what it's like to actually work in the field being simulated. While the game is focusing on creating enjoyable gameplay first, players can expect to see landscapes and tasks grounded in solid scientific principles and based upon actual astronaut missions, complete with the real and tangible challenges of exploring inhospitable worlds. The article also discusses the MoonBase module, which is set to be launched as a free standalone component on Steam in January to serve as both a preview and a testbed for the game. Take a look at the full article for a closer examination of what the game could mean, and what it might be like to play a space game where you were less concerned about arming weapons and more concerned with understanding the world around you.
(Or, if you have to, start imagining an expansion set in the 1980s adding the Soviet space program as a new faction. Which is only slightly less realistic.)