Adr1ft – Preview

Title   Adr1ft
Developer  Three One Zero
Publisher  505 Games
Platform  Windows PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Genre  Space Simulation
Release Date  TBA
Official Site

Video games are not unfamiliar with the concept of a space setting; it is where some of our most treasured experiences come from. It is also something non-gamers can understand, given the popularity of programs such as Star Trek and Star Wars. More often than not though, games set in space focus on one of the following: lone pilot antics, dramatic fleet engagements, or sexy space operas. What they generally don’t do, however, is try and recreate the 2013 Hollywood blockbuster, Gravity.

Enter (float) stage left, Adr1ft, the first game from developers Three One Zero, a team comprised of eight (soon to be eleven) experienced industry individuals who are setting out to create an FPX or First Person Experience. Adr1ft sets the player as an astronaut who awakes in the wreckage of a severely damaged space station, with no memory of what has happened and an EVA suit leaking the only thing you really need in space – oxygen. Players will need to explore the wreckage, scavenge resources, defy the odds of survival, and find out what happened to work out a way of getting home. When you first hear the idea of an FPX game, it sounds like some sort of cheesy marketing ploy up there with ‘Levolution’ but when you actually get your hands on the game, you realise that the setting and story are the perfect way to convey an emotional experience of desperation and survival.

While getting the opportunity to view Adr1ft in person, a couple of game titles were dropped in as being very influential in the creation process. The team were looking at the excellent Journey, for its narrative and sparsity in terms of how the game is set out – space is pretty sparse in the grand scheme of things. The other title mentioned was the every-man classic Half-Life. This hugely popular title provided the team with inspiration for elements such as puzzle and problem solving as well as player agency. Finally (and perhaps obviously) the team took some inspiration from the aforementioned film Gravity. I was told that development on the game started prior to the film being released and there were obvious concerns but, instead of chucking in the towel, Three One Zero took note of the setting and scale in Gravity in order to make their game the best possible representation of a space disaster they could.

The focus for the developers in conveying the core of the First Person Experience is to have a non-violent narrative that focuses on the core elements of survival and the sense of openness – at the end of the day, you’re in space, so the feeling of being able to travel anywhere should be of paramount importance. The theory is that you will be able to travel as far as your oxygen will allow, so of course for that (and other more obvious scientific reasons) there won’t be an option for you to just float back to earth, but provided you’re breathing, you can go there. So if you just want to float off into the distance, you can.

Prior to getting my hands on the preview build, I was quite enticed by the prospect of the game; even more so when I found out that it was going to be played using an Oculus Rift. So I was a little disappointed at first to find out I’d be playing a very stripped back version. The preview build would represent the first ten to twelve weeks of development and have all gameplay mechanics absent, with the notion in mind that I could experience the more immersive elements of weightlessness and movement within the game. Personally I find panicking about 02 supplies and explosions quite immersive, but I’m not the one designing video games so what do I know?

With all gameplay mechanics stripped out the experience was quite, well, relaxing to be honest. Some fancy opera music was playing and for all my floating around I could have taken a nap there and then. Looking around with the Oculus Rift strapped to my head was also oddly comforting and I had a little chuckle when I looked down and saw the NASA symbol on my flight suit. In the finished version of the game, the flight suit will be all kinds of fucked up and broken, along with the rest of the space station. This will need fixing as well as working on long term survival and uncovering what happened; I’m personally hoping that the team will be brave enough to cast you as the cause of the explosion and responsible for the death of your team.

Floating around in the wreckage of a small section of the station felt very easy to control and very natural for what I imagine real space to be like. Things naturally ‘bumped’ out of my way and soon I was outside the first module. Here I spied at least four or five different wreckages, all separated by vast expanse of space. With no oxygen to worry about I started progressing towards one at a fairly slow pace, although I’m hoping for some slightly faster movement in the final version, possibly at the risk of losing oxygen or the ability to control yourself as precisely. About ten minutes later, I arrived only to find the speck on the ‘horizon’ I’d been aiming for was nothing more than a relatively small and empty shell that had likely once been something more vital. I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest though, as this only highlighted the overriding danger that I began to appreciate as my time with Adr1ft drew to a close.

In a game where your most vital skill is quickly making the right decision and where your biggest enemy is wasting time and oxygen, making a trip in the wrong direction could cost you big time. Adr1ft is providing all the signs of being an outstanding experience and I can’t wait to see some more of it when it releases in 2015 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Last five articles by Chris



  1. Richie Rich says:

    This looks dope. Great write up, man.p

  2. Chris Toffer says:

    Cheers Rich. It’s a sweet looking game!

Leave a Comment